Cyber Security Pitfalls
The world is changing and for better or worse, our world is becoming increasingly digital. It means that our personal data, finances, and company data are being increasingly available to both ourselves, and hackers. Our world is on an upward trend of digitizing itself, and we either keep ahead of the curve, or find ourselves under it. We constantly see other companies and people in a professional capacity that have fallen victim to some simple mistakes, and hey, we all do.
Here’s the top 3 ways we see companies and people get compromised.
Trusting the wrong call or email
It’s so common to want to take everything at face value, but we always have to be on our toes. It’s not as simple as asking someone if they are a scammer or not, we actually need to make our own instinctive judgment in some cases. When you get an unsolicited and unexpected email or phone call that is potentially alarming, that is when you need to be the most thoughtful. “$1200 has been billed to your credit card”, or “Your account has been compromised” are both fake email topics that could be alarming to most people. Again though, this is when we need to step back and think things through.
The first step is to not click anything in suspicious emails, or follow instructions from unknown people. Next, try to see if their story is true by checking your bank, or asking if you can call back on the official company number. Try to get some form of authenticity that is not directly from the potential scammer.
You had a great weekend and get back to work Monday and your computers are unusable and asking for 5 Bitcoins to get your data back. Or maybe you took your laptop to the beach and left it in the sand near your cold drink. Data loss happens for a million reasons, and it can happen to everyone regardless of caution level. Backups are a simple way to plan ahead for these scenarios and recover easily. We usually recommend cloud backups because they are more automatic and our clients don’t need to worry about it as much.
Yeah this one is a simple one. If you are using passwords that you use on other sites, you are waiting in line to be compromised. We used to tell people to use different passwords on every site, but it’s just too complicated. Now we just recommend a password manager like Google or Lastpass. They automate the process of creating passwords, and they also check to make sure you aren’t using a password that has been involved in a data breach. The key is just letting the computer do the work now, or more specifically a password manager.
Multi-factor or 2-factor authentication is corollary to easily hacked passwords, readily seen in yesterday’s news. It is almost impossible for someone to keep every password secure their whole lives. So we add what’s called 2-factor authentication (2FA), which are those text message codes you get during logins. This security is slowly being added to passwords for extra security.
Trust, Backups, Passwords
If you use your gut instinct about who you trust, have backups, and make sure your passwords are secure, you are no longer the low-hanging fruit. You’ll at least be harder to hack than those around you, which reduces your chances of loss significantly. With backups you are also able to recover from catastrophe, which nobody can fully prevent.