In today’s climate, cyber attacks are a real risk for any business and their potential impact is only widening. With an increasing number of businesses relying heavily on technology for record-keeping, financial transactions, and other vital parts of the work day, it’s possible for a cyber attack to decimate a business. As a result, it’s more critical than ever to understand the potential cyber security threats to your business and how to manage them.
The Internet of Things
Quick: how many machines, devices, and other physical items throughout your workplace are internet-enabled, connected to your network via bluetooth or real network connectivity? Smart security systems, devices that you use to complete business every day, and even your coffee maker and refrigerator are all internet-enabled–and that makes them potential security threats. The internet of things has the potential to revolutionize the way people expect to handle the tasks that are part of their everyday lives, but it also has the potential to open a number of dangerous cyber threats into your business. This is one place to keep a close eye in the next couple of years, as hackers learn how to more effectively use the internet of things to their advantage.
You want to believe that your data is as secure as possible. After all, you’ve taken all the necessary steps to make it happen. Unfortunately, the more secure your business is, the greater the likelihood that a hacker will choose to slip inside via a secondhand breach. The most likely culprit? A username and password combination that are also used on another, entirely unrelated site. For this reason, it’s critical that if you experience a breach with any company that you use, passwords across the company be changed immediately to prevent hackers from slipping into your company the same way.
The ransomware threat has hovered in the background for many years. In 2015 and 2016, however, it came to light with a vengeance, with as many as 40% of American companies experiencing at least one ransomware attack. Hackers have discovered that ransomware is a surefire way to make money off of their efforts, and they’re taking advantage of that knowledge while targeting companies that they suspect to be vulnerable. Ransomware shuts down your system, encrypting vital data and often even targeting your operating system. The only way to stop it is to isolate the affected computer or device from the network–and even that might not be enough. Solid backups that are stored off-site, not within your company network, are your best defense against ransomware.
Counterfeit Business Emails
Counterfeit emails are another prominent tool in most hackers’ arsenal. By creating their own email accounts that appear to be legitimate sources or hacking into a business email to appear legitimate, hackers are able to convince members of your company to send wire transfers in their preferred amounts. This particular scam usually involves some phishing for compromising information about the company before the scam is enacted, since it’s easier for social engineers to go forward when they have relevant information in their hands. Protecting against this scam includes training every employee in how to react to requests for money, how to spot phishing scams, and confirming financial transactions with legitimate sources within partner companies before sending them.
Voice Technology Breaches
Voice-activated devices are becoming increasingly popular both in the home and in the office. It’s incredibly convenient to be able to simply speak a command, especially if your hands are full or you’re engaged in another task at the time. There’s just one problem: those voice recognition devices are also “listening” all the time. They’re a great source of data collection, especially if you hold meetings in the same place where they’re kept or you often talk to yourself while you’re working. Voice technology is also easier to breach than other types of technology, including both fingerprint recognition and entering a password.
You don’t want to believe that your employees can easily be social engineered, but unfortunately, it’s all too easy for many people. If your employees–and that means every employee throughout the company–isn’t thinking about security , it’s all too possible for a social engineer to slip through the gaps. This can include a variety of tactics, from emails or phone calls to actually showing up in person. If you want to protect your employees–and therefore your business–from the potential threat of an active social engineer, there are several questions you need to ask.
- What information should every employee keep private?
- How could potential threats break into the building? If you were trying to sneak into the building, how would you it carry out?
- How well are your computers secured? Do your employees know to lock their stations before they walk away?
- What would your employees do if, for example, they found a flash drive sitting on the ground?
- How would your employees respond to a phone ask for information?
Addressing potential social engineering scams on a regular basis is the best way to protect your business. When employees receive regular training, they’re more likely to have it at the forefront of their minds when a potential threat does come their way.
Preparing your business for the current potential for cyber threats takes an effort. If you want the security that can only come from knowing that your business is protected, contact us today to learn how we can increase your security and offer your business the protection it needs.
Michael Durante spent his teenage years into his early 20s climbing the ladder in a branch of a successful banking firm, starting as a teller and ending as a Sr. Branch Manager within 6 years. In 2003, he left the banking world to join his father and create TIE National, a telecom company 60 years in the making. Together, they grew the company from a two-man operation solely working on telephones to a multi-million dollar international business with employees in over a dozen states, covering everything from phone systems to cloud products and computer systems. You can find Michael on LinkedIn.