December 21, 2017

Everyday, thousands of employees across the UK are unknowingly adopting poor cyber practices; practices that could leave you, and the organisation you work for, vulnerable to a vicious and potentially crippling cyber-attack.

As Christmas season approaches, take a second to think about your own cyber activity and that of your colleagues. What unsafe cyber practices are you adopting that seem so ordinary?

Over the festive period, perhaps there’s more flexibility around your working hours, working practices and being able to work from home? These are all great (after all, who wouldn’t want to be closer to the turkey leftovers) but it’s important to be aware of the greater security risks associated with doing so.

According to a new report by T-Systems (Europe’s largest telecom company’s I.T. branch), in which 2,000 employees participated, an alarming amount of risky activity was identified as being frequently undertaken:

  • 24% employees stated they actively use free wifi hotspots to access work related emails and documents
  • 28% employees actively email work documents from and to their personal accounts
  • 15% share USB drives between family members, friends… and they work computers
  • 10% use free USB charging points (where malware and ransomware can easily infect devices)

“Training your employees regularly is probably the single most effective step to dramatically reduce risks of viruses, malware and other common forms of cyber-crime
Scott Cairns, Head of Cybersecurity, T-Systems

Whilst appearing harmless, it is exactly these sorts of menial tasks that can prove extremely dangerous and increase the chance of your organisation suffering a cyber breach. Fraudsters deliberately target organisations over the festive period, when they know employees are more relaxed and more focused on their company Christmas parties than their company’s cyber hygiene.

Perhaps most worrying of all, is that T-Systems found that 28% of employees stated that they had never had ANY cybercrime training to protect themselves or the business, in any organisation they had ever worked.

Scott Cairns, Head of Cybersecurity at T-Systems commented ‘our research shows many employees are not knowledgeable on the multitude of ways their devices can be infected with viruses and malware…and those who thought they were ‘very knowledgeable’ frequently gave the wrong answer when questioned!… Training your employees regularly on effective cyber-security practice is probably the single most effective step organisations can undertake to dramatically reduce their risks of viruses, malware and other common forms of cyber-crime’.

So, as we all embark upon the festive season please do remember to stop and think before you click. Stop and think before you share company information and stop and think before it is too late.

Employees: the biggest risk to your company’s security but also your strongest defence.

Engage, educate and empower, today.

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