Cyberattacks are increasing. These 3 cybersecurity tips will help you secure your critical assets and data
I was invited to be an admin of a Facebook group preloaded with Phishing links last week. Immediately after seeing the links, I took proactive steps to secure my critical information. While this was easier for me due to my background in cybersecurity, it is not easy for people with no background in information security.
Here’s the good news!
You can educate yourself about cybersecurity tips and best practices, and I will dedicate the next 12 months to educating my followers on how to secure their critical assets- people, data, and infrastructures.
Now here’s the first question:
Is cyberattack increasing due to advances in technology?
With the adoption of technology and the increasing daily need for and use of the internet, vast amounts of data are generated globally. At the same time, there has been a rise in the level of data breaches encountered since the COVID-19 pandemic, the cryptocurrency wave, and the adaptation to the new norm – remote working.
For businesses and organizations, these data with varying sensitivity levels are essential to business operations and help influence some strategic decision-making. While these data are necessary to businesses and organizations, these data are also crucial to cyber criminals.
While some cybercriminals are after gaining access to the data to get some information, others are after the data for identity theft and to disguise who they are, not to manipulate people.
Cybercriminals also target organizations’ data in attempts to hold the businesses and organizations to ransom—more or less like an “I’ve got my hands on your data, or I now have full control of your system, and to release it back to you, you’ve gotta pay me.”
Any business or organization that finds itself in this situation will have to face a lot, such as disruption in business operations, loss of data, emotional stress, waste of resources during remedial processes, and ultimately financial loss.
Securing Critical Assets: Statistics
Top companies such as Yahoo, Alibaba, Equifax, Adobe, and LinkedIn have had their experiences dealing with data breaches. (Source: 15 Biggest data breaches)
Forbes predicts that 2022 will bring us many alarming cyber security concerns, including supply chain disruption, more significant dangers from smart devices, and a prolonged shortage of cyber security experts.
It has also been reported that by 2025, the global cost of cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion! In addition, during the next four years, the cost of cybercrime is expected to increase globally by about 15% annually.
This calls for a huge need to take cybersecurity to heart.
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the defense against malicious attacks by hackers, spammers, and other online criminals on devices and services connected to the internet. They combine strategies to safeguard businesses’ data and keep cyber criminals away.
Cyber security wades off cyber criminals and the disasters that they orchestrate.
Data breaches are security violations and occurrences where an unauthorized person gains access to a network or system to view, transmit, steal, or use the system’s sensitive information without the business’s knowledge or authorization.
How Data Breaches Happen
We often think that data breaches are designed only by cyber attackers outside the firewalls of businesses or organizations.
Data breaches can occur in the following ways.
- An employee might accidentally gain access to view some sensitive information about the organization that should be known to just a few sets of people. Imagine an intern having access to information that should only be known to C-Level executives. A malicious intern might decide to take advantage of the information. This brings us to the next point.
- A disgruntled employee or ex-employee can also be responsible for a cyber attack.
- Data breaches can occur when an outsider gets hold of a stolen or lost unencrypted or unlocked device crossword containing the organization’s data.
- A deliberate hacker can also be responsible for a data breach.
Common Types of Data breaches
This type of data breach is called a “brute force attack”. It is easily launched when the target uses weak passwords. The hackers try every possibility to guess the correct password and gain access to the target’s sensitive data. This is best prevented by using long and strong passwords comprising a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. This attack also includes dictionary attacks and keylogging.
Malware is malicious software launched to carry out unauthorized actions on the victims’ network systems. They are usually in the form of attacks on healthcare, banks, online apps, etc. . To get the information into the hands of cybercriminals, they spy on the system, install extra dangerous software, and limit access to crucial network components. Malware attacks can be launched via any phishing attack that can be used to spread malware, allowing hackers to access the victims’ network systems and collect the data they’re after. Trojan horses, viruses, worms, and ransomware are examples of malicious instruments that can be used to breach data.
Cybercriminals launch phishing attacks by disguising themselves as trusted authorities or websites in an attempt to breach data. Examples are spear phishing, whaling, email phishing, angler phishing, smishing, and vishing.
3 Cybersecurity Tips On How To Secure Your Critical Assets and Data
1. Activate Multi-factor Authentication
Hackers prey on weak passwords. With multi-factor authentication, you can stay in the loop if someone tries to gain access to your accounts. You can use apps such as Google Authenticator or Authy.
2. Encrypt Your Traffic
If you have to browse in the coffee shop, avoid logging into sensitive accounts or performing sensitive transactions. To protect your critical assets and data, you can encrypt your traffic by using VPN.
3. Back Up Your Data
Ransomware attacks are on the rise, and even when you have done everything, you cannot be perfect regarding securing your critical assets. Ensure you back up your data regularly. This will enable you to restore to your last backup in case of any eventuality.
If you are working from home or you have a home office, you can read this article titled, “Cybersecurity in home office times: 5 tips for secure network(s)“