Cyber Security Attacks and How To Prevent Them
A survey conducted by Deloitte shows that the more wealth a nation has the more at risk it is of becoming a victim of cyber security attacks. Some of the countries that have been identified as being under threat of cyber-attacks on a large-scale include South Korea, Britain, Japan and the United States. In the recent past, over 4 million federal employees either still in service or already retired have had their personal information exposed. This includes security clearances as well as other employment background checks.
According to a report funded by McAfee and released by the Centre of Strategic and International Studies otherwise known as CSIS, it has been estimated that losses that are caused by cybercrime exceed $400 billion globally. According to this report cybercrime significantly damages innovation, competitiveness, trade and global economic growth. It has a serious impact on employment for developed countries. It does this by reducing employment opportunities it jobs that have the greatest impact on society.
Most small business owners make the false assumption that they are now under threat from cyber security attacks. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, there has been an increase of cyber-attacks that are targeted towards small businesses. The reason why this happens is that small business do not put in place effective safeguards that will protect them from these kinds of attacks.
Small business owners are advised to get in touch with persons responsible for setting up the business server to ensure that they are well protected.
Here are some ways you can use to protect your business from cyber threats.
1. Take advantage of cloud services
Even though you might feel that it’s safer to store sensitive company information on your servers this is not an entirely good idea for a number of reasons. Implementing a robust security infrastructure requires that you have deep pockets as it’s a resource-intensive endeavor.
The cost of securing sensitive data has always been expensive until recently when corporations such as Amazon began to offer cloud storage. Not only is this an affordable solution, you can also be assured that chances of cyber security attacks succeeding on a major corporation are lower compared to a bespoke solution (at least for a smaller company).
2. Password Protection
One way hackers compromise your system is by exploiting poor password policies. There are a number of ways a password can be revealed to a hacker.
In the past, it was not uncommon to hear that the most common password was “password123”. To be fair though back in the day a lot of sensitive information was not stored online, however, this has obviously changed.
We now use technology to access our bank accounts and execute huge transactions. Troves of sensitive information whether of a personal or corporate nature are transmitted on a daily basis. To safeguard online accounts better stronger passwords are needed.
A strong password incorporates several elements to reduce chances of getting easily revealed. Use alphanumeric characters in composing your password. A combination of numbers and letters goes a long way in protecting your account from a brute force attack. Brute force refers to a hacking technique that relies on trial and error to guess your password using software applications.
Remember to use both upper and lower case letters in creating your password as well as using symbols.
Phishing is a technique where the attacker will contact you via electronic means usually via email and ask for passwords/usernames.
They will disguise themselves as a trustworthy entity, for instance, a financial institution and ask you to give them sensitive information under the guise that something is wrong with your account/credentials and they need to be reset.
There are a couple of ways to prevent this from happening. First, you can use two-factor authentication, this means that if you need to access an online account the system will use additional authentication protocols and not just your password. This might include biometrics or maybe automatically send you a code via text that you can then input into the user interface.
Secondly, insist that your employees always keep alert and not give up any sensitive information based on a simple request. They should contact the institution asking for the sensitive information via phone to confirm that the request is legitimate.
Man In The Middle
This is a very complicated attack that involves the attacker secretly intercepting communication between two parties.
It usually happens when the communication method is not secure. An example would be you receive an email from your “bank” asking that you log in to your account. The email will include a link to what is indicated as the “bank’s” website.
Unbeknownst to you, you’re actually directed to a fake site. However, you don’t figure it out since it looks exactly the same as your bank’s website. You proceed to fill in your login details and just like that the “man in the middle” has your username and password.
To avoid falling victim to such nefarious tricks, always ensure that the website you’re dealing with is secured. This is to say that it has “https” at the beginning of the URL. The “s” indicates that the website you’re on is secure.
3. Enhance Employee Awareness
It is estimated that only 58% of mid-sized companies in the US offer cyber security training to their employees. Most cyber security attacks require some form of input from the victim no matter how good the hacker is. For this reason, it is important that you train your staff on why they should keep alert when dealing with all forms of electronic communication.
They should be aware that it’s not good judgment to click on links found emails from sources that they are not familiar with.
These tips plus more comprehensive training on cyber-crime can go a long way in safeguarding your business interests.
4. Take Pre-Emptive Measures
Don’t wait to act only after you’ve become a victim of cyber security attacks. Be proactive. Ensure that your computer has recent security updates. You can even go as far as hiring a cyber-security expert to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.