These days, hackers can be highly skilled, with some having the capacity to hijack anything from your social media account to your bank details. In recent years, criminals have been targeting intellectual property (IP). This type of theft includes stealing an individual or company’s idea, invention or creative expression.
Protecting intellectual property against hackers is essential as, if stolen, the onus will be on you to prove ownership if legal action is taken. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the ways in which you can protect intellectual property from hackers and keep your work safe.
How to Keep Intellectual Property Safe
There are a few ways in which you can protect your intellectual property. In this section, we’ll run through a few of these:
Trademark and Copyright
In the UK, you receive copyright protection automatically – you don’t have to apply or pay a fee. You also have the option to mark your work with the copyright symbol, your name, and the year of creation. However, whether you do or not doesn’t affect the level of protection you have. Copyright can prevent people from copying your work, distributing, or adapting it without permission.
You can also register your trademark to protect your brand. This can include the name of your product or service. If you decide to register your trademark, you’ll be able to take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without permission as well as, sell and license your brand. You’ll also be able to use the registered trademark symbol to show people it’s your brand and deter others from using it.
In the UK, a trademark lasts 10 years, after that period you must renew it for it to stay in force. The minimum cost of a trademark is £170 but pricing really depends on your circumstances. With a trademark, you can register the following:
Trademarking not only helps in protecting your brand identity but also establishes legal ownership over your IP.
Being Cautious When Using Public Wi-Fi
In this increasingly digitised society, we are usually only a short trip away from a public Wi-Fi network. From restaurants to libraries, most public places offer free Wi-Fi.
However, this freedom may come at a cost as public Wi-Fi networks can be associated with higher security risks. Therefore, learning how to protect yourself will ensure your IP remains safe. Below are some precautionary measures when using public Wi-Fi:
- When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, it’s important to turn off sharing. You can do this by turning off sharing from the system preferences or Control
- Having an up-to-date internet security solution installed and running on your machine at all times
- Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection is a good idea when using free Wi-Fi. This means, that if you were under threat from a cyberattack, your data would still be strongly encrypted
When it comes to protecting our devices and systems, all too many people submit a password and then call it good. In today’s world, however, hackers are able to make light work of this sort of flimsy protection and be off with your intellectual property before you know what’s hit you.
In 2022, it’s sensible to add an extra layer of protection to your property through 2-step authentication. This is the act of requiring two separate factors for access. This could include a password and a thumbprint or, a password and a code sent by text to your mobile number.
It’s also good practice to get into the habit of changing your password on a regular basis – and making sure that it’s as impenetrable as possible (so no birthdays, pet names or other words which can be easily guessed).
Whether you’re a business or an individual, if you own intellectual property which is worthy of being protected, you need to get into the habit of having security audits performed on any and all devices that you and your business use. This is essential for ensuring that your security protocols are as robust as they can be in order to effectively keep the hackers out.
If your intellectual property is on a system which is accessed by employees or other people, it’s important to educate individuals on the importance of security. And, in addition to this, training them on any protocols which you have set in place.
This is particularly important in 2022 when more employees than ever are working remotely. It’s always a good idea to put rules in place for remote workers to ensure security; for example, a ban on downloading movies or other insecure material onto their work laptops.
Keeping Your Intellectual Property Safe
As we’ve laid out in this article, being cautious of when and where you’re using systems and devices can help in keeping your IP safe. Getting into good habits like regularly changing your passwords can really help in protecting your digital assets. Similarly, making yourself aware of ways in which hackers can infiltrate systems can also help.
Protecting your intellectual property is every bit as important as protecting any physical assets that you may own – and at times, even more so.