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Parliament is a high-profile target for cyber criminals, so we take cyber security extremely seriously.

We put in many technical systems to protect our staff, but ultimately we rely on good cyber security awareness and behaviours from everyone in Parliament to keep us safe.

We've been running a variety of campaigns throughout the year to help our staff embrace good behaviours, like how to create a strong password or deal with phishing emails.

For our November engagement campaign, the Parliamentary Digital Service created a series of fun animations based on Guy Fawkes to stimulate discussion and thought into how we view and manage cyber security – both at work and in our personal lives. While they may be light-hearted, being a victim from a successful cyber-attack isn't.

Guy Fawkes attacked Parliament over 400 years ago, but if he was around today, he probably wouldn't need to leave his bedroom.

So watch our videos and find out what actions we've been advising to help everyone be more cyber safe.

Phishing

Watch our phishing animation from our November 2017 campaign.

In the animation, a fake door is used to trick people into giving away the password and allowing unauthorised access into the building. While there were signs that the door was different (the sign was missing and the colour was lighter) this would be hard to spot at a glance.

This is the same approach used by cyber criminals who use fake emails and web pages to try and steal your information or infect your computer with malicious software.

It's important to stay vigilant and think before you click!

Ask yourself some simple questions:

  • is this genuine? Check the sender's address and the display name, if these don't match up then it's likely a phishing message
  • is it safe? Before clicking on links or opening documents which are shared with you by email, text or via social media, question if it's safe
  • does anything look unusual? Many phishing messages are crafted to look like they are from banks or online services. Avoid clicking links contained within these. Instead, visit the site directly and log into your account to see if any messages are waiting there

Passwords

Watch our password animation from our November 2017 campaign.

Struggling to remember all your passwords? You're not alone, many people make their passwords similar or write them down, both of which jeopardise your cyber security. You may not be storing your password in the helmet of your suit of armour, but this animation shows how easy it is to have your passwords stolen.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • use a password manager to securely store passwords for your personal accounts. There are free and paid for options and you can use them on your mobile device
  • avoid writing down passwords. If you find it unavoidable then make sure you disguise them and store them in a secure place such as a safe or locked box. Like the guard in the animation, don't stick them to a wall, computer or other easily accessible places – like inside your helmet!
  • Make sure your passwords are a minimum of ten characters (the more the better) with a mix of letters, numbers and symbols (avoiding single dictionary words). We recommend using three memorable but unconnected words
  • avoid using the same or similar passwords for different accounts, such as personal, banking and work. If a cyber-criminal finds one, the others will be at risk

If you think your password has been compromised, then change it immediately.

Awareness

Watch our awareness animation from our November 2017 campaign.

Even 17th century clerks can take their cyber security for granted. We may not work on parchment anymore but we use a multitude of electronic devices that connect to the internet and other gadgets. The more connected these devices are, the greater the risk that they can become compromised with malicious software or monitored by cyber criminals from anywhere in the world.

Here are some simple steps you can take to help protect yourself, your colleagues and family:

  • most modern devices have built-in security features. Learn what features are available, how they protect your device and how to enable them. This might sound technical but most devices make it easy to enable standard features, such as automatic locking, device password and encryption.
  • use public Wi-Fi with caution. There's no way of telling at face value, whether a public Wi-Fi network is secure so don't use them to access important services (such as your work email or online banking). Use 3G or 4G on your phone instead
  • be careful when charging your personal devices. Only connect and charge your devices to computers/USB ports you trust or use a data blocker.
  • install security software onto your personal devices. Antivirus for example. There are free and paid options available
  • browse carefully online. Devices often pick up malicious software from websites that have been infected. If a website doesn't look correct or there are warnings from your web browser, close the page down and don't click on any links

A successful cyber attack could completely devastate your work and home life, holding all the information on your computer to ransom or stealing it to sell on the dark web. Having good cyber security may not stop people trying to attack you, but it can minimise the risk of being attacked successfully.

Remember, cyber security is everyone's responsibility. Your colleagues and family are relying on you to be vigilant and stay cyber safe.

If you would like to use any of our animations or the images that accompanied this campaign please contact us at cyber@parliament.uk