SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Is Your Company Prepared Against Cyber-Attacks?

Cyber-attacks are so common, in this day and age, that it’s never a question of whether or not your company will get hacked—it is a question of when. Hackers have been around for years, working their way through your security walls and passwords and gaining access to all kinds of delicate information, including names, social security numbers, finances, and more. 

Even those companies that have the best-of-the-best protection will likely experience at least one cyber-attack per year. Based on cyber-attack statistics, the year 2016 recorded an increased number of attacks when compared to 2015 and 2014, with some of the most active months of the year for attacks occurring in June, July, and August. 

It seems that hackers have gotten increasingly fluent in the language of sabotage, with their ambitions rising in the last year. Banks have experienced multi-million dollar heists, companies have been blackmailed with stolen information, and even the electoral process was disrupted with leaks of valuable information. 

Preparing for Cyber-Attacks 

If you’re worried about the protection of your company, and you want to learn more about what you can do to avoid or lessen the blow, the following information may be able to assist you. Consider all of this information carefully to increase your chances of avoiding hacker chaos in your company. 

Common Types Attacks 

The following are some of the most common attack methods used by hackers: 

Phishing Attacks 

Many hackers take the time to design emails and websites that look almost identical to the regular sites and pages we visit. While there will always be some small details that throw up a red flag, there are a lot of internet users who overlook these differences and can be caught in a hacker’s trap. 

These phishing attacks often come in the form of an e-mail from a business or company you often visit or purchase from, so it makes it more likely that you’ll trust the e-mail and open it. These attacks aim to gather personal information from you, either claiming that you’ve won something or there’s a problem with your account. While many anti-spam websites have worked hard to block these hackers, many people are still tricked into offering their information, which is quickly gathered and taken advantage of. 

To avoid this problem, it’s ideal to have account passwords that require more than one method of authentication, including a phone call or text to your personal phone. A simple login and password are much too easy to get through, so try to incorporate a second method for all of your accounts. This is true for all of your technology in the office—even securing your smart printers will be necessary to ensure there are no breaches. 

Malware

 

Malware is one of the most common forms of cyber-attacks, which tricks an end-user into running some kind of Trojan horse program from a website that they commonly visit and trust. Instead of the regular coding being sent to the user, malware is sent in its place wreaking havoc on your operating system.  

The hacked website will commonly send along a pop-up or message that lets the user know they can’t access their trusted website unless they download some sort of new file or program. They’ll likely be told to turn off any security features to let the file download and, once the download starts, it will begin to take its time running through your system and gathering personal information. 

To avoid this problem, it’s best to make sure that all employees in your company are well educated about this common problem and what they should look out for. Cyber security classes should be mandatory for all employees on a yearly basis, as hackers’ tactics are ever-evolving. All passwords should be changed regularly – monthly should suffice. Documents that are saved with confidential information should be password protected. 

Insufficient Patching 

Many companies know that their programs are being hacked or that their systems are unprotected, and yet many companies overlook the chance to “patch” these holes and, instead, allow them to remain exposed. 

According to a security and breaching report in 2016, 40% of businesses admitted to applying less than 80% of their patches successfully. While this kind of problem is easily one of the most common ways for hackers to exploit companies, there are still those businesses out there who aren’t patching completely like they should be. 

This problem can be fixed by ensuring that every program is patched perfectly or by, at least, making sure that the most exploited programs are fully patched. 

Website Security Tips 

Consider some of these tips to help improve your business’s online security: 

Stay Educated

Follow the news and keep yourself informed about possible hacker issues or problems to look out for. By staying in the know, you can keep yourself and your employees informed about what to watch for, what to avoid, and what to report. This is the simplest way to ensure that your company avoids cyber-attacks. 

Update Software

If your security programs are out of date, make sure that you are notified and that you update those programs as soon as possible. Putting this task on the back burner only exposes you to potential hacks, and cyber-attackers will likely find you much quicker than you think. Even if it costs extra for the upgrade, this is always a better investment than chancing exploitation.

Password Protect Files

Uploading files is one of the easiest ways for hackers to make their way into your websites. To avoid this, make sure that files are always password protected when they contain vulnerable information. This is extremely important when it comes to sending documents outside of the organization or are uploaded to an external server. 

Conclusion 

You’ve worked hard to build your company, so having someone you don’t even know hack and pull it apart with the click of a button is not something you want to experience. Consider all of the information provided to find out whether your company has the potential to be exposed, and what you can do to stop or avoid the destruction of a hacker. 

The best thing you can do for your business is to make security a top priority. Take care of updates, check for new potential issues, educate your employees, and invest in your protection. All of the extra work will be worth it, in the end, to protect your valuable information. 

 

 

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017