6 Tips For Protecting Your System Against Cyber Attacks
It’s no secret that in recent years, cybercrime has become a significant threat to any business. More than 80% of the surveyed organizations experienced some forms of cybersecurity attacks in 2018. Also, today hackers and cybercriminals don’t only target big enterprises and multinational companies. More and more hackers are now targeting small and mid-sized businesses, so chances are, your business is also vulnerable.
Everyone connected to the internet has the potential of being a victim of cybercrime at some point. So, preparing ahead for the worst is very important if you want to prevent these cybersecurity threats, some of which can cause long-term and even permanent damage to your reputation and finances.
Protecting Your System Against Cyber Attacks
The key to protecting your system against cyber attacks is to be proactive, and we should start by managing the risk through some simple precautions. Below we will share our top six actionable tips for protecting your system against cyber attacks, starting with the first one.
1. Strengthen Your Password
It’s important to note that using a weak and/or non-unique password is a serious vulnerability not only for the respective user’s account but potentially the whole system. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), more than 80% of data breaches are still tied to weak passwords as the cause.
Yet, many people still view passwords as an annoying part of accessing their account to use technology, and changing this mindset alone can significantly help in improving your web security. In fact, more than 15% of surveyed users used ‘123456’ as their password.
Strong passwords should be at least 10 characters long and include a mix of uppercase and undercase letters, numbers, space, and symbols. Also, make sure to use different passwords for different accounts and change them regularly. Too much of a hassle? This is where a password management tool can help you: a lot of them are very affordable, and there are also free options like Google’s Password Manager.
Here are some additional tips to strengthen your password:
1. Use a VPN when accessing accounts with sensitive information
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is now pretty simple and affordable, and it can be effective in hiding your IP address information as well as encrypting your outgoing communications. A VPN can help prevent your password/credential from getting stolen.
2. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
Using two (or more) factor authentication can add an extra layer of security when your password is stolen. An MFA can be:
- Something you are: your face (face ID), fingerprint, iris scan, etc.
- Something you have: a USB dongle, a key, etc.
- Something you know: an additional PIN, a pattern you have to draw on the screen, etc.
Our revolutionary software PerfectFace eliminates the need for cards for member-based businesses by allowing your members to self-check-in by simply scanning their faces.
2. Update All Software and Apps
Keep in mind that no matter how good a software is, and no matter how big the company behind it, they will always be prone to security vulnerabilities.
Fortunately, however, in this age of patches and updates, software developers can easily release a quick security fix whenever a vulnerability has been discovered. Make sure to use this to your advantage.
Always update your software whenever a new update/patch is released, especially if it’s a security patch. In 2017, Equifax experienced a major data breach which cost them $425 million due to their failure in updating their software. Don’t follow their footsteps.
Set a regular schedule to check for updates and perform updates on all your software and applications, at least once a month and if possible, weekly.
3. Backup Your Data Regularly
It’s important to make a regular backup of important data and information. So, even in the case of an attack, you can keep your system and business running by using the backups. Backing up your data can be a simple but important measure in avoiding a worst-case scenario in the occurrence of an attack.
The basic approach is to use the 3-2-1 backup rule: keep 3 copies of your data on 2 different devices with 1 off-site additional backup. For example, a backup on your main server, a backup external drive, and a cloud backup.
The off-site backup storage can be a physical server in a different location from your main server (i.e. a data warehouse) or a cloud-based backup.
Also, you might want to encrypt your backups for an extra layer of security.
4. Watch Your Wi-Fi Connection
Virtually everyone is using at least one Wi-Fi enabled device in 2020. On the other hand, any device connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi connection can translate into a potential vulnerability. When an infected device is then connected to your business’s Wi-Fi, then it can also potentially infect or breach your entire system.
Regarding Wi-Fi connectivity, here are some important practices to consider:
- Secure your business’s Wi-Fi networks properly, and consider hiding them altogether
- If you or your employees are working remotely, consider connecting to Wi-Fi after using a VPN
- Always use a VPN on public Wi-Fi when working outside the office or on a business trip.
5. Invest in The Right Security Infrastructure
The most basic security infrastructure you should wave is an antivirus software and a firewall.
You should always install a reliable antivirus solution on every device that will be connected to your business’ network. Make sure your antivirus is updated regularly, or invest in one with behavioral detection. Also, make sure that at least a basic firewall is in place.
However, to tackle today’s advanced cybersecurity threats, an antivirus and a firewall are simply not enough.
Most cyber crimes nowadays are performed with the help of an automated bot, and today’s 4th-gen bots are getting really sophisticated in mimicking human behaviors, so they are very difficult to detect. Even if we use a CAPTCHA, there are various CAPTCHA farm services available allowing hackers to use these services to bypass your CAPTCHA, rendering it useless.
So, investing in a real-time bot prevention solution like DataDome is now a necessity to defend against malicious bot activities and various bot-based attack vectors.
6. Educate Your Employees About Phishing Attempts
Phishing scams are one of the most common cybersecurity threats for both individuals and businesses. 33% of all cyberattacks began from email phishing, and 94% of malware is delivered via email.
So, it’s important to educate yourself and your team members about the common signs of phishing emails, and how to respond to them.
In general, when you get any email (or text message) that asks you to click or open anything, you should be suspicious and ask three key questions:
- Whether you know the person/organization contacting you
- Whether you have an account with the organization
- Whether the sender is sending the email with the company’s valid email address
If you suspect that it is a phishing attempt, the best way to respond is to contact the phone number, email address, or website of the company that you know is real (i.e. the phone number listed on the official website) and not the information included in the email.
If you think the phishing scammer has successfully stolen your credentials, then you can go to IdentityTheft.gov to report your situation and find possible solutions.
The Xplor Recreation Solution
The six tips discussed above are obviously not the only ways we can use to protect your system against various cybersecurity threats. However, they are among the most effective and also the easiest to implement. You can use them as a foundation in building a bigger, more comprehensive cybersecurity solution.
When it comes to member management software, Xplor Recreation is your solution for a strong defense against cyber attacks.
- PCI-DSS Compliancy: Xplor Recreation complies with PCI, ISO and SOC standards to ensure long-term security.
- 24/7 Network Protection: We monitor traffic, protect against malicious activities, and block intrusions 24/7/365
- Data Privacy Protection: You retain ownership of all your data, and it always resides in the country of origin
- Disaster Recovery Plan: Your data is backed up on a regular basis and replicated to ensure availability.
Mike Khorev is passionate about all emerging technologies in the IT space and loves to write about all of them. He is a lifetime marketing and internet expert with over 10 years of experience in web technologies, SEO, online marketing and cybersecurity.