Welcome to the first post in this new blog series called Turn it Off and On Again. Hello! My name is Matt and I am PGI’s Communications and Content Executive. You may have seen a few of my articles and content posted on PGI’s social media channels (please like and follow those channels by the way!) and I’ve written plenty about cyber since starting at PGI over a year ago. This blog series is about my experiences of the world of cyber and how, despite all the scare mongering we see on a near daily basis, cyber isn’t all that scary or confusing.
In the Beginning…
My background is that of journalism and copywriting, so when I first started working at PGI I hadn’t the first clue about cyber. I’d heard of the phrase of course and had read about it in the media, but like most people who aren’t from a computer or technology background, it just sounded like it was something for the computer geeks to worry about and was complicated, confusing and a little bit scary.
I also wrongly thought that the job of cyber security was solely that of an organisations’ IT team. In my previous job as a currency analyst and copywriter I hadn’t had to think about the issue of security much at all. Sure, I knew about passwords and the like, but then, anyone who works with computers on a daily basis (should) know a little bit about those. What I wasn’t aware of when joining PGI was the way in which hackers operate, the techniques they use and the surprisingly simple ways in which we can all play our part in dramatically cutting the threat.
You may be wondering why I chose to join a company like PGI. The answer to this is simple. I wanted to help people.
As a currency analyst I was helping people get the best rates on their currency exchanges, but to me this wasn’t enough. I wanted my writing to genuinely be of use. For my words to help and educate people. After all, one of PGI’s mottos is –‘We stop bad things happening to good people’
In my time here I like to think that the content I have created has helped people understand aspects of cyber security or at least encouraged them to get in touch with our experts.
It’s the simple things
With all the apocalyptical headlines we are bombarded with on a near daily basis you may think to yourself what’s the point? After all, if these hackers and criminals can steal from and disrupt huge organisations that have massive budgets and thousands of employees how can you make a difference and protect yourself and your business?
What I’ve learnt since working at PGI is that the answer to that is surprisingly simple.
Common sense is our biggest ally in keeping things secure. Whenever you’re online, think about what you would do in the ‘real’ world. Would you leave your house with the door unlocked or go nosing into a dangerous looking area? Hopefully, the answer is no. With cyber it’s the same concept.
Always lock your devices and password protect sensitive data. Don’t go clicking on dodgy looking websites and links. Don’t use the same password for multiple websites. As with most things in life, if it looks too good to be true then chances are it is.
My awareness of the risks and the simple ways to protect yourself have increased a lot since joining PGI. Shortly after starting work there I attended a cyber awareness course that was taught by one of our GCHQ accredited cyber experts. I learnt about how to avoid falling victim to phishing emails and what DDoS attacks were. I also learnt about good cyber hygiene and the importance of developing a cyber aware culture throughout an organisation.
When it comes down to it everyone is responsible for cyber security, not just the IT guys or tech experts. If I can do it then anyone can!
In my next blog I’ll tell you about my close encounter with a cybercriminal and how the things I’ve learnt since being at PGI stopped me from falling victim to their scam.
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