6 Proven Strategies to Protect your Company from Cyberattacks
To be cyber safe is now as important as eating three square meals daily. Internet scams are on the rise. Reports from the Federal Trade Commission show that one in ten people fall victim to a scam yearly, with over 2.1 million fraud reports received in 2020.
As our lives rely more on digital devices, we must ensure that we are cyber-safe.
Medical professionals take preventative medicine seriously. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
We should apply this same logic to our online lives as well.
In this article, we shall discuss six steps you should take to maintain a preventive stance against cyber security threats.
1. Think carefully before opening any untrusted sources
Hyperlinks (or links, as we call them) are a predominant feature of the internet. They are the pathways of the internet landscape. However, you should only follow a link if you know where it leads.
Before you click on any link, think twice. Inspect the link structure. Even if you trust the person who sent it to you, verify that the link does not have malicious intent.
Another preventive approach is to check for pointers. The following are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Instead of linking to another page, it links to a file you didn’t request.
- The link leads to a page with error-filled copies.
- The link redirects you to another website without your intent
- It leads to a website with content that is too good to be true.
- Secured page links begin with [ HTTPS:// ], and you can trust them over those that start with [ HTTP:// ]
- If the link is from a source you do not trust (yet), don’t click.
- Do not click if it does not reflect the intended use.
Some websites use tracking systems like browser fingerprinting to track users and collect information about their online activities. To not be a victim is not to visit those sites.
2. Discover how to prevent botnets and DDoS attacks
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are common forms of cyber security threats internet users encounter. When you visit a website that responds slower than usual or is unresponsive, that website might be under a DDoS attack. Your internet connection will likely become slow if you are the target of the attack.
The perpetrators of these attacks use compromised devices (botnets) to achieve their aims. Your device could be a part of these compromised devices.
Learning how these attacks happen and how your device can be compromised puts you in a better position and helps you make better decisions in the long run. These decisions include using good antivirus software and buying internet services from trusted ISPs.
3. Use a strong password protection
Passwords are the equivalent of house keys on the internet. Will you ever lock your door and leave your keys at the keylock? You get it.
When you use weak passwords, that’s what you do. Good password etiquette is essential to keeping cyber security threats at bay. Use strong passwords. A strong password is
- unique, and
- long, at least 12 characters.
A unique password is random and never used anywhere. Computer-generated passwords can be of help.
As a rule of thumb, change your passwords once a year, and every time you forget them. Also, never reveal your passwords to anyone. Use different passwords for different accounts.
Always use multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible.
4. Make sure all your devices are updated
Malicious agents seek and exploit any loophole they can identify. Outdated software has big holes and entry points for them. To keep yourself from becoming a victim, keep your devices up to date.
The best thing is to turn on settings for automatic updates.
5. Avoid using public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is a cyber security nightmare. It is like sheepishly walking into a lion’s den. Bad actors often prey on unsuspecting internet users, and public Wi-Fi is a central playground for that.
From unencrypted connections to session-hijacking, you are more susceptible to a man-in-the-middle attack when using public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi is not protected, making you vulnerable to attacks from these malicious agents. It is better not to use it at all.
6. Back up your data regularly
This is a crucial preventive step because if you eventually get attacked, you will not be left helpless and at the mercy of the attackers.
Back up all critical data on your devices automatically, if possible. You can follow the 3-2-1 system used by tech experts. This means you’ll keep three copies of your documents on two different storage devices and one copy in an off-site location (usually a cloud storage).
Though these steps would help us ensure we have a sound defense system for any cyber security attack, they are not one-time actions. We must remain informed of the changes happening in our digital world and take corresponding steps to adapt. What is most important is that we are cyber-aware and take responsibility.
In a world with a cyber-attack every 39 seconds, being cyber aware is not just a safety tip but our guarantee for truly living our best lives in this digital age.