The world is reeling and recovering from Friday’s massive Ransomware attack that left hundreds of thousands of computers lock-screened, demanding a $300 payment to restore access.
Cyber attacks can last hours, and can quickly end up costing thousands of dollars to affected businesses or individuals. It doesn’t stop there; cyber crime can also cost businesses customers.
Ransomware, DDoS, and other cyber attacks on personal and corporate data are not new. These attacks are evolving and mutating in order to capitalize on weak spots in the systems we use to store and access our data. These are all things that your IT directors know, and are hopefully already implementing strategies to protect your system from hacks like those seen last Friday.
Rather than relying solely on IT, there are a few ways for you and your team to do your part in keeping cyber criminals at bay. Doing these things can protect not only your own system, but keep a potential threat from spreading within and outside of your company.
Update, update, update!
I am so very guilty of not updating my iPhone. It even offers to do it for me, while I’m sleeping, and I continually hit the “Remind me Later” button.
iPhone updates are one thing, but when it comes to system and software updates on your work computer, it’s time to stop procrastinating. Updates are made available for a reason, and that reason is often to supply a patch to a weakness within the system that could open it up for attack, or to fix a bug that could potentially destroy important data.
So the next time you get that notification, consider what is at stake, and take the few minutes to run the update and/or restart your computer. Your boss will understand.
Create better passwords.
Password123 or your name followed by your birth date is not cutting it. There are 95 unique characters on your keyboard, which makes for near infinite combinations. Some websites have certain rules about what you can and cannot use to make a password. But even within those standards you still have the ability to make a password that is difficult to crack.
Additionally, do not use the same password for every login. It can be difficult to remember the dozens of passwords required of us these days, so if you find yourself struggling to maintain all of them, use a password management program. There are many free options, and they’re available in different interfaces, security levels, and sizes.
Switch it up and keep your data (and the data of everyone else you’re connected with) safe from potential cyber attacks.
Backup everything you don’t want to lose.
Saving everything in two places is becoming a standard practice among many teams. Most of my work is not only saved on my hard drive but also on the cloud in some form. This ensures that if my system is compromised, I can still access my data online.
This crosses over into your personal data as well. Backup everything that is important to you so you don’t end up cashing out a chunk of your savings to some 18-year old cyber criminal across the ocean who is ransoming your files for however much in Bitcoin.
Train yourself and your staff
Cyber criminals are learning new ways every day to take advantage of weaknesses in software and operating systems. This means that you cannot solely rely on your IT team to take care of potential threats to your digital assets.
Clicking on links in phishing emails, opening attachments from unknown senders, using weak passwords—these are just the most obvious examples of how individual team members’ actions can create vulnerabilities. Educating people and then regularly emphasizing their individual responsibility can go a long way towards reducing the organization’s risk.
Invest in training opportunities that will train all employees on what they can do, and what their role is when it comes to minimizing and combating cybersecurity threats. Effective cybersecurity requires all parts of an organization, all individuals and all groups, to work together as a team.
Last year, BizLibrary partnered with KnowCyber, a producer of high quality and engaging video lessons to keep your company aware of cybersecurity threats, and instructs them on combating potential attacks.
Watch a 1-minute preview of “Protecting Against Malware” from The BizLibrary Collection here: