It’s Cyber Security Awareness Month: How Aware Are You?

As we have mentioned in many blogs this year, while cyber attacks on very large, well-known businesses dominate the headlines, statistics show that smaller organizations are at the greatest risk. Sixty percent of cyber attacks in 2014 targeted small and midsize companies, and that trend continues.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and, In a world where phones, tablets, and laptops and the Internet of Things are a major part of our day-to-day lives, we want to take a few minutes to remind you about some important facts you should keep in mind when considering your own data security.

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1. Be aware of what you share on social media. A potential hacker can learn a lot about you from your social media accounts. Information such as your name, location, current employer, email, and calendar is readily available for cyber criminals to use to their advantage. Keep these accounts secure, be aware of the information you share, and make sure only those that you trust can view your profiles.

2. Make mobile security a priority. Mobile devices have become the device of choice for many employees, but protecting them with traditional defenses poses a stiff challenge for IT professionals. With mobile technologies quickly evolving, many employees feel that their own devices are a more convenient option than those offered by their organizations. To protect company data from malware or dangerous hack attempts, organizations should draft BYOD rules and regulations and a plan should be in place should a security breach occur.

3. Phishing attacks are on the rise. Hackers are getting even better at manipulating phishing emails to the point it’s difficult to tell what’s fake and real. Logos and links to banks, retailer and government websites seem absolutely identical to the real ones. Always avoid emails from people you don’t know. Even if the name is familiar, always avoid emails from people you don’t know. Most security breaches—even the largest ones—start with a phishing attack via a malicious link in an email the employee has opened.

4. If it connects to the internet, it’s a target. As the business community finds more ways to rely on technology, hackers are given more ways to attack. The Internet of Things is real, and it’s expanding rapidly.  And this expansion doesn’t automatically come with sufficient security. New connected devices mean new threats. From smart cars to programmable thermostats to remote garage door openers, if it connects to the internet, there’s a way in.

5. Technology is only as useful as the person using it. Employees can be your biggest weakness when it comes to data security. Behind every piece of technology is a person who uses it. All it takes is one wrong click from that person to make your organization the next victim of a data breach. Educate your employees on common security threats.  Proper training can turn your staff into one of your most vital defenses.

Categories: Current News and Events, Data Security

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