Cybersecurity 101: Tips to secure your business and home

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.

If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

We might not be on the topic of ancient warfare, but we’re close.

As most companies have settled into a fully remote or hybrid work culture, which is great for work life balance and employee flexibility, it presents the perfect scenario for a cybercriminal.

Without trying to drag up too many negative memories brought about by the global pandemic, consider for a moment: Was your organisation ready for remote work? Did you scramble to figure out how your employees would access their files from home? Did you, as an employee, know how to protect your files on your PC/laptop?

No matter where you began, organisations ended up in the same place: with employees remotely accessing their office’s network. Many still do due to remote or hybrid work environments.

 

What is Cybersecurity?

  • Cybersecurity is the exercise of protecting or securing computers, mobile devices, servers, networks, and data from malicious digital attacks.
  • Cybercrime is any illegal activity done using computers or the internet.
  • Cybercriminals are individuals or teams of people who use technology to commit illegal activities on digital systems or networks, to steal private or sensitive company or personal data to make money.

 

Cybersecurity is a top priority for businesses and individuals alike, and your business or home is completely immune to cybercrime.

Any unsecure network creates the perfect storm for cybercriminals to exploit; the perfect environment for a hacker to place a ticking-time bomb on your employee’s device and infiltrate.

If you did your due diligence and put in place security measures like Confisense, or Uloq for your company and employees, then congratulations! Your private data and company information are secure.

Nonetheless, there’s a good chance a few company employees don’t follow your organisation’s security guidelines. Whether it’s due to negligence, lack of understanding, or simple forgetfulness.

When your employee decides to bring their device to the office and connect to the office network, are your office cyber defences equipped to stop a cyber-attack?

The employee’s device is already recognised by the office network as a trusted device, and if they are a manager or administrator, they probably have access to the entire network. So does the hacker if your network is not secure.

In 2020, there were 300,000 more cybercrime incidents compared to 2019, totalling to $4.2 billion in damages.

Moreover, even if your business is back to the office full-time, there’s still a high probability of hackers hijacking the devices your employees use.

The sales representative, field technicians, partners who host meetings, or even employees who travel — they are all at risk. This is because they have and/or will connect to a network during their time away from the office.

Every connection they make exposes their device and, in turn, your network to more opportunities for exploitation.

Types of Cybercrimes or Cybersecurity Attacks

Here’s a brief look at the most prevalent cybercrimes in the world today.

1. Malware — Malware, short for “malicious software,” is a software developed by hackers to steal information and data, destroy or damage computers and computer systems. They include ransomware, viruses, Trojan viruses, worms, spyware and adware. According to Statista.com there were 623.3 million ransomware attacks in 2021. And the numbers continue to rise.

2. Phishing — This is sending fraudulent emails pretending to be from a reputable company to get personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers.

3. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks — A cybercriminal intercepts communication by passively listening in on a connection, terminating it, and reroutes traffic to phishing sites designed to look legitimate. This makes MitM attacks incredibly difficult to notice. Uloq guarantees ironclad security for your personal and company data.

4. Denial-of-Service (DOS) Attack — A hacker would either flood or crash and restrict access to a website, system, or device.

5. SQL Injections — Hackers use code to check for vulnerabilities and mistakes done by programmers. The hacker then codes a command into the database which retrieves data or modifies it.

6. Zero-day Exploit — Didn’t notice that the software has a weakness… Too Late! The hacker is already in your system and has access. You have ‘zero-days’ to fix the issue because you are already at risk.

7. Password Attack — Used by hackers in almost every spy movie, it involves using a type of software that expedites cracking or guessing passwords to access a file, folder, account, or computer.

8. Cross-site Scripting — An attacker will send an XSS (Cross-site Script) that prompts you to click on it. If your site lacks the proper sanitation, the attacker proceeds to steal your active cookies.

9. Rootkits — If a hacker creates a rootkit for your device, they will take and maintain command over the device without you knowing about it.

10. Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks — A hacker can take over an automated or IoT system, including devices, networks, data, and users, to steal information.

Other cybersecurity attacks include:

  • Identity theft
  • Insider threats
  • Cryptojacking
  • Watering Hole Attack
  • Credential Reuse

The above would give any business owner many sleepless nights, especially if no cybersecurity measures are put in place.

Cyber Security is a necessity for any business or organisation.

Hackers or cybersecurity attackers are no longer hiding in the ‘darkness’ of the Dark web. They are no longer your stereotypical guy/girl in a black hoodie, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. They could be anybody, from a child to an elderly man.

The good news is that you can do something about it.

How to secure your local/home and work networks from cybercriminals

As the old adage goes, “Man is to error”.

So much so in cybersecurity when a simple email could be a phishing attack or ransomware. Therefore, follow these steps to guarantee a secure local or office network:

Step One: Establish what information or data needs protection urgently. This will help dictate where to best activate cybersecurity solutions. If your personal data (on mobile/PC) has been hacked, get proof; if it’s your phone, take a screenshot. Then, change all your passwords and make them difficult for anyone to know/guess.

Step Two: Go on cloud nine — move your network, most if not all, to the cloud. Cloud services are more secure than on-site servers and can spin-up faster than their local counterparts.

Confisense, due to its anti-tampering algorithm, is much more resilient to intrusion.

Step Three: Back up your network(s) and make sure it is functioning, even if your server is in the cloud. In case of a ransomware attack, which could be crippling your business operations for months, or a few days, it helps to be prepared.

Step Four: Finally, train your employees on IT Security. More than 80% of successful cyber-attacks are attributed to employee error. Therefore, go the extra mile to beef up your network’s security by ensuring each employee knows the dangers they face every day.

BONUS: A lot of companies focus on buying a cybersecurity solution, which they set up and forget about it.

Whether you have a large or small organisation, it is crucial to hire a cybersecurity strategist: a person (or company) that provides long term cybersecurity solutions by constantly analysing the company’s data and the possible threats it could face. They then build or rebuild critical systems and secure the data in a manner specifically tailored to your business.

He/she is not your regular ‘IT Technician’.

A cybersecurity strategist has experience with specific platforms, software, or appliances. Additionally, they have an independent approach to cybersecurity in the industry they choose to specialise in. For example, a cybersecurity strategist for a hospital (healthcare industry).

They create a strong systems architectural strategy that greatly simplifies the environment and hardens it.

Parting Shot

Cybersecurity is more than an avant-garde approach at this point. It’s becoming a company stable for all business owners that plan to stay afloat in today’s competitive world. Buying and building an internal cybersecurity team with the right cybersecurity solutions provider is not only a smart decision but the right one.

We’ll give your company leverage over your competitors by providing you with the right cybersecurity software, so you can protect your personal or business data, as well as that of your clients/partners.

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