This could have been a very long list but we’ve given you the five most common ways that criminals will try and get access to your systems and data:

  1. Social engineering. Simply put they phone up and ask you for your access details – and many people give them out.  They pretend to be from BT, Microsoft, Google, etc with a plausible excuse that your data may have been breached and they are trying to prevent this.  All they need is your login details for (eg) your router…
  2. Email infection. Sending you an email with a “payload” that contains a small software application that loads onto your computer.  This application can then do all sorts of nasty things like logging all your keystrokes (collecting usernames, passwords and credit card details), downloading all your data and/or encrypting it or just taking over your computer as part of their “Bot-Net” to attack other computers.
  3. Infected downloads. Adverts or infected websites can download and install applications onto your computer.  Many free software applications you can download from seemingly legitimate websites are actually fronts for hacking applications that load as soon as you download the software.  This is particularly common with anti virus products.
  4. Brute Force.  This is often targeted at your Internet router and can be as simple as guessing common passwords.  Many older routers shipped with default passwords of “password”!! So access can be easy.  Once they are on your router, they can see your network computers and other technical information to allow them to target the computers and redirect traffic from your router through their systems where they inspect it for passwords, logins, etc.
  5. File sharing sites. Networks such as Bitorrent are full of illegal software and pirated music and videos.  Downloading from these sites immediately opens you up to whatever the person who has pirated the material has chosen to include in it.  And that could be anything from a simple tracker to see who has downloaded their material to a full blown payload of nasty applications to compromise your computers.

Most commentators and industry experts agree that for any business it’s a case of when rather than if they will be attacked and compromised.  But the good news is that you can secure yourself simply and at low cost by putting your data in the hands of experts who do have teams dedicated to protecting it.

This is one of the reasons we recommend Office 365 for smaller businesses.  You retain all the functionality of Office but with the reassurance that all your data is safe & secure.  And you have access to your data wherever and whenever you wish from all your devices, laptop, smartphone or tablet.


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