To say that hacks and other instances of cyberattacks are on the rise is something of a dramatic understatement. According to one recent study, there are more than 230,000 new malware samples being launched over the Internet every single day on average. Likewise, cybercrime damages worldwide are expected to hit $6 trillion every year by as soon as 2021 — up from just $3 trillion in 2016.
When the stakes are this high, it's safe to say that it's time to stop assuming your business is too small to become a target. It isn't. No business is. Experiencing cyber attacks on your organisation is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.
Many business owners don't realise until it's far too late that they don't just have a legal obligation to report all instances of a security breach — they also have a legal obligation to protect both their data and the data of their users and customers at the same time. But as the old saying goes, "sometimes the best defense is a good offense." In terms of cybersecurity, learning as much as you can about the most common types of hacks that you are likely to face will put you in the best possible position to counter them.
1. The Dangers of Out-of-Date Protection Software
One of the most common types of hacks that many businesses fall victim to is also, sadly, one of the most avoidable. When you fail to keep your data protection software updated, not only do you miss out on all of the latest features, you also lose out on the latest virus and malware definitions, intrusion detection techniques, and more.
Make no mistake, installing a software update as soon as it becomes available must become a regular part of your company's cybersecurity process. This should include your network software, antivirus scanners, and firewall. Yes, managing and installing software updates can take a lot of time, but delaying them will mean a period of security vulnerability as well. The danger lies in being exposed to a cyberattack without realising it.
2. Secure Networks are More Important Than You Even Realise
The chasm between regular networks and secure networks is a deep one, indeed. If SMEs don't practice strict and effective security protocols and don't have some type of network security policy in place that governs the actions of their employees, unwitting members of your workforce may be providing easy access to your website and other servers without even realising it.
For the absolute best results, always make an effort to make sure that logins expire and must be changed after a predetermined period of time (the same goes for passwords), destroy written records of passwords, scan all devices for malware and more.
Note that you should also follow resources like The Hacker News and others to stay in the loop on all of the latest cybersecurity procedures and best practices.
3. Auto-Fill is NOT the Friend You Think It Is
Form auto-fill features do, legitimately, save a fair amount of time by preventing the need to fill out the same information over and over again. However, this should NOT extend to account usernames and passwords — this is how terrible, costly mistakes happen.
When you start using auto-fill to handle legitimate, confidential data, it could inadvertently expose crucial information to thieves who also have access to those devices. For the best results, remove or disable all auto-fill features from all company devices.
4. If You're Not Already Security Testing, It's Time to Start
Finally and most importantly, one of the most common ways businesses are hacked is because of a general lack of routine security testing. It is imperative for you to understand that cybersecurity is not an issue that you handle once and forget about. You constantly need to work to stay one step ahead of your adversaries and that means testing, re-testing, and testing your network again and again and again.
If you are not regularly testing your security systems, you’ll never know where your weak spots are and run the risk of unauthorised access. You (or a trusted technology partner) should be using white-hat hacking techniques to essentially execute high-level cyberattacks with your consent, showing you what is working and, more importantly, what needs improvement. You should then act on that information, making changes and improvements to your security measures in kind.
The Powernet Approach
At Powernet, we pride ourselves on being more than just another IT company — we're ready and waiting to be the technology partner you need when you need it the most. We understand that topics like cybersecurity are imperative to your long-term vision, which is why we will gladly stand by your side every step of the way to guarantee that your IT resources are properly aligned with your ultimate business goals and objectives.
If you'd like to find out more information about the most common ways that businesses are hacked (and how to prevent them), or if you have any other questions that you'd like to see answered, please don't delay — contact Powernet today.