Keeping up with cyber threats can be a daunting task even for the most vigilant among us. Apparently, there is always another major information breach just over the horizon, threatening to undo years of hard work with a keystroke from a hacker halfway across the world
These threats are no longer reserved for major information conglomerates like Equifax or substantial retailers like Target. According to the Digital Guardian, “small businesses are being increasingly targeted by cybercriminals,” and as more business transactions take place online than before, this risk continues to increase.
Perhaps the most shocking is a report from Computer World outlining some of the methods hackers will use to gain access to facilities’ computers, and thus, your data. Posing as a dad at an amusement park, the investigator deviously convinced the ticket seller to allow him to use one of the park computers to download a coupon containing malware, instantly collecting information on everyone who had entered the park. In the face of such insidious means of coercion and extortion, it appears impossible for the average person to protect themselves from cyber threats, but that is not the case.
There are several simple steps one can take to ensure their cyber safety in this new age of criminal activity. According to the Federal Communications Commission, for small businesses and personal protection, one of the most important elements of cybersecurity is simply keeping your security software up to date.
We’ve all done it, you see a prompt in the top right corner of screen for an update, and you click the “remind me later” button, thinking that you will surely do it tomorrow when you’re less busy, putting off essential upgrades to the defense of your system. Every update to security software provides new methods for detecting the latest advancements in malware and could be crucial to detecting a threat promptly and defeating it before it gains access to your data.
In addition to updating security software, Dobson Technologies recommends addressing passwords first. Passwords are the first step in protecting information, whether it be for you or your company. Password complexity and rotation is a critical component of proactive cyber security.
While security software and password strength are two archaic elements of computer safety, having been in existence since the creation of the internet, two new threats to cyber security come in the form of Wi-Fi security and cloud storage. Experts recommend Wi-Fi networks should remain hidden, only accessible by those who know the network existence. This keeps nefarious networkers from pulling up outside your home or business and immediately being able to find the network.
Keeping it hidden provides an extra layer of protection, making you less of a target. The most recent development in cybersecurity comes from the use of cloud storage systems like Dropbox and Google Drive. As more people elect to have their data stored remotely, the importance of choosing a reputable cloud storage provider is essential. In addition, dependence on cloud storage only heightens the importance of safe Wi-Fi practices and frequent password changes as these are the main methods hackers will use to intercept your information on its way to the cloud.
Some major cybersecurity threats are:
- Phishing: One of the most common ways a hacker can get access to your information! Avoid clicking unknown links and submitting your information in online forms or pages.
- CEO Spoofing: Similar to phishing, a hacker will try to trick users via an email, convincing them to click the link and submit sensitive information.
- Zeus malware: A form of virus used to steal your banking information. If you receive an email asking for important banking information, proceed with caution.
- Ransomware: A unique threat where hackers can encrypt all your information and then demand a fee to decrypt that important information. Make sure you have a backup of all your important information.
While this list is not exhaustive, cybersecurity can seem like a menacing, ever-present threat. It is an unfortunate reality of the world we live in. However, by taking a few simple steps, you can harden your personal and business systems to better protect your clients, coworkers, and family.