7 Tips to Prevent Cyberthreats
Shield Your Organization from Becoming a Casualty
Ransomware is one of the most dangerous cyberthreats to businesses — and it’s on the rise. The offending code infects computers, denying access until a ransom is paid. It’s typically delivered through spam emails, phishing or applications that target software vulnerabilities. The latest, and most effective, attacks involve crypto-ransomware. This malware uses unbreakable encryption on files until payment is received.
According to Symantec’s Special Report on Ransomware and Businesses, ransomware attacks are becoming more sophisticated and “involve a high level of technical expertise, using techniques more commonly seen in cyberespionage campaigns.”
Businesses, especially small and midsized businesses which are frequently targeted, must stay vigilant in this ever-changing environment. These seven tips can help your organization guard against ransomware and other cyberthreats.
- Set up a firewall. Protect your internet connection by setting up a firewall and encryption. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure and password protect access to your router.
- Install protective software. All computers should be equipped with anti-virus software and anti-spyware. Set up automatic software updates to ensure security fixes are in place.
- Create a cybersecurity policy. Once your security practices and policies are established, communicate them to all employees. Everyone should understand the consequences of policy violations.
- Educate employees. Encourage employees to have a healthy dose of skepticism. They should pay attention to URLs and read all emails carefully, even those appearing to come from a known sender. Ask them to avoid opening unknown or unexpected email attachments (especially compressed or ZIP files) or clicking on links. Emphasize creating strong passwords, using different passwords for different applications and changing them regularly.
- Back up data. The shift toward crypto-ransomware makes it more important than ever to back up your organization’s data. The ability to restore data quickly can make a big difference to profitability and reputation. Experts say automatic backup is best, or weekly at the least. Store data in several places, using off-site and cloud-based services.
- Limit access. Control the number of people who have access to business laptops. To protect your network, reserve administrative privileges for your IT team and key employees.
- Protect your website. While secure checkout and sign-up pages are a must, it’s also important to protect all of the pages on your organization’s website.
Staying up to date on cybercrime may seem like a daunting task, but resources are available. You can find valuable tools and information from the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Small Business Administration.