Cyber Security and Its Importance in Your Business
The cyber security of your business should be of the utmost importance – and if it isn’t then you are playing with fire. With the planet saturated with internet connected devices, it is essential that you and your team have some knowledge of cyber security, the ways that cyber criminals target and attempt to breach your business, and the tools and methods you can use to better protect your vital data. It is fair to say that, in today’s digitally dominated world, cyber security now takes priority over the physical security of your business, because the consequences are far bleaker if your cyber environment is breached.
As we said, our workplaces – like every part of our lives today – revolve around the effective use of internet connected devices. The criminal community have grown wise to the extensive opportunities offered by these devices, so not protecting them properly simply makes the task of accessing them that bit easier for criminals.
Criminals also like the anonymity offered through cyber attacks. Instead of kicking a door down or smashing a window, they can – if the cyber attack is sophisticated enough – sneak in undetected and be gone before you even know they were there.
For smaller to medium sized businesses, it is predominantly through indirect means that they get attacked, either as collateral damage as consequence of an attack on a larger business or by becoming one of the many victims of a publicly launched attack that originates from the target’s mailbox.
Regardless of the number of internet connected devices you have, the number one reason that businesses – and individuals – become victims of cyber attacks is through a severe lack of knowledge. Our eagerness – and, in most cases, impatience – forces our hand – we grab the device, take it out of the box and get going with all the amazing new features it has, not realising how potentially dangerous it can be if the wrong person gains access.
Let’s explain this in a way that applies across the board regardless of business size and sophistication. At the end of the workday someone will go around and check that the windows and doors are securely locked – these checks are automatic; in fact they are ingrained into us so much that some of us get ten minutes away from the office and then have to drive back just to be sure the building is secure. This is the level of paranoia you also need to have regarding your cyber security. Obviously, we aren’t saying take stock of your cyber security measures every single day like you would the windows but the premise is the same, because leaving your cyber landscape undefended is like finishing your workday and leaving the doors and windows wide open when you leave.
Every business is at risk! Cyber criminals don’t discriminate or pick a sector to attack for any particular reason – this makes it even more essential that your cyber security measures are up to scratch.
Understandably, cyber security can cause apprehension, as most have no clue as to what would be best for their business, what the options are, or how much it will all cost.
There are recommended ways of ensuring your systems are defended, one of which is by working toward the Cyber Essentials Accreditation – it will help you remain secure and allows you to project a cyber secure image to your clients – in the modern age of cyber threats this can be a crucial factor for some consumers. But, for some, this can seem like overkill; for these individuals, learning the different methods of attack cyber criminals are using is essential, because how can you defend your system from something you know nothing about?
The Methods of Cyber Attack
Malware is a file that has been designed with the specific intention of attacking and undermining the functions of an application or even the entire computer system. It comes in many variants but, most commonly, Malware is used to attack your network via email attachments.
Ransomware is a very common form of Malware attack; it works by locking and encrypting your access to your own data. The cyber criminals demand a ransom under the promise that they will safely return your access. They aren’t silly, because they then attempt to force your hand by introducing a sense of urgency to your actions; they want you to pay the ransom before you have had a chance to think about it – they set time limits on payments under the threat of deletion of your files if the payment isn’t made promptly and within the demanded time limit.
Understandably, many just pay the criminals. They have the attitude of ‘Oh well, I’m down x amount, but that isn’t anywhere near the value of all that data’, and they would be right in this respect as, both literally and in a reputational sense, your data is invaluable, usually far more valuable than the amount the criminal is demanding. But remember, criminals can’t be trusted – do you really think you are going to be regranted access and left alone after paying? Instead of securing your files you are simply letting the criminals know that you have the funds to pay them, and (just with a gentle push) are willing to do exactly that.
A Phishing attack is when a cyber criminal assumes a false identity in fake/fraudulent emails in order to gain access to private information.
Phishing Emails carry malicious links; these links are key to the cyber criminal’s attack being a success. The cyber criminal will pose as a trusted source of the recipient (usually a bank or government entity). Again, they bring a sense of urgency and time sensitivity in the contents of their message; they – like with Ransomware attacks – are trying to force the recipient to decide quickly and on a whim. When the rouse is believed it would then involve the recipient clicking the link and facilitating the attack.
Now you have a beginner level familiarity with the methods cyber criminals are using to attack your systems, in the following article we will look at some of the cyber security fundamentals that every business in the world should have in their arsenal.
Your Cyber Security Partner
Uptech is the leading IT support company in Kings Lynn and West Norfolk. We are passionate about the support we offer businesses like yours and also provide Enterprise-level tools, Cyber Security Solutions, and IT hardware to businesses in need of a helping hand. Established in 1994, Uptech offers High-end IT Services to Businesses with 5-200 staff, with multiple locations (including WFH), which enables them all to remain Connected. We have helped our clients to progress and improve their IT, and so become more profitable and productive. Contact us now to find out how we can help you.