Cyber Security Must Knows for CTOs
Cyber crime continues to expand, with the 2 billion data records compromised in 2017 rising to more than 4.5 billion in 2018. With clients’ data at risk, it is imperative that your business is protected against the advancing tools of cyber criminals. The following basics of cyber security will help protect your business from the rising cyber threats.
Common Types of Cyber Attacks
Cyber attacks occur daily, and at a much more frequent rate than they did a few years ago. These attacks are designed to steal personal and private information which will then be either exploited, sold, or held for ransom. Common sensitive information that is targeted includes social security numbers, credit card information, or medical records.
Cyber attack tactics evolve naturally with the release of new technology, as a result cyber security has had to evolve as well. Listed below are the most common types of cyber attacks, however a comprehensive cyber security strategy is needed to truly keep your organization safe.
1. Attacks Inside the Organization
Unfortunately, cyber attacks commonly occur from within an organization. When an employee is granted admin privileges, that person is given access to confidential and sensitive data. This position of power allows them to easily exploit the company, employees, and clients should they become disgruntled.
To help prevent this situation, special care should be taken when an employee is let go, or decides to leave the company. Passwords and access need to be revoked prior to their exit so that they no longer have access to the confidential data, thus greatly lessening the chances of exploitation.
2. Malicious Software
Malicious software, also known as malware, is any software designed to damage computer files. Malware typically attacks by introducing viruses, which then gain unauthorized computer access. Often, users will not realize that they have been infected by malware, making it difficult to remedy.
Malware can be avoided by regularly updating software, and employing antivirus software which will help catch and eliminate threats. Though malware is certainly better avoided, the damage caused is repairable. Because malware doesn’t affect your physical computers or cause permanent damage its hard drives, to remedy the damage you will only need to completely wipe the affected hard drive and install a new operating system.
3. Attacks on Passwords
With new technology being released daily, including malicious technology, hackers have become experts at exploiting poorly designed passwords. Obtaining a password may happen through a number of different methods; some are even obtained by simply guessing the password based off of data obtained from tracking a user’s keystrokes. Having a secure password that contains at least one number and one character along with letters can help prevent hackers from breaking into accounts and stealing data.
Phishing attacks occur when the cyber criminals steal your sensitive information by using a fake website that mimics a real website. The mimicry is designed to get you to trust the website, thus entering information that can be used to obtain your confidential data.
Most phishing attacks are sent by email. When the recipient clicks on the email and enters their information, the hacker learns their credentials. With the stolen credentials, the cyber criminal can access your business’s systems, and thus your data.
Preventing a Cyber Attack
Installing security measures before there is an attack is the best way to keep your data safe. Antivirus or anti-malware software is the most basic, and necessary, defense for your business. Though purchasing more robust antivirus software would more effectively protect your business, at the very least you should install free antivirus software.
It is also important to implement firewalls on internal servers, or anywhere stored data exists. Internal firewalls provide protection by putting a stop to any unauthorized user trying to access your network.
Data backups offsite add further protection to your business by ensuring that no information is lost if your on-site information is breached.
Though these three basic measures can help prevent cyber attacks, a more comprehensive solution is necessary to truly be effective against cyber criminals. Additionally, in the event that a breach does occur, consulting an outside cyber security specialist, if you do not already have one, can be essential to recovering your data quickly.
Cyber Security Basics Best Practices
Below are a few guidelines for best cyber security practices:
Always keep your software up-to-date.
Hackers constantly keep up-to-date with the security vulnerabilities of old software. Your business can avoid an exploited vulnerability by upgrading your software immediately when updates become available.
Have cyber security policies in place.
Policies can help eliminate the human error that is common in cyber attacks. A good policy to implement, for example, would be to force users to update their passwords every three months. Instead of relying upon employees to avoid clicking on phishing emails, this policy could prevent the phishing emails from ever reaching the business’s email server.
Develop a response plan.
In the event that a cyber attack does occur, it is critical to have a response plan ready. This plan should outline the specific actions that each individual must take in order to recover the breached data quickly.
The Basics for Your Business
Though these are the basics for protecting your business against cyber attacks, a comprehensive cyber security solution is needed to truly protect your data. Cyber security can be managed either in-house, or outsourced to a consultant. Often, consultants are equipped with better tools to protect your business, and better able to prevent cyber attacks. Regardless of whether your decision, however, it is imperative that you feel confident in your team’s ability to protect your data, and so, your business.
If you are interested in continuing the discussion about defending your business against cyber attacks, contact us today.