What is the most valuable item in your small business? Is it a piece of machinery or perhaps the data on your computers. How do you protect that valuable item? With thick steel bars or a thin sheet of glass? This guide will discuss Internet Security protecting you from a Cyber Threat.
A Cyber Threat is the possibility of a malicious attempt to steal information, damage or disrupt a computer network or system. This threat will come via the internet , but you can protect yourself via security software and good practise.
WHY should you care about internet security?
All the benefits of being able to connect with the world via the internet also mean that all the criminals of the world can target you.
Not only do you want to protect your reputation and secure your private information you also must protect any customer data you have and can be fined for a breach.
WHAT are the types of cyber threats?
Refers to viruses, spyware, trojans, and worms. Malware can allow someone to take control or spy on an individual’s computer. Key information stolen includes bank details, credit card numbers, and passwords.
Phishing (pronounced fishing)
This refers to receiving an email from someone pretending to be familiar with you. They quite often pretend to be a well know Australian brand and encourage you to click on a link. You will then be asked to provide information like passwords, birth dates or to pay a fake bill. For example, you receive an email from your bank but it is actually a phisher. They ask you to confirm your banking details including password. The phisher then uses these details to log into your real account and steal money.
Phishing may occur via email, SMS, instant messaging or social media
This is where your computer is essentially hijacked and you are asked to pay a ransom. Do Not Pay a ransom as they may never give you access even if you pay! It works by you clicking on a link or opening an attachment that installs software which denies you access to your computer or files. A message is displayed indicating if you pay money they will give you access back.
How do you protect yourself against internet security threats?
To protect your small business from cyber threats you should consider implementing the following:
Antivirus software – Also known as anti-malware software, this is computer software used to detect, prevent, and remove malware. Bought as a per year subscription you should ensure all PCs are running it and subscriptions are up to date. See Gadget Guy for reviews of the latest antivirus software solutions.
Automatically update your operating system – The likes of Microsoft and Apple are continually providing software updates to counter new threats. Most modern operating systems are set to automatically update by default but ensure this has not been deactivated.
Automatically update your software applications – Just like your operating system, applications like Microsoft Office need regular security updates. Since the release of Microsoft Office 10, this is automatic by default (from office click file then account to check).
Regularly back up your business’ data – This is a digital copy of your data from your PCs and shared storage devices preferably kept externally to your place of business. Back up is a critical strategy to restore your business and we cover this in a separate essential guide on Backup.
Multi-Factor Authentication – This is a security measure where two or more proof of identity must be provided to gain access. It would include some combination of password, pin, secret question, physical key (card or token), SMS, and a fingerprint.
Be cautious – If you are asked for money, your password, account details, or login details don’t provide them.
Implement a password strategy within your business which requires passwords to be strong. The key aspects of a strong password are length (the longer the better); a mix of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols, no ties to your personal information, and no dictionary words.
Make sure you have a strong password set up on your wi-fi
Decide who you will give access to what data
Teach your staff about the importance and predetermine a plan if you are affected.
Consider taking out technology and cyber crime insurance (see our essential guide on insurance)
SUMMARY – Secure your business against a cyber threat
Do not believe it will not happen to you. TAKE PRECAUTIONS AGAINST A CYBER THREAT TO YOUR COMPUTERS. Implement simple internet security steps to protect yourself like having virus software, keeping software up to date, ensuring you have secure passwords, and backing up your data will ensure your reputation and continuity of business.