10 Ways to Reduce the Risk of a Cyber Attack
Cyber-attacks can affect individuals or businesses at any time. Below is a list of the most common types of cyberattacks and what you can do to reduce the risk.
Types of Cyber Attacks
There are several types of cyber incidents that could target a business. We have outlined four of the most common:
Phishing & Social Engineering
Fraudulent communication aimed to trick you into sharing private information or downloading viruses.
You may know it by another term... “virus”
– malware is essentially a form of harmful software that hackers use to wreak destruction on your computer or network.
“Denial of Service Attacks” are when a website is maliciously flooded with more visitors than it’s equipped to handle, causing the website to crash.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or computer files until a sum of money is paid.
Hackers may threaten to publish or destroy your data if their ransom isn’t paid.
Top 10 Tips to Reduce Cyber Risk
- Leverage Proactive Technology
There are hundreds of companies who specialise in cyber security – use them to your advantage! These companies offer all sorts of proactive technology for preventing cyber-attacks: antivirus and antispyware software, intrusion detection systems (sometimes they happen without you even noticing), intrusion protection systems, spam filters, and multi-factor authentication software to name just a handful.
- Educate Your Team
Technology is great, however, all the technology in the world won’t protect you from one of the most common causes of a data breach or cyber incident: human error. Therefore, it is important to continually educate your employees on cyber and data security – preferably with training programs specialised to their actual role. This doesn’t have to be super complex “tech-y” stuff either; simple preventative measures like creating strong passwords, safeguarding private and personal information and questioning the authenticity of emails can make a huge difference.
- Cyber Security Audits
As your company grows, it is important to make sure your cyber security is keeping pace. Conducting regular Cyber Security Audits is a good way to identify any weaknesses in your security measures to minimise the risk of a cyber incident or data breach. There are good consultants who specialise in identifying the holes in your system and procedures, and who will also assist in building out your security measures as your company grows.
- Protect Important Information to Avoid Data Breaches
You have likely heard about some of the significant data breaches affecting millions of consumers over the last few years. This has never been more relevant as it is today. Protecting personal and private information is something that all companies – not just multinationals – need to take seriously. Methods for doing this can range from encrypting data when stored or sent online, refusing to collect certain information (i.e. credit cards) and implementing security measures to protect your data from hackers (see our first point above about Leveraging Proactive Technology).
- Vulnerability and Patch Management
How secure is your system? Vulnerability management is a proactive approach to managing network security, while patch management takes care of fixing these holes. It is fairly straightforward to implement one of these processes: check, identify and verify any vulnerabilities, mitigate losses from these vulnerabilities, then finally apply “patches” to fix the problem.
- Identity Verification
This is a very important preventative measure for phishing and social engineering attacks. If you receive an email/call to pay an invoice or update payment information, you should always verify who the person is before actioning their request to make sure it is not fraudulent – don’t trust the person who is contacting you without verifying they are who they say. For example, find a contact you know in the company and call them directly to verify the request, but do not do this by responding to the email or calling a number included in the email.
- Third Party Vendors/Supplier Management
You can implement all these tools to protect your information, but how do you make sure the companies you work with are doing the same? It is important to consider how the vendors and suppliers you work with are using, storing and protecting your private and important information or data.
- Physical Security
Your software isn’t the only way for an attacker to access your system and wreak havoc. They can access your system using ID badges, credit cards, private files, mobile devices and computers. Your personnel should be trained to keep these items secure.
- Remember to Back-Up Your Data
It is essential to back-up your data and information these days, but there are different ways to do this and some ways are better than others. One option is cloud storage, as it can include end-to-end encryption of your data to keep it safe, external back-ups, and a server dedicated to saving data.
- Policies, Practices and Procedures
Policies, practices and procedures encompass a lot of the above points and can be invaluable for protecting your company from a cyber event. Most companies should implement some, if not all, of the following: Cyber Crisis Management Plan (you’ve been hacked – now what?), data breach reporting plan (reporting is almost always required/recommended), multifactor authentication for staff, password guidelines, email guidelines, among others.
However even the best laid plans can come undone and you may find you take every possible step and a cyber incident still occurs. That’s why it is important to mitigate the risk by putting a Cyber Insurance policy in place.
For further resources about cyber security, visit our Cyber Insurance page or contact your EBM Account Manager today.
Sources: Australian Cyber Security Centre & IBM Security