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  • Writer's picturePhil Griffis

How Your Business Can Avoid Being a Cyber-Victim

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

Our firm is being called upon more and more to handle lawsuits arising from hacking, phishing and other forms of cyber-piracy. No business is immune, as Yahoo learned the hard way. But your company does not have to make it itself an easy target.

Last week I attended a talk given by a cyber-crimes expert from the FBI office in Houston, and hosted by our firm’s friends at the Bay Area Houston Advanced Technology Consortium. He provided a fantastic list of safe computing practices and gave us permission to share them. Take one or two of these actions a day, and in a couple of months you will have greatly reduced your chances of an event. And if your company is sued for some type of computer breach incident, you will be able to explain to a jury how you followed to the letter a list of recommendations given to you by a FBI cyber-crime agent. That is the kind of evidence jurors want to hear in deciding whether your company did all it could to avoid an attack. Here is the list. We hope it helps!


  • Keep your computer’s software up to date.

  • Install an anti-virus program. Keep it updated and run scans regularly.

  • Install a personal firewall. Keep it updated and monitored.

  • Uninstall unwanted and/or unused applications.

  • Use complicated passwords on EVERYTHING. Consider using a password manager to keep track.

  • Do not use the same password for all your sites.

  • Turn off the computer when not in use.

  • Restore your computer to its factory settings regularly (once or twice a year – Reformat the hard drive and reload)

  • Do not install or allow anyone to install peer-to-peer software applications like Torrent or Kazaa.

  • Consider using a different web browser besides Internet Explorer.

  • Consider encrypting your hard drive.

  • Save personal information to an external hard drive.

  • Clean temporary files, cookies, Internet history, temp files monthly.

  • Keep computers in public spaces in the home.


  • Never provide personal or financial information via e-mail.

  • Do not open or preview any unsolicited or suspicious e-mails.

  • Do not open or click on any unsolicited or suspicious attachments or links.

  • Use multiple e-mail addresses -- try to keep one address for personal communications and other addresses for spam, advertising, etc.

  • Do not use the “Reading Pane” feature on MS Outlook.

  • Proofread e-mails before sending-Avoid verbiage that can be inflammatory – Consider that the e-mail may be forwarded.

  • Keep your inbox cleaned out and delete old e-mails.

  • Use a secure connection when e-mailing.


  • Check your privacy settings frequently (Who do you need to share info with?).

  • Scrub your posts and personal information for data that could be used against you.

  • Only establish and maintain connections with people you personally know.

  • Review your connections often.

  • Do not be afraid to defriend or unfollow someone.

  • Do not post information about travel plans that could be used by criminals.

  • Use secure browser settings.

  • Change your password regularly.


  • Consider not using debit cards at gas stations and eateries.

  • Watch your statements for unapproved charges.

  • Do not carry extra credit cards.

  • Change out a credit card if you suspect any fraudulent use.

  • Do not write down your PIN – this is a password, treat it as such.


  • Treat it like the small computer it is. Protect it.

  • Consider installing anti-virus apps.

  • Use a password or passphrase protected lock screen.

  • Be wary when installing apps – What services does the application access?

  • Keep your phone/tablet patched and updated.

  • Keep the data backed up and protected.


Password protect your wireless network with a minimum of WPA2.

Do not label your Wifi network with a personally identifiable name.

Do not broadcast your SSID (Wireless Name).

Check your network for unwanted users (Software is publicly available).

Keep your hardware updated.

Change the network passwords regularly.

Turn off the network when not used (Vacation etc).


  • Understand it is inherently unsafe and any traffic you place on the network can be viewed.

  • Do not access financial networks from a public wi-fi connection.

  • Consider getting a personal hotspot if there is a consistent need for it.

  • Turn off your wireless connection when not in use.


Phil Griffis obtained his first jury verdict in 1990, when he convinced a jury that a customer’s fall at his client’s store did not cause the customer’s aspiration pneumonia and stroke. In the years since he has continued to win in courtrooms across the State of Texas.

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