This is not a particularly entertaining post. BUT it is a very important one.
At the time of writing this there has been war in Ukraine for around 3 weeks and during that time the number of cyber attacks on sites in Ukraine has gone up exponentially*.
If things escalate with Russia then it’s probable that as well as physical attacks there will be attempted cyber attacks, so much of our lives are dependant on online systems that it’s easy to cause chaos by bringing down some servers. Do you remember the panic the Facebook outage caused? Or TSB / Santander and Halifax users no longer having access to online banking? These were due to errors not hacking but the effects on the end user are the same.
So what can we do to keep ourselves safe? I’ve got some quick and easy suggestions for you that will reduce your panic levels should the worst happen (and honestly are things I’d recommend you do anyway!)
1. Use strong passwords and 2 Factor authentication for Important accounts.
This is across all your systems, email, websites, finance, cloud storage, banking (they make you do it but some offer extra levels of protection – take them!)
If you don’t use a password storing tool then now might be a good time to get one. They enable you to use devilishly difficult passwords which is much safer. Anything with your pet’s name should be avoided as it will be much easier to hack into. I love LastPass.
There’s also a great site which lets you see whether your email or phone number has been subject to a data breach. If it has make sure that the password you used on those sites is not being used on any others and if it is just change your password. The site is free to use https://haveibeenpwned.com/
Other useful info
Enable 2 factor authentication on our Instagram account – a reel I made!
Enable 2 factor authentication on Facebook – a video I made
Enable 2 factor authentication on free Google accounts – another video!
Enable 2 factor authentication on paid Google accounts – a video
Enable 2 factor authentication on Dropbox – another little video
2. Backup your important stuff!
If I told you that everything on your computer had gone, what would matter to you? Photos, financial stuff? Email?
I backup everything on a weekly schedule to an external hard drive. Call me old fashioned but I like to see it! This is the one I use but there are lots out there that will all do the job, as long as you plug them in!
How to backup Google including Gmail – video here
How to backup Outlook – go to File > Export and you can choose what files to export. Keep that file safe and you have a backup of your emails should you require it.
How to backup MacMail – from the mail menu go to Mailboxes > Export Mailbox and choose where to save.
Export a list of your subscribers – This will vary by email system but typically you go to the list you want to export, select all and then hit the export button. This will download a list of all the subscribers which you can save offline.
Backup and Update your Website – I’ve got a separate blog about this here.
3. Use a good antivirus tool
I use McAfee but there are lots out there. Make sure it auto updates so that if viruses or malware is evolving quickly you’ll always be up to date. I also suggest looking on Amazon and buying a code rather than directly from the manufacturer as it’s often much cheaper.
4. Think about what you would need if you wanted to work offline
Lots of tools that we use only work online but some have offline versions that would mean you can carry on even without internet (imagine!)
Gmail has an offline version (go to Gmail > Settings > All Settings > Offline and tick to choose how much history you want stored. Bingo
Canva has an offline version you can use to work without a connection.
Make sure that your important files are stored locally on your computer not just in the cloud.
5. Practical stuff
This is less about your business and more just about daily life but worth considering.
Have an old fashioned phone (the kind that plugs into the wall but doesn’t use electricity!) This will work in a power cut and also if there is no mobile signal.
Have some cash. If there are internet problems then using cards is going to become tricky! Having some cash under the mattress isn’t such a bad idea.
While this all sounds quite dramatic my aim here is not to alarm you but to equip you with some sound processes which mean you are able to take whatever comes in your stride.
You’ll know your core data is safe, you can buy some chocolate and hopefully will be less stressed as a result.
If you need any help with any of the recommendations then get in touch. I’ve been getting some lovely reviews of my power hours which is a great way to get my help in your business in a really focussed way.
* Wordfence Blog https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2022/03/ukraine-10000-requests-per-hour-blocked-by-wordfence/