Geraldine Strawbridge

Geraldine Strawbridge is a graduate from the University of Glasgow. As the Editor of Cyber Radio, Geraldine is focused on delivering the latest cyber security news whilst making cyber security more relatable to people in their everyday lives.

Top Tips to Stay Cyber Secure at Work 

The growth of cyber-crime in recent years has been truly staggering. There’s not a day goes by without hearing a story in the press about a company being hacked, a major data breach taking place, mass phishing scams, and even cities are being held to ransom. The World Economic Forum has ranked cyber-crime as among the top three global risks faced in 2018 so it’s clear this is a problem that’s not going away anytime soon. 

What’s even more worrying is that over 90% of all successful cyber-attacks are a result of information unknowingly provided by employees. As networks become harder to breach, hackers are increasingly targeting what they perceive as the weakest link in a company’s defences – its employees! 

As hackers hone their techniques and become more targeted in their attacks, it’s important to educate staff and provide regular training on what they should be looking out for and how they can play their part in preventing a cyber-attack. 

Staff can become more cyber-secure at work by following the below top tips:

Never click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown sources 

Phishing remains the easiest way for hackers to steal your personal information and install malware on your computer. The most common type of phishing scam involves tricking people into clicking on a link or downloading an attachment from what appears to be a legitimate business or reputable source. 

Warning signs on an email include: a generic greeting, poor grammar, threatening language, a mismatched URL, spelling mistakes, claims of prizes or a request for personal information. Legitimate businesses will never send an email requesting you click on a link to enter or update personal information. 

Create strong passwords 

Creating a strong and unique password is one of the easiest ways to keep your personal and financial information safe from hackers. Security breaches are on the increase and if a hacker successful breaches a system it can reveal the passwords of everyone within the organisation. If you use the same passwords for multiple accounts, the hacker can then use this data to login to other accounts and steal sensitive data and money. 

A strong password should be between 8-15 characters long, a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and include numbers or symbols. A simple way to remember your password is to create a sentence or phrase that is unique to you. The first letter of each word will form the basis of your password and letters can be substituted with numbers and symbols to add a further line of defence. 

 Regularly update Anti-Virus software 

One of the most important ways to protect yourself against cyberattacks is through the installation of up to date anti-virus software. Anti-virus software is the first line of defence in detecting threats on your computer and blocking unauthorised users from gaining access. 

In addition to installing anti-virus software, it’s vital to ensure that your software is regularly updated to ensure hackers are unable to gain access to your computer through vulnerabilities in older and outdated systems. 

Ensure only authorised personnel enter the workplace 

Tailgating involves someone following an employee into a restricted area. It’s often innocently carried out by an employee holding a door open for someone, a visitor without a badge or someone in a uniform appearing to be a worker. It may seem like a harmless gesture, however these lapses in security have the potential to cause great damage to a business. 

If a fraudster gains access to your building, their intent is usually to steal hardware or information by gaining access to the company’s internal systems. It’s important that you don’t let anyone into your building who doesn’t have authorised access by remaining alert and reporting any suspicious behaviour to the relevant personnel. 

 Use public Wi-Fi safely 

We’ve all had to do some work outside of the office however the use of public Wi-Fi to access a work-related document is extremely risky. Public Wi-Fi requires no authentication to establish a network connection and provides hackers with direct access to unsecured devices on the same unencrypted open network. This security risk opens us up to hackers spreading malware and stealing valuable corporate information. 

One of the best ways to protect yourself when using a public Wi-Fi network is to use a VPN. A VPN encrypts your internet connection making it secure and protecting your privacy. Other safety measures include turning off sharing, sticking to secure sites and switching off Wi-Fi when not in use. 

 Keep a clean desk


Keeping a clean desk at work is vital in preventing information theft and security breaches. It reduces the chance of sensitive information being viewed or taken by someone who doesn’t have permission.  

There is an increased risk of theft or a security breach when confidential information is in full view, whether it’s on a screen, notepad or even on a post-it note. A report conducted by the Data Breach Investigations, found that 55% of theft in the workplace occurred within the victim’s work area. 

To ensure you remain safe, move papers off your desk, lock away any sensitive documents, shred any information you no longer need and always lock your computer when you leave your workspace.