As we continue to go online more and more, security intrusions are on the rise. Here are my 6 basic cyber security tips to keep you alert on line in 2017:

1. Be alert for social engineering

It is simpler to trick you into giving a password for a system account than to spend the effort to break into your system. Most social engineers exploit your willingness to help others. Permanent alertness usually is highly effective in preventing social engineering tricks. Learn to recognize the different social engineering tricks and you will be less likely to become a victim.

2. Be prepared for ransomware

Fishing mails, hyperlinks and attachments are getting better and more genuine. More fishing mails are slipping through the mail scanners to your inboxes, relying increasingly on your alertness to recognize and take appropriate action. Distrust attachments and only download if you have a good reason to do so. They require action from you to trigger a mess. If you’re not sure what something is, do not click on it! Take disaster recovery seriously and practice, practice, practice!

3. Keep your business and private mail separate.

Never forward confidential business mail to your personal mail account or personal mail accounts of others. Companies invest far more money in cyber security than private individuals ever can. Private e-mail servers are far more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than professional business servers. Be alert for people using personal email accounts to exchange sensitive business information.

4. Go beyond the baseline that compliance asks of you

Most companies that have suffered major breaches are compliant with information security standards and have security management processes and security audits in place. Cyber invaders move much quicker than regulators do. This means not going through the motion, but beyond the baseline that Compliance asks of you

5. Get familiar with encryption tools

Every time you send an email or browse the internet, your information passes through many systems on its way to and from its ultimate destination. At every stage, your information is vulnerable to interception by criminals or intelligence gatherers. Encrypting your information keeps it secure during the trip across. Anyone can send an email faking to be you. Use encryption to digitally sign your communications. It is a great way to provide evidence that the information truly comes from you.

6. Keep going and never quit on cyber security.

Risk never sleeps. Assailants will never give up targeting you. Stay alert when going on-line and be prepared for potential exploits. Continuously check, adapt and act. Only then can you effectively react to breaches when they happen.