Defending Against Online Cyber Attacks

online cyber attacks

We’ve come a long way since the days of dial-up when everyone had to get off of the phone to use the internet, dialing-in sounded much like a fax machine running, and you were probably greeted by the words, “You’ve got mail.”

Flash-forward to nearly two decades into the twenty-first century and landlines are virtually extinct, kids don’t even know what a fax machine is, and the voice of AOL’s bygone mail service is now an Uber driver.

Cyber security must also keep up with the times.

Understand the Threats

To stay current with cyber security, one must also understand the threats and the threat actors.  Subscribing to a blog like this is a great start!

Professionals in the field learn from the mistakes of others, can crowdsource like nobody’s business and subscribe to hundreds of data feeds, all with industry-relevant insight.

For everyone else, understanding the threats means knowing that there is no “guaranteed safe space” on any device that can access the internet: your computer, your cell phone, even the security system on your house or business.

Threats arrive through remote-access, in a web-based form, through email, or on social media: everywhere the internet goes, a threat can potentially as well.

So think before you click:

  • Check the entire website before clicking when you’re online.
  • Don’t click on unexpected attachments.
  • Make sure you enable showing file extensions.
  • Don’t login to anything you were not expecting to login to.

Consider a VPN (virtual private network) to browse privately.  Opening a “private window” may protect you from some cookies, but it isn’t really private.  A trustworthy VPN is the way to go for more private browsing.

Build Your Security

Yes, you’ve got a firewall.  For sure, you use antivirus software.  Your email has spam filters.  Maybe you even have a couple of juicy browser ad-ons which automatically block pop-ups.

But that’s not enough.

The single most important thing you can do for cyber security is to keep software up-to-date.

When the WannaCry ransomware exploded across the globe, you may have noticed that it used outdated NSA-grade security weaknesses—if your Windows operating system was up-to-date, those vulnerabilities were already patched!

So understand the importance of software updates, and keep a backup on the cloud, and you may just avoid those tears.

Train Your Team

Though much of the workforce has become accustomed to the digital age, every office has a few people who don’t know what “the cloud” is and carry a flip phone.  We feel your pain, as you answer that call to get a printer working that wasn’t turned on, or open an email only to find an urban legend from twenty years ago.  Some people don’t even know what “social media” is, while they lament about young people looking at their phones too much.

If you do nothing else, you must still train your team on three points:

  1. To have complicated passwords, with 2-step verification (at least at work).
  2. To think before they click, and understand the basics of phishing scams and other common cyber attacks.
  3. To allow updates on their computers, whenever prompted.

Keep in mind that the generation that remembers grocery stores before barcoding, has a number of things to teach you as well.   But teach them to do those three things as a start.

Consult a Professional

Defending against online cyber attacks has become both a science and an art: the technical procedures you can do on your own are readily available, the finesse takes a trained eye.

To see uniquely collected threat results, contact us.  We’ll get you ready for the next decade.

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