Sadly, the main constant in the ever-changing cyber world is the security threat individuals and businesses face on a daily basis. As criminals grow more tech-savvy, even companies like Microsoft and eBay have fallen victim to hackers compromising their privacy. I recently weighed in on US health insurer Anthem’s cyber attack, where “Anthem admitted personal information of as many as 80 million Americans had been compromised.” It is critical for businesses to pro-actively tackle cyber-security head on.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Ensure that your employees are all on the same page when it comes to following basic online safety guidelines. Explain the risks involved with certain actions, such as, downloading music from unknown websites.
Have a policy set in place to track who has access to which computer system, data, servers, routers, etc. Also set up access regulations as seen fit.
Assign a separate log-in for each employee. Select less complex passwords to prevent it from being scribbled down somewhere. A simple combination of words with numbers will do. Another recommendation I give clients is to avoid using any personal information in your selected password. If you want to store your passwords, use a secure app like Last Pass.
Your files can be stored in various places, the cloud being one of them. While iCloud was given a bad rap after the public leak of various celebrity photos last year, in reality, those celebrities Apple ID passwords had been compromised in phishing attacks.
Still, it’s better to be on the safe side. To lessen the risk of a data breach, use the option to auto-encrypt sensitive files, or, encrypt them manually before saving it in storage. Free tools are available to do this. Try to limit employee access to only those encrypted files which they will need.
BACK UP. BACK UP. BACK UP.
In a recent phishing scheme, emails were sent to the public from a seemingly legitimate account, offering a “Windows 10 upgrade” (timely, since Microsoft did launch Windows 10 on July 29). For users who clicked on the link, however, a fake software was installed, after which, a ransom was demanded in exchange for the files on the individual computers.
For those who have reserved the legitimate upgrade, Microsoft 10 will automatically install to one’s system. In the meantime, do not make your files so vulnerable that it could be held hostage. Back up your data daily.
Choose a security technology package that will meet your company’s requirements and then ensure it is kept up to date. Anti-virus software, firewalls and more, are needed on all devices, including smartphones. Inexpensive options are available to choose from. Budget-permitted, have a cyber-security expert help to design your defence plan.
THE DREADED ‘H’ WORD
In the case where you have been hacked or infected by a virus, disconnect your device from the internet immediately. Have a specialist scan and clean your system. If you suspect a hacking crime has taken place, report it immediately.