Over the past year, we’ve heard a mix of stories about cybercrime risks in the news. There have been troubling stories of lost and stolen identities, data breaches that put sensitive information like social security numbers or credit card information at risk, and even identity theft. But have you ever wondered if these stories are a cybersecurity myth? Is it all just hype? This article will look at a few of the most common cybersecurity myths, major cybercrime risks, and ways to mitigate cyber threats to your business.
“If you want good cybersecurity, then your system will be difficult to use, and if you want it easy to use, then it won’t be as secure as possible.” Incorrect. There are many ways to make a system easy to use and secure. Cybersecurity does not need to come at the cost of usability for the average user who doesn’t have access to critical data or information that needs additional protection.
Myth 1. Security is a trade-off with usability
In most cases, we can mitigate security incidents with some general cybersecurity risks mitigation tactics. Some of these tactics include:
- having tools such as firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), anti-virus software and malware detection programs
- implementing security measures such as encryption and authentication
- backing up data in multiple places
- monitoring systems for intrusions or unusual behavior
- enforcing strong password policies
- blocking spam email attachments
- disabling USB devices from running content on computers when plugged in
Myth 2. Technology fixes are the solution
Technology cannot solve everything and relying on it too much could make things worse. There are tools that companies and people use to protect themselves from cyberattacks (such as firewalls, antivirus software, or VPNs), but technology cannot fix all risks associated with cybersecurity. A business that has no plan to address a cyberattack is risking dire consequences. Cyberattacks can lead to data breaches, identity theft, and unauthorized access to sensitive information.
For this reason, businesses should take initiative-taking measures to prepare for these types of attacks before they happen. Technology solutions such as threat intelligence tools help assess risks for prevention.
Myth 3. Cyber insurance will protect my business from anything
Cyber insurance doesn’t cover everything. Make sure you know what it covers your business for. Some plans won’t cover against hacking, while others don’t include ransomware protection. Talk to your insurer about what they offer, and what you need to protect your business.
Some regions are safer than others. For example, we consider Eastern Europe a high-risk region for cybersecurity threats because of Russia’s advanced cyber-attacks and sophisticated cybercriminals working in the area. If your company runs in Eastern Europe, consider added coverage against hacking or malware attacks.
There are some steps that can get taken to help mitigate the risks. Keep your access information secure and offline, don’t let ransomware reach your devices, and keep data backup plans in place if a breach occurs. These three practices alone could reduce the chance of a costly attack on your network.
Myth 4. The only threat to cybersecurity comes from hackers
People think only hackers pose a threat. But there are many distinct types of threats, including phishing scams, identity theft, data breaches or data loss, that lead to increased risks in the workplace.
- Phishing scams can happen through email or text message. They request information (such as usernames and passwords) that could compromise the user’s personal information. Cybercriminals often use these swindles as their first step towards hacking into an account with the goal of gaining access to confidential information.
- Identity theft can lead to cyber fraud schemes where money gets stolen from bank accounts by creating fake IDs. The criminal can drain bank accounts dry before your company even realizes it’s happening!
- Malware or ransomware which leads to compromised data can cause data breaches or data. Once cybercriminals have access to your sensitive information, all bets are off–meaning your business might get exposed to hackers and cyberattacks in the future for a long time.
To avoid any of these threats, start by understanding what each one entails so that you know how to avoid them and what steps need to be taken if they occur.
Myth 5. I don’t need cybersecurity protection because I’m not worth hacking
Anyone can be at risk because hacking has nothing to do with the value of your personal information. All cybercriminals want is access to your data to sell it or hold it for ransom. If you are on the internet, this can happen without you knowing. A hacker turns over all your private information, which may contain financial or personal data, leaving it impossible to control who can access your personal information.
Your business data may not seem valuable, but hackers could still use it to make money from scams. An example of this would be phishing emails that direct users to fake websites where they input their credit card details. In addition, criminals may abuse your identifiable information (PII) by using it for identity theft or other fraudulent purposes. That’s why cybersecurity should always get considered as an important part of any business’ overall IT strategy, just like any other potential threat.
Know Thy Enemy
Knowing what you’re up against is the first step to protecting your business. Cybercriminals use the following techniques to attack your business: malware, phishing, denial-of-service attacks, and ransomware.
- Malware- malicious software that can get sent in an email attachment or through a website link.
- Phishing- the act of sending fraudulent emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to steal personal information such as passwords, social security numbers, or credit card information.
- Denial-of-Service Attacks- A denial-of-service (DDoS) attack occurs when multiple compromised systems get coordinated by an attacker intending to cause a denial of service to a targeted system by consuming all its resources so that nothing is available for legitimate traffic.
- Ransomware- malware that encrypts data on infected computers and then demands payment before it will decrypt them.
Second, it is important to raise awareness among your employees as well. Here’s how you can create awareness in your company:
- Host an all-staff meeting on cybersecurity
- Create a document with a list of best practices, including easy steps to follow, and distribute it
- Create a series of short videos on the most common security threats and how they affect businesses
- Send out newsletters highlighting the most recent cybersecurity developments and their implications for you and your company
If you’re unable to implement these strategies or don’t have time, consider hiring a managed service provider.
Establish a secure business culture
Another small but crucial step in mitigating your cybersecurity risks is to establish a culture of security throughout your business. You should reflect this culture in the hiring process, with a focus on hiring those who show commitment to security and have the right skills to help protect your company. You should also reflect it in company policies and procedures, which should include strong cybersecurity measures. It should get reflected in how decisions about product development and deployment get made. Every member of your team has a key role to play in protecting the company’s data assets.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Mitigate your risks by having a strong and layered cybersecurity plan in place. This means investing in resources like firewalls, anti-malware and intrusion detection systems, data encryption technologies, and the right business continuity practices.
It’s important that you monitor your security from now on so you can spot a problem and respond. By installing a centralized logging system with alarm notifications for specific events, you’ll be able to see which areas are susceptible and address them. If you need more help in this area, consider hiring an outside consultant to assess your current situation and supply recommendations for improvement.
In addition, it’s crucial that you stay up to date with the latest developments. This is so that you’ll be better prepared for new threats when they emerge.
Should I be worried about ransomware?
If you own a small business, you may wonder if ransomware should concern you. Your business may not have a large enough security budget or the right IT staff to deal with it. But here are some reasons ransomware should worry you:
- It’s not just about ransom: they often use ransomware as a means of data destruction. It’s more likely that victims will pay the ransom if they don’t have backups or an IT team on hand to fix the problem.
- Ransomware is everywhere: cybercriminals use phishing campaigns and infected emails disguised as invoices, shipping notifications, and other important files to get their hands on your company’s data.
- Wiping systems can have a major impact on productivity: once employees have to wait for computers and servers to reboot, work slows down.
- The ransomware industry thrives off under-funded businesses: if you’re already strapped for cash, then you’re vulnerable to paying up when malware strikes.
- Data restoration could take weeks or months: while larger companies might have their own specialists who can help clean up these types of messes, smaller companies will wait days or even months before everything is back up and running again.
The best step you can take towards mitigating ransomware risks is to back up your company’s data. When you make regular backups, you’ll always have access to older versions of documents and projects, which can minimize losses from a ransomware attack. You’ll also save yourself from downtime by storing copies of programs and system updates on another server so that work can resume without delay. With cybersecurity, prevention is better than cure – so arm yourself against hackers today!
What should I do if someone has hacked my business?
If someone has hacked your business, it is important to take steps at once. First, contact the Federal Trade (FTC) at 1-877-438-4338. The FTC supplies a list of other government organizations that can help.
Second, create a password for your company’s email account that doesn’t contain personal information. Change all the passwords on your computers and mobile devices if you’re not sure they are secure.
Next, change all your passwords with any third-party service providers (like Dropbox or Google).
If hackers have gained access to sensitive information like customer credit card numbers or social security numbers, contact those customers and let them know what happened. Offer free credit monitoring services. Third parties may need to be notified, such as law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, etc.; so you may need to contact legal counsel before releasing information about how the hack occurred.
Your CIO will want to do an in-depth analysis of what data the hackers accessed. They will review which systems were involved in order to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities, then perform a detailed plan for fixing any problems identified.
Once the immediate needs get met, businesses should investigate updating their cybersecurity practices through education and training. Companies who share cyber threat information with each other or engage in cross sector collaboration are better equipped to manage emerging threats. Together, they can continue to develop innovative solutions to cybercrime.