Cyber Security Issues You Need to Know About
Every year, cybercrime gets more advanced and hackers come up with new ways to threaten systems and networks. Methods of fighting it also get more sophisticated and it seems like the battle will never be over. And it probably won’t. For a layman, it’s impossible to track and understand what’s happening in the world of high-level cybercrime. What we can do, however, is to get acquainted with the most common problems that can occur and compromise our data, our finances and our businesses. Here’s a brief list of those, as well as a few pieces of advice on how to deal with them.
The menace of ransomware has been around for years and it’s going nowhere. In 2017 we’ve seen two huge ransomware attacks – WannaCry and NotPetya. Basically, any software that locks or encrypts your system, and sometimes even threatens to publish your data can be considered ransomware if there is an open request that you pay some sort of ransom to avoid all this. And it’s not just that methods of encryption will become more advanced, but the attacks will also spread to new devices. The most dangerous ransomware will be those that attack life-saving medical devices such as pacemakers. Over the next few years, those who fight against ransomware threats will not just be saving people’s data and privacy, but also their lives.
Moreover, in 2017 we’ve seen one of the biggest and most worrying data breaches so far. It cost Equifax, an American consumer credit reporting agency, hundreds of millions of dollars. This can be especially distressing for owners of the businesses that use online financial transactions and keep the payment data about their customers stored. In an attempt to stop such breaches from happening again, governments and other ruling bodies are trying to enforce the improvement of encryption standards. This seems like the most effective way to fight this threat. Regulations and protocols like GDPR or PCI DSS should be complied with by all businesses in order to minimize the risk of breaches and their devastating consequences.
Internet of things
The internet of things is growing rapidly, both in terms of size and complexity. It is predicted to reach 30 billion devices by the year 2020, and around 70 percent of current devices are already seriously prone to cyber-attacks. It’s not only your PC and your phone that are under threat anymore, but also your smart TV, your car, and even your refrigerator. The biggest problem with these devices is that they’re too often connected with one another, and breaking into just one of them makes all the others very vulnerable. Especially given that most common users are not exactly cyber-security experts. In order to prevent these issues, improving password practices and user verification are the most effective methods. Finally, it’s important to mention that regularly updating all the necessary software is crucial as well.
For business owners specifically, one of the most bothersome facts may be that 60 percent of breaches are caused by malicious or careless actions from someone inside the company. All the aforementioned problems are normally solved or prevented by experts and using methods developed by them, whether it be encryption of the data, advanced user verification or penetration testing. Some of these can work even with these inside threats, but you’ll have to go beyond that. You’ll have to think more like an HR than like an IT expert in order to avoid these risks.
Basically, there are two kinds of threats coming from your employees – the intentional and the inadvertent. As for the first one, there are a few things you could do about it. First of all, thorough background checks on all new employees, especially those who have access to sensitive data, is necessary. Furthermore, using apps that track and monitor your workers’ activity might sound like you’re messing with their privacy, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with these. It’s not about spying on your employees, but about protecting your business and your customers.
As for the second group – those who cause troubles in your network by accident, it’s best to create and strictly apply some basic security procedures and protocols. Even for the most technologically inept of your workers it won’t be hard to follow simple and straightforward policies that can drastically improve the safety of your network. Measures like rigid password policies or multi-factor authentication can save your business a lot of trouble and protect your finances and your reputation.
To conclude, the best way to fight cyber-security issues is to never let them happen in the first place. Applying the most elementary security practices and standards, both at home and at work, can make a huge difference. Don’t let yourself lose money or compromise important data just because you were too lazy to come up with a strong password. Once an attack or a breach happens, the harm might be already done and reversing its effects can be very costly and difficult.