Top tips on how to avoid a cyber attack

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Following the recent cyber attacks on financial services firms, Kitty Parry, founder of the SM Charter, provides some insight on how firms can help mitigate the risks of this happening.

  1. Employees should turn off WiFi on their mobile phones and tablets whilst travelling. This ensures the client data probes are not activated as they look for internet access points it is used to connecting to.
  2. Employees should manage what they disclose on social media as it can often provide the intelligence to make phishing emails from potential hackers look more authentic.
  3. On the same note as above, make sure you lock down your social media networks properly so data cannot be pulled from them from people who you are not linked to. There are products availiable that help lock down social media and flag potential problems. For example: Bitdefender's Safego for Facebook is an excellent privacy app and Norton's Safe Web scans web pages to highlight dubious links; the latter works by spotting these links within pages in social media sites such as other people's posts.
  4. Be wary of joining public networks as it makes you vulnerable to a hacker who has access to that network.

The risks of social media are significant, even if a firm chooses not to utilise social media. Whether staff use personal social media platforms to voice work led issues or conversations spiral without any control, the training of employees is vital. This ensures thorough social media compliance, in the same way firms do this to protect themselves from money laundering situations; it will enable firms to prove to the regulators that the firm is social media compliant.

We wholeheartedly support the FCA's mission to ensure firms can function in this space, and the Charter takes this one step further by setting the standard for excellence in compliant social media. With world class, legal training and listening developed by our barristers and social media experts, firms can ensure data capture for product innovation. In line with this we will be hosting the first ever Responsible Social Media Summit in the House of Lords in December 2014 for CEOs in the financial services industry.

About Social Media Charter (The SM Charter)

The SM Charter ( was built to enable compliant social media, companywide for financial service firms. A team of world class barristers, social media experts, communications and software specialists were brought together in 2013, by Kitty Parry, to build the Social Media Charter Implementation Process. This Process mitigates firms' risk of a fine when using social media. Its bedrock is the Charter which has led to a set of practical Guidelines, for how firms can harness the full potential of social media compliantly. This has all been built whilst the team was in close dialogue with the FCA following demand from the financial services industry for clear direction on social media use. By signing up to the Charter and following the Social Media Charter Implementation Process (SMCIP), firms benefit from legal training, world class industry benchmarking, protection from cyber-attacks and advanced financial services specific listening tools to enable compliant best practice when using social media. At the end of the training firms will be presented with the Social Media Charter Certificate, acting as proof to their customer, clients they are listening to their needs and to the industry regulators, therefore leading best practice.

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