It’s safe to say that cyber security has for the most part become a modern aspect of security in general.  A vast amount of our life is spent online so it has become essential to be secure.

Knowing the basics of cyber security doesn’t need to be a daunting process. It’s easy to associate this topic with complicated tech jargon. However, it’s important to acknowledge that hackers target anyone from start-ups, to large businesses, to personal accounts! So always remember – you don’t need to be a techie to be secure.

Cyber security and password protection

One of the first and most effective methods of maintaining cyber security is through a strategic approach to passwords. You’d be surprised at the number of internet users who use the word “password” as their password. Or who subconsciously put the answers to their passwords in an accessible area online.

When I attended my very first hackers workshop I was amazed at how easy it was to break in to online  accounts (no I’m not a hacker but I have been given useful insight).

These days a basic password with the numbers “123” at the end is simply not enough! You may be thinking – but I have a security question, surely that will protect my account? Again, not the most secure method (unless you lie about your security answer).

Hackers are smart so if they want to change your password to access your account it wouldn’t take much for them to search the name of your primary school, or first job, or ex boyfriend if the information has already been put out there online.

So when you are setting up your password or security questions please ensure they are both unique and inaccessible.

Two factor authentication (2fa)

Many online accounts now offer the option of 2 factor authentication (2fa). A tip, use this where possible as it enhances security! 2fa is the process where you use two different avenues to log in – usually via different devices. For example, when you log in to your account using your email and password you will be sent a code to your phone – this is then entered in to the site in order to finalise the log in process.

Another key password tip is to not use the same passwords across accounts. I get it – it is easier, less hassle, and less time consuming! But think about how easy, convenient, and quicker it also would be for a hacker.

Lastly, be sure to change your default passwords on a regular basis. This will keep them fresh and in the long run give you an ease of mind.

Ok, now that we’ve gone through the easy stuff. There are certain terms which are of significant relevance to every day web users.


Malware is malicious software that includes viruses, trojans, worms or any code or content that could have an adverse impact on organisations or individuals (as quote by the National Cyber Security Centre).


The next term is ransomware – this is where systems are made unusable by malicious software. In order to rectify users must make payment


This is a network of infected devices, connected to the Internet, used to commit coordinated cyber attacks without their owner’s knowledge.

Phishing emails

Phishing emails are simply emails which contain viruses. These emails usually ask users for sensitive information or direct users to illegitimate websites which contain viruses. Suspicious phishing emails are usually automatically marked as spam. However, this isn’t always the case so be aware.


Penetration testing is a short test run on networks to find security vulnerabilities.

So there you have it, an overview of some of the basics that come with cyber security. For more information on ransom viruses check out our article avoiding email viruses.

If you want to learn more feel free to sign up to online courses in cyber security here.

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