While crime has always been there, once it turned digital, thieves educated themselves and became hackers, always trying to stay one step ahead of the authorities. As the Internet developed, so did cyber-crime and the number of reported cyber-attacks are on the rise, not to mention the many cyber-crimes that go unreported; all this means you must engage the services of a cyber-security specialist.
Here are a few of the basic ways that you could improve your cyber-security.
- Update anti-virus database – The anti-virus program that you use has a database of known viruses, as digital definitions, and if the program does not recognize a malicious piece of code, it will pass undetected and infect the computer. Set the program to automatically download the latest virus definition data to add to your existing list of known viruses and this will ensure no new viruses get into your computer.
- Create a secure cloud network – Talk to a leading Vancouver based cloud computing services provider about creating a cloud network that has 24/7 cyber-protection and you will be glad that you did. Remote secure servers store all your data and with a team of IT specialists looking after your network, your data is perfectly safe at all times. You simply cannot afford to take a chance with your business data and if you are unprotected, sooner or later a breach will occur.
- Change passwords often – Some digital hackers revisit networks and try to discover a user password and changing passwords every couple of weeks reduces the risk of data theft. You could call a special meeting with your staff and tell them about this and some of the other things that they can do to stay protected when online.
- Choose strong passwords – Most people use a password creation program that automatically creates strong passwords and saves them to your browser; a strong password would contain characters and symbols and would be at least 50 characters in length, making it almost impossible to hack. Password generation software is the norm in the cyber-security world, as it enables you to set strong passwords at the click of a button, and your devices remember these passwords.
- Use a firewall – Using a firewall puts one more barrier in front of the hacker and while some might be able to by-pass, the majority would give up. Go into the advanced settings for your firewall, where you will find many options to make the program more efficient and effective, unless, of course, you have an IT support partner, who would handle all cyber-security.
- Don’t use shared computers – We are talking outside of the office, of course, you should never plug in a USB stick into an unknown computer, as a virus could be triggered to upload to the device and if you have to use an Internet café to check your email, do not check the ‘remember me’ box. All office staff should know this and some companies do not allow employees to access the network with their personal device, while others insist on a scan first. Here are 8 ways to avoid email scams, which might prove to be useful.
- Understand phishing – This is where a hacker copies a bank website and sends you a link to that, asking you to update your personal information; most people see the site, assume it is the bank and dutifully type in all their access data. Of course, the hacker receives this data and within a very short time, your account would be cleared out and he’s gone! Are there ways of recognizing a fake website? The URL is where to look, and if it is a phishing site, there will be one character different to the real URL, plus there won’t be a padlock icon in the URL address window, which has saved many users from data theft. No padlock means insecure and you should look at things like this when dealing with other organizations.
- Penetration testing – If you are pretty confident in your cyber-security, ask the experts to carry out some penetration testing. Ethical hackers use all the tools they have to try and break the network defenses and if that fails to penetrate, you know your data is secure. We must understand that the Internet is a mass of ones and zeros; a constantly changing environment, with hackers trying to steal data and other hackers trying to prevent this.
- Don’t open unknown email attachments – An email attachment is a great way for the hackers to install their malicious code onto the user’s computer and when you get that email that says “Hey, look what we’ve got for you”, then open the attachment, the bad .exe file start the virus up and off it goes. Only click on a .exe file if you are certain of the content, and this is the executable command to set the code into motion. Should you ever become the victim of cyber-crime, here is a link to the FBI’s website where you can report the crime.
- Always backup your data – There is malicious code that simply wipes the drive clean, with no other motivation than pure spite and mischief. Losing a ton of critical data is simply not an option and should you be the victim of drive wiping, you should have several back-ups in place; once bitten, twice shy, as they say. If you run a cloud network, your back-up is automatic and that means you can focus on other aspects of the business, sure that you are always protected.
As we move into the Internet of Things and 5G speeds, hackers will be on the front line, looking for weaknesses and loopholes, which means cyber-security is even more important. If you have basic online protection, that might not be enough; discuss the issue with a local IT support company and they can give you the best protection against cyber-crime.