Summary: We’ve all heard about cyber attacks – they’re one of the most serious threats facing all businesses today, and are becoming increasingly high-profile. But what is a cyber attack? Simply put, it refers to hackers and other cyber criminals working round the clock to try and infiltrate networks and servers in order to steal classified data credit card details and personal information. Sometimes, it may seem that attacks are inevitable. However, by following several routine steps and implementing certain strategies, you’ll be able to easily and quickly secure your workplace.
Many businesses and workplaces deal with confidential data, sensitive information and have databases containing client payment details. Over the past few years, many high-profile business were subject to major security breaches resulting in enormous losses and widespread embarrassment. Over the course of the last nine months alone, many high-profile organizations were subject to major data breaches. Some notable cyber attacks in the last year include:
- Equifax: Equifax was the victim of a major breach in 2017. Hackers were able to steal the personal information of over 140 million customers. This information was then used to steal people’s identities and bank account details.
- Deloitte: Deloitte is a major accounting firm which was the subject of a cyber attack in late 2016. Thieves were able to hack into the company’s email system and obtain the personal details and login information of many clients.
- Yahoo: Yahoo was recently hacked and cyber criminals were successfully able to retrieve personal data from over 3 billion accounts. The attack was revealed during Yahoo’s integration with Verizon when forensic security experts detected illicit activity on the company’s network.
- HBO: The US Cable network has suffered several cyber attacks in the past few years. Hackers have successfully infiltrated the network and leaked many TV shows, most notably, Game of Thrones episodes and scripts.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security refers to the practice of having all of your computers, servers, networks and data fully encrypted and secure. A cyber secure workplace will have strong passwords, protected files, as well as a protected email server.
Unfortunately, cyber criminals are a growing menace, with hackers working around the clock to infiltrate private and corporate networks. Companies which have large client bases are the prime target for an attack, and top-notch cyber security is a means to prevent any data breaches. Companies which have been hacked have usually failed to implement proper cyber protection strategies and weren’t using adequate protection services – allowing hackers to easily do their misdeeds.
Empower Your Employees
Many cyber attacks are the result of employee errors. If your staff aren’t sufficiently trained and alerted to the dangers of cyber crime, they won’t feel obliged to ensure all their online activity is protected. To keep your workplace cyber secure, it’s vital to have regular staff training sessions which highlight the seriousness of the threat and teach your employees how to encrypt their data and creating secure passwords. By encouraging your employees to accept individual accountability for their own actions, they won’t be tempted to not follow company policy.
You can also try staging a fake phishing attack, in the same way that companies hold fire drills to test emergency preparedness. Try sending a fake email with a “malicious” link, and then watch to see if anyone falls for the scam. If they do, teach them how to avoid repeating the same mistake in the future, while emphasizing the potential consequences of not doing so.
Make Sure Protective Software is Updated
There are many tech companies which develop protective software which can help keep your workplace cyber secure. For a nominal monthly fee, protective services and antivirus software can be installed on all your company computers. Find and download recommended protective software which provides the best VPN services and password management software. VPN services can encrypt your Wi-Fi and make it impenetrable, and password managers safely secure passwords and prevent hackers from obtaining them. They also ensure that no employee uses an easy or simple password which can be easily hacked – a new reports suggests that 19% of business passwords are easily compromised – and that’s 19% too much.
Backup All Information
As the above examples demonstrate, companies are all too often targeted by cyber criminals who steal all their information and demanded a ransom – and in 2017, the associated costs of this has risen 15x from a few years ago. By backing up all your information on a USB or cloud, you can protect yourself from this potential threat. In addition, it may occasionally be necessary to reformat a computer hard drive or change networks.
Encrypt Your Wifi, Avoid Public Networks
Hackers can easily infiltrate an unprotected wifi network. If you are in charge of a workspace, do not use regular wifi. Instead, invest in an encrypted router and install any relevant software which will protect your wifi from being hacked. Make sure that your employees never use a public wifi network for work matters – because hackers really, really love wifi.
Avoid Potential Losses: Learn How to Create a Safe Password, and Other Tactics
If the CEOs and Presidents of Yahoo, Target, Equifax etc. could go back in time and pay the necessary costs to ensure their workplaces were secure, they certainly would. By not adequately protecting their systems, these companies suffered embarrassing losses, with wide-ranging implications, not to mention loss of business. Before setting up a workspace, make sure you’re educated about phishing scams, firewalls, internet gateways, malware protection and ensure all your systems are fully secured and encrypted.