Cybersecurity is a complex topic. Virtual and physical threats can wreak havoc upon unsuspecting systems and the people who use them. Take, for example, millions of users whose personal data is stolen each year – they had no idea they were a prime target for hackers. Yet, time and again, people put their faith into systems and processes that are unseen and, in many cases, untested.
Attacks on cybersecurity around the world
One of the biggest cyber attacks in the world happened in 2017, affecting more than 150 countries as quantified by CNN Money. Businesses, government agencies, hospitals, and universities, were affected around the globe.
Just recently in November 2018, hotel chain, Marriott, admitted 500 million guests were hit by a cyber-attack. The hotel giant said the information was taken from the Starwood guest reservation database, amounting to a goldmine of data for an identity thief.
It’s only a matter of time until the next attack occurs.
The holidays pose a risk for cybersecurity
While no time of the year is safe from attacks, cybersecurity is especially important during the holidays as this season can pose extraordinary risks for security professionals, business owners, and consumers alike. The holidays are a time of celebration, and when the work year is ending and a new one is set to begin, threats to our way of life can arise. Our homes and businesses become ripe for penetration by malicious parties.
How do you know if your business is safe?
Even if your place of business is a veritable fortress of protection, one small vulnerability unintentionally introduced by a single user can bring an entire system crashing down. And with it, your ability to maintain the integrity of sensitive and personal information. Don’t let the holidays cause you to let your guard down and don’t let the festivities lower your vigilance.
During the gift-giving season, new gadgets and toys with advanced capabilities like Wi-Fi and data connectivity can provide unrivaled joy as well as new vulnerabilities to threats. Cybersecurity experts caution against using the Internet of Things (IoT) devices without being fully aware of how your network security and data security policies may be affected. This doesn’t mean boxing up or returning holiday gifts for fear that they’ll expose you to hackers, but it does mean using Wi-Fi-accessible devices with caution.
Protecting your company from cyber hacks
It’s the responsibility of all people, from creators to users, to keep cybersecurity at the top of their minds. Don’t let the excitement of the holiday season be an excuse for not setting up passwords on network gateways. Talk to your network administrator before bringing new web-oriented gadgets to the office. While most manufacturers are keen to remain secure, not every device is 100% free from attack.
- Install a firewall
- Install anti-virus software
- Use encryption software
A firewall is a hardware appliance that allows you to customize the type of information that can enter your system. Create a boundary of protection between you and cyber hackers.
While a firewall protects your system from unauthorized access, an anti-virus scans for and detects malicious software. Updates must be installed as soon as they become available because of zero-day threats. Since a virus can spread in seconds, you can’t afford to wait.
What would you do if your business’ information fell into the wrong hands, viewed by an unauthorized party while in transit (i.e. via email or file sharing)? Encryption software encodes information so that only the intended recipient can view its content.
Computer viruses, hacking software, and other forms of attacks are like biological infections – if you get sick, you can pass it on to other people. Or in this case, other data networks. Think like a cybersecurity professional and always keep software updated. Have a new device that lets you view your home through a web camera on your phone? Be sure you know that no one else has access to your camera.
Sure, attacks on businesses are scary but don’t go paranoid just yet. Every day, cybersecurity is at the top of minds of product developers and business owners. The latest gadgets are sure to be some of the most advanced yet, but only you can check through settings and user manuals to be sure.
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