The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused businesses to become increasingly reliant on the internet to conduct operations. Unfortunately, with the growing dependence on computers there has also been an increase in cybercriminal activity. This, mixed with the unfortunate fact that criminals try to take advantage of times of widespread fear and worry, makes it more important than ever to have proper cyber security measures in place for your business. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has warned individuals to stay vigilant of scams regarding COVID-19. There are many different ways in which cybercriminals lure in victims, so being able to identify suspicious activity is critical.
Implementing Cyber Safety To Protect Your Company
Cyber Attacks Compromise Your Business
Cyber attacks are ways in which criminals attempt to, or successfully, breach a computer’s security system. These threats come in different forms, including phishing, viruses, Trojans, keylogging, spyware, and spam, all of which can be detrimental to the stake of your business. Once hackers have gained access to your company’s computer system, they can accomplish several malicious goals such as stealing information or financial assets, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption or shutdown. Keep in mind that cyber attacks can occur directly from the deliberate actions of hackers or be unintentionally facilitated by employees. That’s why establishing cybersecurity within your organization is extremely important.
Red Flags To Look Out For
Cybercriminals have been known to pose as anything from charities to legitimate organizations in order to lure victims into sending money or revealing personal information. This can pose a real threat for a business as scams often target employees at work. Not only could a subordinate accidentally give away confidential company information, but they could also expose company property to hackers. Luckily, the CISA has offered specific guidelines to avoid being scammed online:
- Avoid clicking any links from unsolicited emails, and be wary of email attachments.
- Always use trusted sources for information regarding COVID-19, such as CDC.gov.
- Never give out personal or financial information via email, regardless if the sender is legitimate or not.
- Verify a charity’s authenticity before donating any money.
What Can Employers Do?
Any good employer is concerned about the well-being of their employees and business. In order to protect them, employers should consider notifying employees about the possibility of cyber scams during these times and discuss what they are with them. Employers should also communicate the best practices so employees understand how to respond to these scams in the workplace. This should also work as a reminder for employers to back up data and bolster network protections in case an employee accidentally clicks the wrong link and compromises the entire system.
Anyone Can Fall Victim
When it comes to cybercriminals, there is no individual that they wouldn’t try to scam. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made it clear that cybercriminals will target vulnerable computer systems regardless of whether the systems belong to a globally acclaimed company, a small business, or a home user. However, small businesses are more likely to be targeted as large organizations have tighter cybersecurity. Cyber attacks are something that must be addressed by small businesses since nearly 60% of small businesses victimized by a cyber attack close permanently within six months of the attack. Many of these businesses could have avoided some of these cyberattacks with just the proper precautionary measures.
Security Tips For Your Company
If you haven’t done so already, consider implementing the following measures to protect your business:
- Install, use, and regularly update anti-virus and anti-spyware software on all company computers.
- Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
- Regularly make backup copies of important business data.
- Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority for software installation.
By implementing these tactics within your business, you are limiting the chances of a security breach and ensuring that information is backed up and secured in the unfortunate case of a successful cyber attack.
Security Tips For Employees
Cybersecurity should be a company-wide effort. Not only can employers establish methods to keep the business secured, but employees are also able to take precautionary measures for additional security. Employees should:
- Use strong passwords, change them periodically, and never share them with anyone. Also, it is recommended for employees to never repeat passwords across accounts.
- Protect private information by not disclosing it unless necessary and always verify the source if asked to input sensitive data for a website or email.
- Scan all external devices, such as USB flash drives, for viruses and malicious software (malware) before using the device.
Securing Your Company’s Mobile Devices
In today’s day and age, cell phones are capable of holding as much valuable information as laptops and computers. A compromise of your company’s mobile devices puts your business at risk of giving away information such as emails, stored passwords, or proprietary company data. That’s why the need for proper mobile device security is just as important as the need for a well-protected computer network. One major way cyber criminals take advantage of mobile users is through fake app stores. This type of “malvertising” continues to grow quickly on mobile platforms and should be looked out for at all times. Most importantly, stay informed about cybersecurity and continue to discuss internet safety with employees.
Protecting Your Business In The Tampa Bay Region
Thousands of small businesses are devastated by cyber attacks every year. With a 60% rate of going under after a cyber attack, we want to ensure that your business has not only taken the proper precautions to avoid these scams, but has also put a plan in place in case of a successful breach. As an employee benefits and HR consulting firm, Alltrust wants to ensure the health of your business and that includes its protection against cyber attacks. If you have any questions, contact us today for more cybersecurity guidance.