2017 saw a slew of cyber-attacks, major hacks, threats and data breaches dominating world headlines.
Many of these breaches were in fact the result of human error. They demonstrate that to compete in the emerging digital world, businesses must not only build robust security perimeters to protect themselves against cyber-attacks, but they must also educate employees about the dangers of falling victim to cybercrime.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself and your business against cybercrime in 2018:
Be wary of public Wi-Fi
In today’s always-on world, convenience often outweighs consequence, particularly when it comes to how you use your mobile device. It’s tempting to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots when you are travelling or visiting a shopping mall or coffee shop, but public Wi-Fi networks make it easy for hackers to see everything you’re doing.
Try not to conduct sensitive business activities using a public Wi-Fi network. Rather use your mobile network to connect to the internet, as it’s generally more secure than using public Wi-Fi.
Backup and update
Ransomware is a sophisticated piece of malware that blocks access to your files until you pay a sum of money to the cyber criminals. According to a recent Kaspersky Lab report, in 2017, the amount of ransomware attacks hitting businesses rose from 22.6 percent in 2016 to 26.2 percent. In 2018, we expect to see cybercriminals continuing to exploit the same vulnerabilities in increasingly malicious ways.
There are simple steps you can take to protect your business from the devastating effects of ransomware in 2018. Most attacks begin with emails that contain malicious attachments or that ask you to click on a URL, which installs malware without you knowing. Educate your employees to practice safe online habits such as not opening suspicious mails or clicking on unknown links. Also, be sure to back up your important information to the cloud – this way, your company won’t be forced to pay to have access to your data again.
Last year, we saw a global cyberattack spread ransomware to countless computers in over 150 countries. This malware took advantage of outdated operating systems. To minimise your risk, ensure that you are regularly updating your operating system and ensure that you install the latest anti-malware software.
To learn more about ransomware go to: Microsoft Security Story
Protect your online identity
63 percent of data breaches can be traced back to a compromised identity, where a hacker has managed to steal your credentials to gain access to your files. Many of these breaches are the result of weak passwords, followed by phishing attacks and breaches of third-party services.
- Consider changing your passwords every few months in the New Year
- Use different passwords for different accounts and services.
- Don’t use personal information for your passwords.
- Consider enabling stronger authentication beyond a password to add that extra bit of security to access your accounts.
- Use multi-factor authentication features like Windows Hello, which logs you into your device with fingerprint and facial recognition technology.
- Try using the Windows Authenticator App, which sends you a security code, making it difficult for hackers to sign in even if they can guess your password.
To learn more about passwords and protecting your online identity watch this video
Don’t bite when cybercriminals go phishing
Phishing is when a hacker poses as a legitimate company with the aim of stealing your account details. They use this method to obtain information like your credit card number or banking details.
In 2018, we expect phishing attacks to become more sophisticated. They will no longer just attempt to dupe the user through phone calls or emails requesting information. Phishing attacks are becoming more orchestrated making it harder to decipher a valid request for information or one that is attempting to solicit this information for criminal activity. Some of these attacks may include receiving fake login forms that require sensitive information, malicious files that corrupt your personal files, and personal, customized messages.
You can avoid having your organisation become an unwilling victim of a phishing attack by educating employees to be wary of emails from people or companies they don’t know. Never click on links in these emails as these could also contain malware that will render your computer useless.
With this in mind, the latest Windows update is available and brings more security improvements to Windows 10 so you can have peace of mind in the New Year. Windows Defender is smarter and defends better than before with behind the scenes cloud intelligence that enables new defenses against ransomware and exploits. Windows 10 S, introduced last year, is specifically designed for simplicity and security, with significant breakthroughs in battery life and performance.