Sadly, cybercrimes are ever increasing. Every year, a remarkable number of businesses are shut down due to the after effect of cyber-attack and data breaches.
These past two years, 2016 and 2017, seemed to be more devastating for businesses as a whole lot of cybercrimes occurred -- from outrageous ransomware to state-sponsored attacks and the deployment of new attack vectors.
As these cyber crooks are constantly improving in knowledge and professionalism, breaches will definitely be bigger, hackers will begin to operate more professionally, and security teams and budgets won’t seem to keep pace in 2018.
Besides, new business trends such as big data, mobile and hybrid computing, IoT revolution and the emergence of cybercrime products (i.e. sales of malware creation software) has doubled the professionalism of these attackers.
As a matter of fact, Juniper researchers predicts fewer attacks overall, but more successful and business-shutting-down’ ones in 2018.
Below, therefore, are 6 mistakes to avoid in order to not be among the businesses that will be hit by the lots of cyber-attacks that are expected to occur.
1. Thinking you’re safe
This is the deadliest thing so far!
The notion - “we’re just a small business, nobody will target us,” or “oh, I spent a lot on cybersecurity already, I shouldn’t be reading an article about cyber threats,” will, sure, ruin a lot of businesses this 2018.
So what makes your business different?
To attackers, any organization such as financial institutions, e-commerce firms, vehicle transport services or private individuals that gathers relevant data like private numbers, dates of birth, credit card details, online shopping particulars, etc., is a potential client.
2. Underrating the importance of multi-factor authentication, MFA
Have you ever received an email asking you to click the link to confirm your subscription to a newsletter -- which you didn’t subscribe to? Now imagine if your subscription to those newsletters was to be activated without a sort of confirmation.
That's the basis of MFA.
With multi-factor authentication, the system confirms your identity to be sure the person logging in to your account is authorized.
In cases where passphrase had been compromised, MFA serves a second layer of defense to your business account.
However, multi-factor authentication is often bundled with virtual security programs - to provide optimum system security and ensure the extra privacy of your business data.
3. Procrastinating on updates and upgrades
Most updates and upgrades (especially in open-sourced technology like WordPress,) are created to fix security patches and loopholes in your business system. Hence, procrastinating on getting your systems and devices up-to-date can be very deadly.
Research shows that by 2018, ransomware will be the most dangerous threat to businesses and organizations worldwide. Meanwhile, most of these ransomware attacks (for example the cryptoviral extortion) leverages outdated apps/plugins in your business system.
Attackers are quick to detect vulnerabilities (like outdated plugins). Therefore, one minute of procrastination can be the end of your hard-earned data.
Visit Innovation Enterprise's Chief Data Officer Summit in New York December 12-13, 2018.
4. Clicking fishy links and visiting unsolicited websites
If there is one very important rule you must remember, it should be. “When it comes to online activities, not all links are relevant.” says cybersecurity expert, CJ Wellsmore.
One of the most common breaches occurs when these cyber crooks take advantage of some irrelevant links to lure online users to a harmful domain. Also, entering unsolicited websites would possibly expose you to malware and virus invasion.
Before entering passwords, credit card details, or other sensitive information, it is recommended that you check for SSL/HTTPS on the domain.
5. Leaving your IP address open to all
An IP address is a unique internet ID for a user; it shows the user’s location and connects all various systems and networks together, ensuring that all information is transferred from one point to another.
Attackers, on the other hand, often make use of malware botnets, Skype resolver, or other proxy schemes, to gain access to a large pool of visible IP addresses and carry out their operation.
Hence, using a virtual private network (VPN) is one of the best ways to protect your IP address and similar private data from hackers as VPN transfers information through a secure channel. Also, once a VPN detects a malicious threat, it will immediately change the connection and move to another, more secured server.
Also, setting up a VPN is quite effortless as a lot of VPN providers have surfaced – ranging from well-rated free VPNs to paid VPNs -- thereby bringing about a healthy competition that will further bolster the services VPNs render.
Immediately after your system is activated, your real IP address will be protected and your system will be showing a different IP address through the VPN provider you’re using.
6. Using the same passwords for your multiple business accounts
Do you know that once an attacker compromises one of your business accounts, he will try gaining access into your other accounts with the same password?
If a hacker gains access to your business’ email account and learns that you activated your other accounts with the same password, there’s no stopping to what the hacker can do to you and your business.
That was exactly the case for Mark Zuckerberg in 2016; where he used the same password for his Pinterest and Twitter accounts.
Meanwhile, if you find it difficult to remember multiple passwords and hence you’re tempted to use just one password for your multiple business accounts, then it is recommended that you use password management programs -- they make it easy for you to create a unique password per site.
For example, 1Password is a very effective and user-friendly program that synchronizes your multiple passwords, encrypts your secret keys and secures your encrypted keys with a master password.
To round it up
Prevention is absolutely the best cybersecurity strategy!
This year, don’t join the ever-growing list of cyber-attack victims. Save yourself and business from doom by avoiding the above mistakes and taking preventive measures against the numerous cyber-attacks online.