Can you honestly say that you believe your systems are safe from cyber security threats? Probably not. It’s impossible to guarantee total security because technology changes at such a rapid pace. Breaches happen with even the newest, most secure software on the market, so you’ll never totally eliminate the possibility of a hack or cyber security attack.
But that doesn’t mean you have to make it easy for criminals to access your network. A few basic measures will protect your system against infiltration and malicious activity. This can save you the cost and humiliation of losing valuable data or compromising your customers’ information.
You have so much to lose when your systems are vulnerable to breaches. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, and more people working from home, the attack surface has grown. so what can you do to protect your business? These seven steps will help protect your business from major cyber security threats so you can continue to operate at peak efficiency.
1. Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are the most common line of defense against cyberattacks. Yet so many people fail to guard their systems with due care. If you’re simply assigning your pet’s name as a password for all of your accounts, you’re not taking your online security seriously. Strong passwords can keep your data safer.
When you assign a password to an account, don’t use personal information. It’s easy for criminals and viruses to find information like your hometown or your address, so they can guess passwords that use this data with relative ease. As for the work-from-home crowd, ensure that your home network router, printer, and other devices that connect to the internet have a unique administrator password, and not just the default that it came with. Your passwords should feature letters, numbers and symbols, and they should be unique for each account. Don’t repeat old passwords on different accounts, even if you change a few details.
2. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Even better than just your password being the only thing standing between your account and a horde of hackers, multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer or step to log into critical systems. Companies like Google currently use two-factor authentication for additional security, where they send you a text message containing a code that allows you to sign in to your accounts. this adds an additional obstacle between hackers and your sensitive information.
3. Update Your Software Regularly
Software updates contain patches that fix glaring security vulnerabilities. If you ignore these updates, you’ll make it easier for hackers to exploit these weaknesses. Updates may be inconvenient, but the protection they offer makes them well worth the minor annoyance.
If you have many different systems and devices, it can be overwhelming to know what to patch first. Setting the priorities for what systems and vulnerabilities need to be patched first takes time, but once you know this information, it makes your vulnerability and remediation activities so much easier and efficient.
4. Be Careful with Mobile Devices
Users aren’t always mindful of their mobile security. You may think that the app you just downloaded is harmless, but it can access everything from your contact list to your photos. A recent ZDNet article details a new type of Alien Malware that can steal your passwords from 226 Android apps. When an application asks for permission to access your information, think about the possible risks against the benefits. For example, it might make sense for you to link your contact list with a social media app like Facebook, but it wouldn’t be wise to give that information to a cheap mobile game.
5. Don’t Open Suspicious Emails or Attachments
Chain letters and money scams clog up spam folders every day. But the most malicious emails can look relatively credible. Phishing campaigns have become more sophisticated. Sometimes what looks like a friend could asking for help in a foreign country, turns out to be malware, or even a criminal asking for a wire transfer. Hackers can compromise other people’s accounts and use them to send malware and other security threats to you. If you or your staff have trouble determining what is normal, and what a suspicious email looks like, it may be time to invest in cyber awareness training. Better yet, with more people working from home, cyber awareness training should extend to all members of the household, and not just corporate workers.
6. Use Effective Anti-Virus Software (and Supplement It with Malware Software)
Anti-virus software is important, but it’s not enough. If you want effective protection, you need to use malware software as well. Malware-specific software offers an extra degree of protection that will keep you safe from threats.
7. Use a VPN to Encrypt Your Activity on Public Networks
If you’ve ever used the internet in a café or library, you’ve accessed an unsecured network. Other users can see your activity and even steal your passwords on these connections, so you should invest in a virtual private network (VPN) to stay safe. A VPN is also important for those who work-from-home. These tools give you added privacy and security on public networks, ensuring that your data remains encrypted.
If you need help with any of these 7 tips, contact Uzado today for your cyber security needs.