3 ways to combat emerging cyber security threats
We asked tech expert Stephanie Rowan at NIC Inc to simplify how best to deal with emerging cyber security threats in light of the WannaCry scare.
With each coming year, cyber security becomes more and more important. There seems to be a constant stream of news that companies are getting hacked and their files released. In fact, the New York Times reported that “WannaCry,” a malware, was used in a global attack in May of 2017. The attacker targeted a wide range of victims and demanded payment in return for the victims’ data.
At this point, it’s time to start preparing for when your cyber security is breached, as opposed to taking some cautions and hoping that it never happens to you or your company. The goal is to minimise any damage that may happen to you, keep your systems running and your business from being paralysed by any attacks. With that in mind, here are some tips and strategies that can help you combat emerging cyber security threats:
- Educate yourself and your employees
One of the easiest ways that hackers get into your systems is through you (unknowingly) inviting them in. This technique, known as “phishing,” typically involves the hacker sending you an email, maybe pretending to be your bank, resulting in you clicking on a link or replying with sensitive information.
Thankfully, this is also probably the simplest and most affordable cyber security protection measures you can take to protect yourself. In a presentation, show some samples of fake emails and encourage your employees to be extremely sceptical of anything asking for personal information. If the email looks unprofessional or not legitimate, do not click any links! When in doubt, call the company that the email is claiming to be from and verify that the email is legit.
- Separate your files
Up to this point, the most common defensive technique is to invest in a firewall and store all of your data within the firewall. Unfortunately, due to improved technology and tactics, this is now a major liability. As soon as a hacker gets past the firewall, they will have access to all of your data in one place.
A good way to avoid this is to separate your files into smaller clusters. That way, if somebody manages to get into one of your clusters, you won’t lose everything. It will take more time and effort for the hacker or malware, possibly giving you enough time to secure your data.
- Update your systems
If it’s been some time since you’ve taken a look at your cyber defences, it’s time you do that. Because of the exponential growth that technology has, it’s possible that you have fallen far behind and that you are at extreme risk. Take some time to invest in your security systems, outsourcing to a more experienced team if necessary.
Another crucial part of updating your systems involves cutting ties with any old programs or applications that you used to work with. If you haven’t been working on them, they may be more vulnerable, giving hackers access to the rest of your data – that is, unless you’ve already followed Tip #2 and separated your files!
Cyber security protection may seem like an extremely confusing, stressful task, but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should overlook. Take the steps that you are qualified to take, but if you work with sensitive data and aren’t well-versed on the topic, you should seriously consider working with somebody who is. Your cyber-health could depend on it!
Stephanie Rowan is a tech-lover and IT expert that goes behind-the-scenes to understand technology. Her goal is to make even complicated features easier for the average user to understand.