Tech security will be the top story in business in 2017. In an increasingly digital world, there is a wave of rising tech security threats that need your attention. Protect yourself against the six threats below and keep your sensitive business data safe. Review your security strategy and make sure that you have the measures in place to thwart these rising security threats. If you find that you have vulnerabilities that need to be addressed, consider reaching out to a third party business and technology partner to improve your security outlook.
Here are 6 tech security threats and how to protect against them:
Ransomware is a form of cyber extortion. Cyber criminals have found success with holding private data ransom. So much so, that ransomware has become a trend, inspiring imitation and becoming a growing cyber security risk. While many ransomware victims pay the ransom, the data is not always released as a result. Because criminals are not known for their honesty, it's best to assume that once a ransomware attack happens, there's no guarantee that paying will pay off.
The best defense against ransomware is to plan ahead and prevent it from happening. That's not necessarily encouraging to hear, but once ransomware escalates to locked data and an asking price, it's a far more complicated fix. Your security strategy should focus on preventing ransomware from infecting your network. That includes educating employees on not clicking on or downloading the wrong thing and letting ransomware take hold.
Phishing is a type of social engineering that relies on the good nature of people to steal private information. Typically, the criminal will pose as an authority figure (like a manager or bank official) and will send an e-mail asking for private information. Under the impression that they're fulfilling a request from a superior or other trusted source, the victim sends the information, or gives the criminal access, willingly.
In this instance, awareness and skepticism are key. Make sure that your employees know that scams like this exist and that they keep their guards up when asked for sensitive information. Train employees to verify identity whenever possible and refuse requests they deem suspicious. As a general rule, establish when and how sensitive information is to be sent and communicate that to your staff.
3. IoT Hacks
DDoS attacks (or distributed denial of service attacks) have taken parts of the Internet down before and they'll do it again. The Internet of Things is a huge asset for businesses and consumers alike. But, with that connectivity comes risk. Cyber criminals can infect connected devices with malware in coordinated attacks. If your business has IoT devices in it (even something as simple as a router), you're at risk.
Make sure that you have security measures in place for the IoT. Hackers are getting creative and hacking everything from connected cars to connected thermostats. IoT devices cannot be left unsecured. Once something is connected to your network, it needs to be factored into your overall security strategy. Work with your security advisor or IT support partner to make sure that your devices are safe.
Typically, when you commit a typo when entering a URL, you get an error message. However, some cyber criminals are exploiting those mistakes, setting up lookalike sites that fool users into thinking they've landed on the genuine article. This is sometimes called "typosquatting." This scheme can infect users with malware and serve as a phishing attempt, collecting user information for malicious gain.
Before entering any personal information, payment information, or sensitive data of any kind, double-check the URL. Make sure, in general, that when you're sending information, it's being sent over secure channels - to the proper parties. Educate employees on these types of scams and create a culture where everybody thinks twice before hitting 'submit' or 'download.'
5. Mobile Hacks
Mobile devices represent a significant security risk for businesses. This is primarily because they aren't considered in the same light as the more clearly-defined "work computer." But, this is a mistake. In today's business landscape, many employees use their mobile devices to access company data. Think about how many access points your mobile device has to sensitive information. A lost or compromised device could mean big trouble.
Start treating mobile devices the same as you would company computers. If employees are able to access sensitive company data, implement a remote wipe function. In the event of a lost device, being able to remove your private data is a must. Put best practices into place that require strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and guidelines on when and where information can be accessed.
6. Lack of Awareness
Perhaps the security threat that promises to rise higher each year is a lack of awareness. Employees can be a security vulnerability if not equipped with Cyber Security Awareness Training. When employees don't know what to look out for and what to remain wary of, data can easily leak. It's not typically malicious - data and credentials are handed over in good faith to cyber criminals who are preying on your team's good nature.
Invest in Cyber Security Awareness Training. Knowledge is the greatest defense against cyber attacks. If your entire team stays vigilant, there is a greater chance that any kind of social engineering scheme will be thwarted. Make security a priority for your employees and they can be a formidable first line of defense against cyber crime. Something as simple as impressing the need for strong passwords upon them is a difference-maker.