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Fraudsters can target your business with a scam call or message. Their aim is to steal details and money. If they get details about your business, it could be used as part of a scam later on.
To keep your business safe from scams, you need to make sure all devices are secure and used properly. This includes mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and any other devices that connect to your work network.
This guide explains how to protect your devices.
If you need to buy a device, make sure the supplier has a good reputation for security. It’s safer to buy direct from a trusted source rather than a second hand marketplace.
Most modern devices are secure enough for any business to use. But before you buy, find out how long a device will be supported by the manufacturer. Every device needs security updates and bug fixes for as long as you intend to use it.
If you allow staff to use their own devices for work, make sure they all follow a secure use policy.
Once you have chosen a device, it will need to be set up and updated so your staff can use it. This has to be done securely to reduce the risk of fraud.
You can set up a device in one of three ways:
Make sure a device has everything your staff needs to be able to do their job.
When a device is ready, consider how it can be used and who can use it. For example, you may want to ban the use of external drives as they can be used to steal data.
Update the operating system (OS) on a device as soon as updates are available. The OS runs all the programs and apps. It also helps to keep it safe from viruses.
You should do the same with the internet browser, other software and apps too.
If a computer uses an older OS like Windows 7, XP, Vista or 2000, it won’t get security updates.
You may need to change a device if you can’t update the OS.
If a mobile device uses Android 7.0 or below, Google no longer sends security updates. So, you may need to change it.
Most devices will update automatically, but to avoid any problems you, your staff or an IT department should install the updates manually.
Learn more on how to update devices on the National Cyber Security Centre website.
After you use any online account, log off. Do the same with your device after you finish work for the day. This can help to stop others from getting into a device or an account.
Install an antivirus on a device. Make sure you keep it up-to-date.
Scan for viruses at least once a week and follow the advice it gives you. It should tell you if a site or file is unsafe to open.
Keep your firewall on all the time. This helps to stop people from getting into a computer. Only a computer expert should turn it off.
Only download files and programs that you know are genuine and have come from a trusted source. Make sure an email is genuine before you download an attachment.
Fraudsters can hide a computer virus inside an attachment to harm a device. Viruses are often used to try to steal personal, business or banking details.
Get mobile apps from an official store such as the App Store or Google Play. Before you get an app, check the reviews and other guidance from the store to make sure it’s safe.
If you need to work in a public place, avoid using public Wi-Fi on your device. It’s safer to use your mobile phone network.
Fraudsters can set up Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes and other public areas to try to steal data and details. Even where you trust the Wi-Fi connection, such as at home, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a privacy tool that hides your activity online.
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Wi-Fi at work
If you have Wi-Fi at work, follow these tips to help keep the network secure.
Change the network’s name - Your network router comes with a name that helps to identify it. This is known as A Service Set Identifier (SSID).
Change the SSID so it’s harder to guess. Never use personal or business details for a name. instead, choose random words and numbers.
Scramble messages - To protect messages sent over Wi-Fi, you can scramble them so they’re harder to read. Choose the encryption setting on your network router. Use either Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) or WPA3 if your device allows.
Choose a strong password - Change the password that comes with your network router to one that’s hard to guess. Use random words and numbers. Learn how to create a strong password here
Turn off auto-connect - This will stop your mobile device from automatically connecting to open, unknown Wi-Fi networks which could be dangerous. Go to the settings option on your device to make sure it’s not switched on.
Update the router - Make sure the network router is updated as soon as updates are available.