How To Protect Your Business Against The Latest Cyber Attacks
Knock-Knock. Who’s there? Cyber criminals trying to capture your data and money
I know, I started with a bad knock-knock joke. What’s worse is how sophisticated cyber attacks have become in the last year, and they’re targeting small businesses and individuals. Using multiple approaches, the end game is to gather security information & passwords or to get into your computers and lock it down so they can get paid. They don’t care whom they steal from; we’ve heard of charities being hacked.
The most common attack is by a phishing email, but they will try to get into your network by text message, deceptive websites, or phone calls. Merriam-Webster defines Phishing as “the practice of tricking internet users – as through the use of deceptive email messages or websites – into revealing personal or confidential information which can then be used illicitly”. There are various types of phishing including spear phishing (targeted to an individual), whaling (targeting senior-level individuals), vishing (phone calls faking caller ID), smishing (text messages), and they are coming up with new methods all the time.
So everyone now lives in the bad neighborhood of cyber security and every business needs to have a layered defense system to protect themselves. Just a lock on the front door of your business is not enough, you need an alarm system, a fence, and a big dog. In other words, multiple defense methods.
Audit Cloud Environments
Monitor Remote Access
Disable Unnecessary Ports + Protocols
Patch externally facing equipment
The first method is to evaluate every email, text, and phone call as suspicious until proven otherwise.
Business email services can add a message to the subject line of all external emails. This will alert the recipient that it is not a coworker or their boss using the company email. Take time to evaluate any email that is asking for confidential information or actions out of the normal. Many phishing emails have spelling mistakes, bad grammar, or requests for urgent actions. You should check the actual email address that is behind the “From” display name. You can add a column formula in Outlook that will display both name and the email. Google Workspace displays the actual email after the display name. You can enable or add email filtering services to your email that review emails and eliminates or quarantines suspected phishing emails.
You can check if an embedded link is going where you expect by hovering over the link and seeing the destination URL. Microsoft 365 Advanced Threat Protection has an added feature of safe links which automatically checks the link before it goes to the website.
Phishing awareness training is one of the best defenses. Requiring the training 2 to 4 times a year keeps it on top of mind and greatly reduces issues. Training can be in person or by recorded videos. We use 2-minute training videos that can be watched during down times. There are Phishing testing simulators that will send test phishing emails to employees’ emails. The simulators can report if employees open, clicked, entered information, etc. Alerting employees that phishing emails will be sent will increase awareness.
Daily or hourly backup of your PCs and Servers to an offsite encrypted storage will help if hackers are able to lock down your computers. The data should be retained for several months or longer. Many companies that got Ransomware had to pay a ransom because they did not have a backup that could be used to restore the data. The procedure must be automatic, and the results should be checked for accuracy frequently. The best approach is to test the restore data so that you know it will work when it is needed.
WISE WORDS FROM OUR IT DEPT.
Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to protect your systems and data. You must have a comprehensive, multi-layered approach and you need to adjust for the ever-changing challenges and potential threats.
A firewall is a device that is placed on the perimeter of your office network to monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic to identify and allow or block threats. They also have the ability to block an unapproved website like video streaming or adult content. The best firewalls are a combination of hardware and software devices that use artificial intelligence (ai) using multiple methods of threat analysis. The software should be automatically updated to keep up with the latest threats. Firewalls have been used by fortune 100 companies for many years and over the last year they are needed by all businesses.
If you have cloud-based software like Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Dropbox, and Salesforce you have confidential data stored in these cloud services and it should be protected against theft, bad actors, and unauthorized use. There is next-generation AI software that will monitor your cloud applications for potential data loss or leakage and abnormal behavior and alert or automatically restrict user access until verified as acceptable.
DNS filtering is another cybersecurity measure used to stop users from accessing unapproved websites. It can be implemented on PCs and laptop, so it works even when the user is not in the office. This is a great method with many users working remotely.
Remote Device Management
Company-owned laptops, phones, and desktops should have device management and disk encryption enabled. Device management ad disk encryption protects the device and its data if it is lost or stolen. It can even be used if an employee goes rogue. The device manager can restrict USB usage so infected USB devices will not be read or company data cannot be copied.
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Let’s Talk Managed IT and Cyber Security
We emphasize accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity in the workplace and at home. Altek can analyze your current infrastructure, network security, and office technology to create a plan that aligns with your company’s needs while staying within a monthly budget.