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Cyber security attack

How can your business survive Cyber Security Attack?

Today’s digital society has brought many benefits to business, but it also carries greater risks. The Internet has become an integral part of both our personal and professional lives. Entire companies have been formed to provide technology-related services that were not available even 20 years ago; however, these same companies are now subject to cyber security attacks.

We take company data for granted because we assume that the network will always be there when we need it until something goes wrong. According to Verizon (for the 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report), 47% of detected breaches started with a spear-phishing email; this means that one in every two attempts at infiltrating your network begins with an email. It is critically important to train employees how to recognize phishing messages and other attack vectors. The company must embrace a culture of security, which starts by identifying the risks and putting the appropriate measures in place to manage them properly.

Why should I spend money on cyber security?

There are many reasons why this is important to you. First, if your business does not have cyber security measures in place, you can expect at least one successful cyber-attack per year. Secondly, if you have a security breach, it will cost you millions of dollars to clean up the damage done and recover from lost sales opportunities, customers, etc. Still, most importantly, it will be damaging to your reputation. According to Forrester Research (Ponemon Institute), 60% of consumers would avoid doing business with a company after a security breach. In addition, the cost of cybercrime is projected to reach $2.1 trillion globally by 2017, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, 5 times the estimated 2015 cost.

What do cybercriminals want?

In most cases, it is hard for outsiders to get access to your network and data. However, even though you may have all kinds of measures in place, they will try and look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities so they can break into your system with as little resistance as possible using tactics such as:

Phishing messages/spear-phishing (tricking employees into opening emails that contain malware)

Malware such as ransomware (where an employee opens an email and clicks on a link/ attachment – this allows the cybercriminals access to the network and data)

Social engineering  (facilitating human error that causes dangerous exposure of private and confidential information such as company files, accounting reports, personal information about employees).       

How can I protect my business?

Get educated

Every member of staff needs to understand what threats exist and how to handle them. You must train your staff, so they know exactly what to do in case of a cyber security attack; however, education does not end there. The training needs regular updates because new software applications are constantly being developed, which hackers can exploit. Cybercriminals are always coming up with new phishing techniques to fool users and gain access to private information.

Install an advanced spam filter for your email server

Employees should not receive any file formats other than DOC, XLS, and PPT, which can help prevent malware from entering the network. It is vital not to download files received via email that you were not expecting or do not know who sent them because they could lead you into downloading a virus onto the network.

Secure remote access

Ensure that remote access such as VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections are established through secure protocols such as SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security). This will prevent an outsider with the appropriate tools from intercepting information that goes back and forth between your office server and terminal. This is especially important if you use cloud-based applications such as Gmail, Office 365, Salesforce, Dropbox, or Google Drive because hackers often target them.

Regularly update security software (anti-virus) on all workstations

If you do not have an effective anti-virus system in place, it will be almost impossible to detect infected files which can be used to access confidential information. Make sure you keep all operating systems up to date; this includes mobile devices; change default passwords on routers/modems when using them for Wi-Fi networks; encrypt any private documents with a strong password that is not written down and make sure employees understand the importance of using strong passwords.

Establish a plan to recover from cyber-attacks

You must establish a plan which can be followed in case an employee opens a phishing message; use anti-malware software and set up automatic updates; monitor for any suspicious activity on your networks such as massive data transfers, people logging into machines that they don’t usually work on or unknown devices accessing the Wi-Fi network. 

Get insurance

Cyber-attacks can cause a lot of damage, and this is why it is vital to get cyber liability insurance as soon as possible. This will protect against hackers that steal money from the company’s bank accounts, encrypt files on your system that hold sensitive data, and damage computer equipment.     

Ensure you take steps to protect your business against cyber security attacks by educating the whole workforce and installing advanced spam filters for email servers say RemoteDBA.com. You must establish a plan that can be followed if an employee opens an email with malware or follows instructions from phishing emails. Make sure you also monitor for any suspicious activity on your networks; this will make it easier to detect if anyone has accessed private information.

With many thousands of daily successful online transactions taking place, data breaches are becoming more commonplace than ever before. The cost of each breach continues to increase as hackers become more devious, well-organized, and better equipped, often using stolen usernames and passwords belonging to legitimate users, which can be bought cheaply on underground hacking forums. Hackers are even using malware to infect devices used by employees who have access to financial records or the personal information of customers.

When this is done, hackers will inform the company’s IT department that they have breached security and demand a hefty ransom for their encrypted data. This can be highly damaging because if the hackers are not paid within a specific timeframe, they threaten to sell confidential information or release it publicly through websites or social media accounts that they control.

Although there has been an increase in these types of cyber-attacks, companies should make sure they do not share all responsibility with their Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP may provide network connectivity but cannot prevent someone from using their username and password to log into the company.

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