Cybersecurity is one of the challenges faced by businesses today. Almost every business owner has heard of cybersecurity, some have a cybersecurity tools in place. However, lacks urgency in addressing a cybersecurity awareness among their end-users. Cybersecurity awareness emphasize on understanding the motivations of bad actors and proactively utilizing security tools preventing a cyberattack.
There isn’t a lot of good news on cybercrime. More companies are wrestling with how to protect themselves, and the cost of a data breach continues to grow. It can feel like it is just a matter of time before your organization becomes a victim. There is another approach.
The phrase “the best defense is good offense” doesn’t just apply to football. With proper security planning, you can be proactive rather than reactive and significantly reduce the potential for damage. This blog offers some high-level tips to prepare your team and go on the attack against cybercrime. BlackPoint also provides a free cybersecurity assessment for a personalized report.
Ransomware—a type of malware— is on the rise. Cybercriminals have developed a model that often works. These hackers typically use email to lure in their victims, enticing them to click on something malicious. Once clicked, the malware is activated and starts working through your systems, encrypting your data. The attacker requires you to pay money (usually bitcoin) in exchange for a decryption key that enables you to regain access to your files. These attacks can be devastating to a business.
How hackers lure unsuspecting users varies. It can be an email advising you to upgrade your software and providing a link. It could be an email from a seemingly trusted source with a link to activate specific applications your organization uses. These attacks are very profitable for attackers, which means they are continuously changing their approach and often using social engineering to trick their way inside your network.
Why hackers want your data?
Understanding hackers’ motives is important for developing strong data protection strategies. If you don’t know exactly why attackers want to steal your data, it’s difficult to plan effective measures for stopping them. Here are
- Sell your data
One way hackers profit from stolen data is selling it on the dark web. These collections can include millions of records of stolen data—from payment information, classified information, social security number and more. Once it has been sold to buyers, they use this data for their own criminal purposes.
- Data ransom
Sometimes, hackers want to steal your data so that they can hold it for ransom. Hackers take control of your data, making it unusable by you, until you pay them a fee (ransom). It’s been an effective method for hackers who encrypt data and have the intention of only holding on to it for as long as it takes the victim to pay up. Ransomware attacks are one of the fastest-growing types of cyberattacks—percentage of attacks and number of attack continue to increase since 2017.
- Identity theft
Identity theft is a crime in which the stolen data or information is used to claim benefits at the victim’s expense. Criminals steal personal details such as full name, address, credit card number and more. These data is then used to commit the crime.
- Ruining company reputation
Another popular cybersecurity attack is denial of service, or DoS. It’s also been called distributed denial of service (DDoS), which prevents a website from working. This is challenging because there doesn’t seem to be a motive other than to simply prove they can disrupt the business.
Hundreds of new viruses are created every day by industrious hackers, but there are also a number of ways to protect your data and find where the weakest points of entry exist. So, how should you begin to approach the cybersecurity issue?
This might seem obvious, but weak passwords often go unchanged, even when the user is reminded many times how a weak password is notoriously the entry point for many malicious hackers. Use a password manager, and insist that anyone with access to your data does the same.
- Determine Value
Which bits of your data are the most crucial? Also, how long do you hold on to data? Decide what needs extra protection and what needs to be erased once it has become irrelevant.
- Remote Targets
Non-secure public hot spots are an easy window to your data. If you have employees that work remotely, they often connect through non-encrypted networks. Try using a virtual private network (VPN) instead. This will keep your remote employees hidden as they access company data.
- Continuing Education
Human error is more often than not the source of a cyberattack. Determine which staff members are the least educated and offer them opportunities to learn.
- Third Parties
Small businesses often find it difficult to approach cybersecurity with a solid strategy, which is why it’s smart to outsource security management. This also helps to reduce the threat of a cyberattack from within your own company.
How can you protect your organization?
Users must understand what they are up against. Most people know that they shouldn’t open a file or click a link from unknown contacts. Attackers also realize that this isn’t likely to work and morph their approach to appear valid. The best cybersecurity training today is personalized, uses real-world lures, and focuses on your vulnerabilities. It is also possible to implement a browser extension that will alert employees about malicious websites.
- Administrative rights
You should also utilize administrative rights on company computers. This can help keep unauthorized employees from mistakenly introducing something corrupt into your system.
- Update your security software often
Security companies are on the hunt for cybercriminals and developing new ways to block their attacks. Keeping your software updated ensures you have the latest protections implemented. Additionally, you need to have a robust firewall in place.
These proactive steps will help minimize your risk. Unfortunately, there is still a chance that a hacker could slip malware into your system. Backing up your data will help you recover quickly should a disaster strike. Data backup should occur on a daily basis. Finding a third party to assist you in backing up at least 90 days’ worth of data and saving several versions of it at an off-site facility is highly recommended.
Ways to improve cybersecurity awareness
Cyber threats are becoming prevalent, making impacts too grave for organizations to neglect. Having strong cybersecurity awareness policies can do wonders to dull cybersecurity risks—helping ensure all your end-users acknowledges basic cybersecurity practices. Here are a few cybersecurity awareness tips for your company can benefit from:
- Cybersecurity Training Program
One of the most obvious way to increase cybersecurity awareness in your organization is by organizing formal cybersecurity awareness training program. A cybersecurity awareness program is an education process that equips your employees with essential to advanced IT security best practices. It lays down the foundation for protecting their devices, and personal information can help their organization keep the bad actors away.
- Testing your employees’ cybersecurity awareness
Aside from feeding employees with educational resources, it’s important to test employees on their security awareness to ensure that the lessons learned are applied in the work setting. Testing them can be from simple assessments at the end of the training program or sending out a random dummy phishing email designed to see if employees will fall for them. Doing these will help toughen the lessons learned from the awareness programs and highlight the importance of taking the training programs seriously and see which areas in the awareness program needs more reinforcement.
At BlackPoint IT Services, we specialize making sure your employees are aware of cybersecurity risks. We help organizations keep protected against cyber attacks from your inbox to your end-users. Keep your cyber security strategy bold and proactive. If you’re ready to talk, contact us today.