As the world is increasingly becoming a digitized space, business and personal transactions are happening online. Unfortunately, this puts you at risk for cyber attacks such as ransomware attacks, cloud-based threats, deep fakes, and more. Implementing effective cybersecurity measures is particularly challenging today because there are more devices than people, and attackers are becoming more innovative.
During Cyber Security Month, we want to make sure you have the tools you need to protect yourself and your business from attacks.
What is cybersecurity?
Cyber security is protecting internet-connected systems, programs, and networks from digital attacks. These are unauthorized attacks that typically aim to steal sensitive information, extort money from users, or interrupt business processes. A good security strategy can help prevent these malicious attacks.
With more and more information, some being sensitive or confidential, being transmitted through the internet, the stakes of an attack are high. Cyber attackers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to make prevention harder.
What are some of the threats to my security?
- Advanced Persistent Threats are prolonged attacks that infiltrate a network and remain undetected in order to steal data over a long period of time.
- Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks involve multiple systems disrupting the traffic of a specific system such as a website or server. This flood of information can slow down or crash the targeted system.
- Insider Threats are security breaches caused by humans, such as employees or customers. They can be malicious or negligent in nature.
- Malware is software designed to gain unauthorized access to your computer and may cause damage to the system or files.
- Man-in-the-Middle attacks involve an attacker intercepting and relaying messages between two parties who think they are communicating with each other.
- Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails that seem reputable in order to steal sensitive data like credit card information or passwords.
- Ransomware is malicious software that blocks your access to files or the computer system until a ransom is paid. Paying the ransom does not guarantee the hacker will restore your access.
- Social Engineering tricks you into revealing sensitive information by clicking on links, downloading malware, or trusting a malicious source.
How can I prevent attacks?
While embracing technology is paramount to future success, people must protect themselves from these risks. Here are some best practices and basic tips for cyber security:
- Keep personal information private. Do not disclose information to people or businesses you don’t trust in order to prevent identity theft.
- Review who is on the other end of your communication before responding. This will help you avoid bad actors in email phishing or social engineering attacks.
- Create strong passwords and never use the same password for multiple accounts. Passwords should be long, include unusual phrases, and not contain any personal information.
- Update your software regularly as updates will have the most up-to-date security tools.
- Lock down your home network by updating your router and frequently changing administrator passwords and Wi-Fi network names
- Be cautious of free Wi-Fi and don’t leave a cyber footprint on public devices. When using a device that is not your own, make sure you do not save any password, log out of your accounts, and delete cookies, cache, and browsing history before leaving.
- Use two-step verification, which requires additional ways to verify your identity beyond your username and password. This extra layer will make it harder for hackers to access your information.
- Ensure all third-party vendors and partners comply with basic security requirements
- Train yourself and your employees to identify and report phishing scams
For more information on cyber security training and the essential skills for protecting you and your business against attacks, review the CISA Cyber Essentials Toolkits.