Common Cybersecurity Mistakes You Need to Avoid ASAP.
So you’ve started your own business. Great! But have you considered how to protect your new venture from security threats? If not, you should. The number of threat actors and malicious codes in cyberspace is growing at an alarming rate.
Cyber-security is increasingly becoming a major challenge for organizations, small businesses, and individuals. Each day, cyber-criminals are developing new techniques that are aimed at circumventing security measures.
For example, hackers are using malware to steal banking information which they later use in money-related crimes such as Identity Theft.
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting your digital assets from hackers, malware, or any malicious activity that can damage your business.
A good cybersecurity plan is a must for any business today. It’s not just the top firms that are threatened by cyber hackers; according to research, about 43% of small businesses in the US have been attacked. And with one in four successful attacks leading to bankruptcy within six months, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid becoming a victim.
The big lesson here is that no matter how big or small a company you run, you need to audit the cyber-risk exposure before it’s too late. Sometimes, the most sophisticated risks are the easiest for hackers to exploit. Take time to look out for risky behaviors around your business and change them as quickly as possible.
You think it could never happen to you. You’re careful online. You protect your devices, never click on suspicious emails, and keep your mobile phone locked. Well, Two-thirds of consumers have had their personal data compromised during the past 12 months, according to a study by IDG Connect. That makes it more than likely that you and your employees will fall victim to some kind of cyberattack at least once.
1. Protecting your business;
Even if you don’t have employee or customer data to protect, it’s still critical that you take steps to ensure your financial and other company information is safe from hackers.
This is easier said than done, however. In fact, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), there were 1,579 data breaches in 2018 — an increase of 54 percent from the previous year. Of those breaches, 90 percent involved hacking.
Avoiding a cyber attack isn’t easy, but it can be accomplished by taking simple steps to protect your data.
Prevention is key — and that starts with having a comprehensive cybersecurity plan in place. According to Gartner’s 2018 CIO Survey, only 28 percent of respondents said they have a clear cybersecurity strategy in place. This means many small businesses — including yours — may not be adequately protecting their data against potential security threats.
A comprehensive cybersecurity plan should include everything from antivirus software and firewalls to multi-factor authentication and anti-spam filters. A strong cybersecurity plan is like an onion. It has many layers designed to protect your data and stop attackers in their tracks. In other words, it’s not a single thing.
It should also include policies for your employees — especially when it comes to password security, data storage, and online behavior. And, of course, you should train employees on your company’s unique cybersecurity policies.
But even the most comprehensive cybersecurity plan can’t fully protect your business if your employees aren’t following proper cybersecurity protocol.
2. Don’t click links in emails you are unsure about:
It’s very important not to open links or download attachments from unknown sources. Downloading malicious files or clicking on malicious links can lead to malware being installed on your computer, which might allow cybercriminals access to your passwords, business data, and other sensitive information.
3. Keep your software updated:
Updating your operating system and applications as soon as updates are available is one of the most important steps you can take to keep yourself secure online. That’s because many software updates include security patches that protect you from the latest threats.
4. Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible:
Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is an extra layer of security that requires not only a password but also another piece of information before granting access, such as a fingerprint or other biometric input.
This means you’ll need to remember two different passwords: one that you know and one that is protected with MFA. You should also have a separate account for internet access and email, which you shouldn’t use for sensitive business functions.
It’s tempting to think that the more security you have, the better. However, relying on passwords alone can leave your business vulnerable to hacking. For example, if you use a password manager to store all of your passwords, it’s possible for hackers to find a list of passwords that give them access to your account.
Password managers are great tools to help keep track of passwords and be sure they’re secure. But they’re not perfect, which is why people often recommend adding another layer of security called multi-factor authentication (MFA).
5. Don’t use weak passwords:
“Passwords should be eight characters or more, contain a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, and include numbers and special characters,” warns Kirill Bensonoff, CEO of ComputerSupport.com. “Use a different password for every account. Seriously, it’s not that hard to have a different password for each website you log in to.”
While you’re at it, don’t ignore two-factor authentication protocols, either. Many security breaches occur because of weak passwords. If a stranger can hack into your system in seconds using your simple password, you may find yourself on the defensive to protect your assets and information.
Another mistake that people make when choosing passwords is reusing old ones. If a company gets hacked, then all of the information from the hack may become public including the email addresses and passwords used by their customers.
This means that if you reuse an old password on another website or account, then it could leave those accounts vulnerable as well.
When creating a strong password, don’t use any personal information such as your name, birthday, or your dog’s name. Also, avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary since hackers often use programs that attempt to log into websites using dictionary words as passwords.
6. Don’t ignore software updates:
A software update may seem like an annoyance but it’s important to stay up-to-date on all your software applications when possible. The reason? Updates tend to fix bugs and vulnerabilities that hackers exploit.
Updating your operating system is a must (yes, even Macs need regular updates). There are other ways to keep yourself protected as well: “Install a firewall; use anti-virus software; make sure you have spam filters in place; and use encryption,” says Bensonoff. “It’s also crucial that you train yourself and employees on safe browsing habits.”
7. Letting your Business devices connect to public Wi-Fi networks unprotected:
People love free Wi-Fi, but it comes with its own risks. Anytime you connect to an unsecured network, you leave yourself vulnerable to hackers. Make sure that you always have a VPN enabled while on public Wi-Fi so that your data stays secure even when connected to an unsecured network.
You never know what a hacker might be capable of if they get their hands on your personal information or financial details.
If you take the right measures and still get hacked, extorted online, and need professional help, cyb4rgeek professionals can help you resolve the issue. Do not hesitate to reach out to them on their website.
In a world where almost everything we do is online, our cybersecurity has become more important than ever before. Even if you just use the internet for simple tasks