In the cybersecurity industry, we have to talk about when, not if, your company will have a security breach; even the most secure companies will eventually find their data in the wrong hands. But taking the proper precautions can make it much harder for hackers to actually disrupt your business. The first step is to know your enemy—the biggest cybersecurity risks already facing your company.
It’s easy to imagine a cybersecurity breach as a hooded hacker typing furiously in a dark room, brute forcing their way into an info-rich database. But more often than not, a breach looks quite different. Let’s take a look at the most common vulnerabilities that lead to a cybersecurity breach.
A lot of breaches begin with an employee unwittingly clicking on a malicious link and either compromising the network with malware or handing over their own security credentials. They are tricked into doing this through social engineering. A malicious actor will pretend to be a trusted individual or organization, typically through an email. The best way to stay ahead of social engineering is to make sure all of your employees go through regular security awareness training and know to verify a suspicious email before clicking on it.
Upgrade your company’s cybersecurity.
Keeping your computer, phone, and other devices up-to-date isn’t just good for their performance speeds. Regularly updating your operating system will help you stay on top of patches and fixes for known weaknesses a hacker could exploit. When an operating system like Windows 7 is no longer supported by the developer, that means that they are no longer issuing these critical updates and patches. You should always use the latest version of currently supported operating systems and software.
Many people use easily guessable passwords, and they often use those passwords for multiple applications. This presents a huge weak point in your cybersecurity and it should be company policy to have unique, strong passcodes for every company application. Two-factor verification or authentication, which uses a code either sent to your phone or produced by an app on your phone, should always be opted-into as well. This provides an extra layer of protection if a user’s passcode is compromised.
Some of the most compromising breaches have been the result of an unsecured database. This is the cybersecurity equivalent of leaving the front door wide open. Even worse, these kinds of attacks can lead to further breaches if the stolen data is used in phishing attacks on unexpecting employees and customers. If hackers use ransomware on the database, they can shut down a business’ operations until they pay the hackers to release and decrypt the stolen data. Properly securing and encrypting your business’ sensitive data may be tedious, but it is one of the most important things you can do to prevent a critical cybersecurity breach.
Again, no business is invulnerable to cyberattack. But once you know the vulnerabilities that hackers look for, you can take your business from an easy target to a well-fortified institution. Your most important defense in the battle against cybercriminals is staying well-informed about cybersecurity risks and best practices.
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