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How to avoid 3 prevalent cyberthreats

In a digital business environment, cyberattacks are a very real threat. They’re not something that you can ignore any longer.

Luckily, there is a lot you can do to help avoid most threats and prevent them from interfering with your business.

Use strong passwords

This is a simple cybersecurity fix – if your password is hard to crack, then it’s that much harder for an attacker to gain access even if the network is already compromised. A strong password is longer (upwards of 64 characters!) and easy to remember but hard to guess.

Keep tech updated

Make sure that everything you use – from operating systems to firewalls to browsers – is updated.

Cybercriminals spend their time exploiting bugs and errors anywhere they can. Every day they are devoting energy to finding these potential security holes.

Keeping up to date on patches makes sure that these exploits are kept to a minimum, so take the time to set up automatic updates when available.

Encrypt your files

If an attacker gets past all of your defenses, encrypting your data ensures that they can’t make use of anything they gain access to. This is an effective safety measure, as it means that even if your network is compromised you don’t have to worry about your data’s integrity.

Utilize data backups

Data backups can mitigate cyberattacks by offering you a safety net. If an attack does occur, the damage becomes minimal.

You simply recover your data and get back to business.

Phishing

In phishing attacks, a cybercriminal attempts to obtain information by pretending to be someone trustworthy or familiar. Avoiding these is more about how you respond to the attempt than about how secure your network itself is.

Stay current on phishing techniques

Usually, there are a couple of popular methods at any given time, so pay attention to your news feed.

Avoid blind-clicking

Typically a suspicious email will take you to a page that appears correct but isn’t upon closer inspection. For example, if your bank asks you to update information, just navigate to the main portal on your own rather than clicking the link provided.

Check your accounts regularly

If you catch suspicious activity on one business account, you should change all of your passwords so that an attacker can’t use previous information to gain access to more.

It’s important to check in on your accounts every so often to catch breaches early.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cybercrime damages will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.

Ransomware

Ransomware attackers will attempt to gain access to your data so that they can block your access, holding the data hostage. There are a few ways to prevent this as well as good and bad ways to respond if you become a victim of this type of attack.

Use backups!

We’ve already briefly discussed the utility of data backups, but they bear mentioning again when discussing ransomware.

A ransomware attack is all for nothing when you use backups – the attacker takes your data hostage and asks for a ransom, but you restore your files and you get back to work. They’re left high-and-dry.

Don’t pay the ransom

If you’re a victim of ransomware, don’t pay the ransom. There’s no guarantee that the attacker will return or unlock your data. Furthermore, this will fund future attacks – whether on your business or someone else.

Don’t provide personal information

This will only exacerbate the situation. By providing any kind of personal information, you’re opening another potential vector of attack. Phishing attacks are often personalized to the victims, so avoid making it easier for the attacker to exploit you again later.

Man-in-the-middle attacks

These types of attacks entail a third party eavesdropping or modifying legitimate communication between two points. They’re often hard to spot, and the motivation for the attack can be any number of things, from spying for data to opening up opportunities for further attacks.

IBM X-Force’s Threat Intelligence Index 2018 says that 35% of exploitation activity involved attackers attempting to conduct MITM attacks

Don’t trust everything you read

That’s probably the best way to avoid cyberattacks.

Be suspicious and think criticallyDo some research and pay attention. That, in addition to the tips covered above, will save you from most basic types of cyberattacks.

For the more advanced stuff, feel free to reach out to the experts and ask questions. We know cybersecurity and besides protecting you against a bigger league of attacker, we can also provide guidance on how to keep your specific network safer from attack.