A Northampton-based cyber security consultancy is warning local companies and their employees to take measures and be more vigilant to avoid becoming a victim of a cyber attack over Christmas and into the New Year. “We all tend to put our guards down during festive periods and combined with the Government directive to work from home where possible, the cyber criminals will be looking to exploit any vulnerabilities,” says Andrew Fruish, director and founder of Nene Cyber Security.
2021 was a bumper year for hackers with GCHQ disclosing that ransomware attacks in the UK have doubled in the past year. Northamptonshire had its fair share of incidents including the attack on the University of Northampton, which disabled its IT and telephone systems, along with an attack on a school in Market Harborough.
Andrew Fruish says that companies should be particularly aware of the rise in ransomware attacks, where cybercriminals gain access, encrypt data and then demand a ransom to return it and re-instate computer systems. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre’s 2021 annual review reported that there were three times as many ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2021 than in the whole of 2019.
“There are basic measures that every business can and should do, particularly if their employees are working from home, such as enforcing secure password policies or adding multi-factor authentication, making sure all new software updates are applied and backing up critical data,” says Andrew Fruish. “Cyber security awareness training is also vital. We all need to be able to spot a malicious email that will try to get us to click on a link or open and document. And cyber criminals work overtime at this time of year to tempt us with special gift offers and festive messages.”
Andrew Fruish should know as his company specialises in penetration testing – or so-called ethical hacking – where they simulate real-world attacks on a company’s IT systems to identify weaknesses in their defences.
“To truly protect your IT environment and sensitive data, you need to think and act just like the cyber criminals trying to break into your networks,” says Andrew Fruish. “By finding potential vulnerabilities before the hackers do, we can help fix the problems and support IT teams and staff to prevent damaging attacks.”
“2022 holds many uncertainties, but one thing we can be sure about is that cyber criminals and hackers will be coming up with new ways to make sure they can enjoy a prosperous year ahead.”
For more information, please contact Nene Cyber Security at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07551 977347.