New Zealand Retailers Targeted by Cyber Attackers

posted in: News

Online Security

Online security is a constant battle. Recently, a government-backed agency has released information showing that a number of NZ businesses including a large NZ retail store had been targets of cyber criminals.  We have also seen the number of hacking attempts (some successful) increasing across the web.

Clearly, the bad guys are out to make money, so it’s important not to underestimate what they are capable of. Online security is a risk that’s ever-present and difficult for any businesses to fully protect itself against.  However, there are a few simple rules you can follow to help ensure your business is protected as much as possible.

Online Security

Three tips to help keep your online business more secure:

1. Use strong Passwords to thwart hackers;

  • Make sure to ALWAYS use strong passwords that are hard to guess, using a mixture of numbers, letters, symbols and upper-case and lower-case text.
  • Don’t use the same password for different sites or login areas.
  • Keep your password secure by encrypting it or using a password protected document, or a master password product such as lastpass.

2. Beware what you click on;

  • Watch out for fake emails – we all have trouble with spam, but there have been many examples of (even high profile) people being taken in by so called “phishing” emails – that is emails that purport to be from someone else (e.g. your bank), but they are really just elaborate copies.  If in doubt, don’t click on any link – instead, directly visit the website concerned by typing the address in your web browser. Remember, online security starts with you!
  • Surfing the web can be pretty dangerous, depending on what sites you visit.  Some sites have secret viruses or trojans that can infect your computer with malware and potentially expose your computer to hackers.  Suggest you to install adblocker software or at least a good anti-virus such as Avast, to bolster your online security.

3. Careful who you trust with your data;

  • Don’t trust strangers on the phone who tell you your computer / data / system is faulty! Once again this “old scam” is doing the rounds and there’s been several high profile victims of scammers calling businesses and claiming to be someone they are not.  One example has the caller phoning from e.g. Microsoft to helpfully tell you that “there’s a virus on your computer that needs fixing”.  Don’t get caught out by this scam.  Firstly, large companies such as Microsoft would never call individuals like this – or at least it would be incredibly unlikely!  Even if you think the call might be genuine – think twice before giving out any information.  Ask for the caller’s full name, company and phone number – then tell them you’ll call them back.  Call the main company Head Office number (Google it if you’re really paranoid!) and ask to be put through to the person.  If they are real and it’s genuine, this shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Carefully consider who you give access to in terms of your website admin area and any other important business system access or data.  Once a user has access, they may be able to gain access to other systems and could potentially damage your business.  Even contractors have been known to leave unsecured laptops or documents on trains! Consider giving non-administrators only low level, locked down access, or at least get them to sign an NDA / confidentiality agreement.
  • Make sure you have plenty of backups of your data – incase the worst happens.

Of course we’re all human and make mistakes, but if you follow the rules, you can minimise your exposure.  Purple Dog offers website security audits and consultancy to assist you in determining what improvements you can make to optimise your online security.

Contact us today to see how we can help.