3 Tips and Tricks to Reduce Your Cybersecurity Risk

3 Tips and Tricks to Reduce Your Cybersecurity Risk

The number of firms that fall prey to cyberattacks continuously grows every year. The epidemic has also shown a spike in hacked and compromised data, with remote employees creating a security breach in 20 percent of firms. While falling prey to such assaults is not always directly connected with an organization’s lack of security, there are strategies to enhance organizational and individual practices to assist reinforce security and drastically minimize risk. In this post, we have highlighted three techniques to lessen the danger of cyberattacks.

1. Investing in Cyber Security & IT solutions

A cyber-attack may bring your firm to its knees. If you cannot access your own systems networks, you can’t possibly conduct business. It is thus necessary to invest in the correct sort of technological infrastructure that can safeguard you from assaults and cyber thieves. You can source cybersecurity from managed IT service companies for reliable services.

Investing in your staff, helping them upskill via cyber incident response online courses, and enabling them to expand their general knowledge linked to cybersecurity may also go a long way in enhancing productivity. It is a well-known reality that when workers feel that their expertise is being strengthened and the firm invests in their development, they feel more inspired to perform better at their professions.

In the case of cyber security training, it pays off twice the returns since your staff will not simply be more motivated to perform at work. They’ll also have the essential information to adjust their conduct healthily from a security standpoint. They’ll be less likely to click on dangerous links and download suspicious files and more likely to know what to do in case an unintended error does occur.

2. Monitor the risk environment

Risk specialists should regularly evaluate possible risks and study new patterns as they occur to decide what will be most likely to affect the firm. Quantify exposures and vulnerabilities on a big-picture scale to build a full knowledge of the risk environment.

New cyber risk factors might include a shift in popular hacker techniques, a newly detected weakness in the security system, or an upgraded technology that makes present systems out-of-date.

A transfer is possible via cyber liability insurance. A new trend soon projected to be as common as ordinary liability insurance. This insurance may cover interruption and recovery charges, liability claims, cyber theft and extortion fees, and more. Allianz Group’s Guide to Cyber Risk examines cyber risk policies in depth.

Each unique risk may lend itself to one or more of these tactics; the right response may be created via experience and industry expertise.

3. Prepare staff

It’s crucial to underline that cyber risk is not entirely the responsibility of the risk department or IT. The risk management role should no longer be isolated; all departments should be encouraged to participate.

All personnel should be informed and educated to behave most suitably about cyber dangers. The risk team should aggressively increase awareness of problems and foster a safety culture. The cyber risk protocol should be thoroughly defined, and the human aspect of cyber risk: many breaches occur from an inside source, whether from an accidentally established vulnerability or purposeful malevolent activity.

One typical problem that emerges from workers is social engineering, which employs tactics like phishing to deceive individuals into exposing personal information. Working with workers on cybersecurity decreases the possible incidence of both of these situations.

When clients know that a company website is safe and the firm has a track record of protecting customer data thoroughly, they are more inclined to make purchases/buy services. Modern customers are incredibly alert and careful when it comes to their data protection & security. They recognize the significance of their sensitive data and the implications that might ensue if that data is exploited. Hence, companies that have incorporated good cybersecurity and IT support solutions into their everyday operations often fare better in the long run since customers feel secure when shopping with them.

Cybersecurity risk mitigation is a work that should never actually finish since new threat actors are entering the scene quickly. To keep today’s dynamic environments secure, enterprises will need to adopt proactive cybersecurity monitoring to guarantee that threats are being recognized and remediated as rapidly as feasible.

7 Methods to Improve Your Online Security

7 Methods to Improve Your Online Security

The use of technology has caused an increase in issues to do with cybersecurity. Cyber-attacks target both corporations and individuals with the aim of corrupting information, stealing data or denying the users access to information. It is therefore essential to ensure that you beef up your security to avoid being a victim of data theft. Below are various ways in which companies and individuals can boost online security.

Resist Public Connections

It is easy to fall prey to public internet connections, especially when traveling or sharing public spaces like hotels, malls, and train stations. Most public connections are prone to hackers since they are not protected.

Using such connections to access your social media accounts, payment details, and emails gives malicious people an opportunity to steal your personal information. If you must use public Wi-Fi, ensure that you make use of a VPN. The VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your information, thus keeping your data private.

Safe Password

Passwords protect your data as they keep unauthorized people from accessing devices that store your information. While you may want to use an easy-to-remember account, setting a solid password to resist hacking would be wise.

Ensure that you have complex passwords, including numbers, letters in lowercase, and uppercase and numbers. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. You could utilize a family password manager to save family passwords that give access to medical or financial accounts.

Create a Backup for Your Data

Backup refers to creating a copy of crucial information and storing it in a safe place where you can identify and retrieve data in case the original copy gets lost. At times, you might accidentally lose your information, and it may land in the hands of a fraudster.

To regain authority over such information, you need to have a copy that enables you to retrieve it, back up your data from time to time. Storing your data in the cloud is safer and guarantees you data integrity.

Control your Social Media Accounts and Applications

While social media is a good tool that helps us keep up with the current trends and information, it can cause significant damage if not used wisely. Beware of the content that you share on your accounts. Also, avoid clicking links from unknown sources.

Make use of the privacy settings to keep away malicious entities. Additionally, applications ask for permission to access information on your device. Control the authorization by customizing it for every application.

Learn and Use the Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication adds security by increasing the steps you require to gain access to an account successfully. For each step, you will require to enter the correct information and use verification techniques.

For instance, the system may send you a code to your phone number and ask you to enter the code. It is very easy to forget passwords, and the reset procedures may take a while, especially if the help desk fails to respond promptly.

The 2FA allows the user to safely and efficiently reset a password. An individual can also access the system from any device and location without jeopardizing sensitive data.

Keep Your Software Up to Date

Software is good as they have features that make work easier. From time to time, hackers try to gain access is by using outdated software. Such software is also prone to viruses and malware that may lead to the loss of data.

Updating your software is a measure of digital safety that allows for system updates to fix bugs and patch security issues. This practice eliminates the vulnerabilities that may be present in the system. Ensure that you update your software and all your applications frequently.

Check your Attachments

Malicious people try to access information by sending corrupt documents in emails in the form of attachments. When opening an email attachment, double-check to see that the file is from a legitimate source. In case it seems suspicious, you should disregard and trash it. Should the sender claim that they work in a particular institution, call and verify before opening the attachment.

Conclusion

Information gives power to the individuals who can access it. It is essential to stay alert and be deliberate about protecting your data. Using one or a combination of these techniques will ensure that you keep your information away from unauthorized access.

How Frauds Are Costing Agencies Millions

You know how disheartening a fraudulent payment can be if you have experienced it in your agency. A recent study showed that a typical agency loses close to six percent of its yearly income to fraudsters. Times have changed, so all agencies need to acknowledge the risks of fraud and take necessary action.

Agencies can use fraud deterrence to know the cause of fraud and eliminate it. Fraud deterrence lies in the belief that the fraud occurred in the right condition, not by accident.

Financial loss is the main effect of fraud in any agency. It is hard to track where every penny goes in a business because businesses have become more complex. Investors avoid brands that deal with frauds because they do not trust them.

The tiniest slip downwards can lead to a reduced client number, even though you offer high-quality services. Below is everything you need to know about fraud in a business. If you ever ask yourself what is billing fraud? or What is bot fraud? This guide is for you.

How Frauds Cost Agencies Millions

Frauds cost companies millions yearly, but its effect goes beyond. Fraud fallout ruins an agency’s reputation and breaks clients’ trust in the agency. Fraud is becoming more popular because fraudsters have become more innovative.

Your brand is at risk of many frauds, such as professional fraud and client fraud. The total amount lost to these frauds varies from one agency to another, but it still has the same result – financial loss.

Many duties come with owning and managing a successful agency, but fraud detection does not appear at the top of the list. The agency owners might fail to acknowledge the fraud threat mainly if they have long-term employees. Some known frauds to an agency include:

  • Skimming – this is when employees take money from a client but do not record it.
  • Billing fraud – creating another brand and sending invoices for non-existing items.
  • Check to alter – this is using an agency’s checks to steal outgoing items.
  • Corruption – this is taking part in extortion or bribery in exchange for services.

Most frauds are undetected, and they have negative effects on an agency like:

  • Ruining the agency’s reputation – news of fraud in your agency will reach many people, and this will tarnish the organization’s name. Remember that a tarnished name means no client dealings, meaning you will lose a lot of money in the process.
  • It prevents the agency from attracting sponsors and employees – very few sponsors would want to work with an agency with fraud scandals. You might lose millions in endorsements if you do not prevent a fraudulent attack.

Workers also want a trustworthy work environment, meaning you might fail to attract them.

  • Frauds might also make the agency compromise banking covenants. They can also make the company fail to retain its competitive advantage.

How to Prevent Fraudulent Attacks

Private agencies are the main targets for fraud, according to recent research. These agencies can use the following tips to prevent a fraudulent attack:

  • Make permanent “footprints” in the financial system
  • Question things that look strange to the agency
  • Use two unrelated parties whenever there is a money flow in the agency

How Can You Detect and Prevent Fraud?

To prevent fraud in your agency, you first need to have a strong management team that lives by honesty and integrity. Workers should have easy access to resources, and they should blow the whistle whenever they detect any suspicious activity.

A good management team will also prevent fraud by creating a positive working environment. In addition, they will staff the important departments with the right employees. Even though fraud is not the main priority in an agency’s development, it is impossible to ignore it, or else you will face dire consequences.

How to Keep Your Agency Free From Frauds

First, it would be best to ensure you manage your funds well, starting with the bank accounts. It would help if you also made sure an individual who is not entangled with disbursements does the bank reconciliation process.

It is also advisable to make sure the bank statement is handled by a person who has not taken part in the agency’s functions.

Frauds make agencies lose millions every year. It would be best if these agencies took the necessary steps to fight fraudulent activities.

How to Secure Your Personal Computer Docs & Data

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels 

Computers are amazing things. However, despite the benefits of computers and the internet, using them involves some inherent risks. There are threats like hackers, malware, viruses, cybercriminals, and more that wish to do you harm. You could even have your most personal information stolen. Thankfully, there are strategies you can use to secure the documents and data you have stored on your personal computer. 

Encryption 

One of the best and most fail-proof methods of protecting both computer documents and data is encryption. Encryption can be thought of as a way of scrambling data. It uses an encoding process that transforms data into a form that prevents it from being read as it previously was. If data remains encrypted, it is impossible to tell what that data originally contained. This can be reversed through the process of decryption, but only if you have the encryption key. Without that key, typically a password, unlocking that data again will be impossible. If you want to protect your data and documents, encryption is your best bet. Even if the data is stolen, it cannot be decrypted without the key. There are programs you can use to encrypt specific files or even entire drives. Overall, it’s the highest form of data security that exists. 

Cloud Backup 

Malware and viruses can corrupt and destroy files and data. In fact, you can even lose those files without any malicious actor intervening. If your home is hit by a lightning strike, the power surge could erase all the data stored on your PC’s hard drive. One local copy of an important file or document is never enough. You should expect that data to be lost at any point. One way to prevent data loss completely is to create offsite backups through a cloud host. Unlike traditional hosting, cloud computing involves the use of a shared server infrastructure that utilizes data redundancy and makes it virtually impossible to lose data forever on accident. Even if you lose your own files on your PC, your backups in the cloud will remain and can be quickly restored back to your computer. This is also the security choice of corporate America as 90 percent of companies implement online backup. 

Legal Document Management System 

Certain computer files are more important than others. Of all your files, the most important probably are legal documents concerning your family, finances, and obligations to the government. This can include things like a birth certificate, living will, marriage license, deed to a house, and more. In the past, all of these would only exist as paper documents and be stored somewhere in a file cabinet or safe deposit box. Today, it makes sense to keep digital copies of such important documents as well due to how intertwined modern life has become with the digital world. Keeping a digital version may also be a good idea in case the paper versions are somehow lost or destroyed since such documents are very hard to replace. Something you should use to help store, protect and manage these documents is a legal document management system. The best legal document management system should be cloud-powered and have an interface that will allow you to categorize and tag your documents so they can be easily found when needed even by a loved one if something were to happen to you. 

Malware and Virus Scanner 

Another piece of software you should take advantage of is a malware and virus scanner. If you really want to protect your data, you should be running one at all times on your computer. While running in the background, the software can scan incoming files from the internet for threats. Quite often, people only download things like malware or viruses on accident. They may be hidden within email attachments or file downloads where you cannot see them. If you can scan those files before they are allowed onto your hard drive, you can protect your computer from those threats. Make sure you have instant updating of the software switched on as well. New digital threats are introduced every day, and the software needs to be updated to know exactly what to look for. 

Overall, you can’t be lax when it comes to protecting your important documents and data on your personal computer or any other device for that matter. Bad things can happen. Whether you accidentally download malware, get targeted by identity thieves, or simply experience a power surge after a thunderstorm, those files can be put at risk. Protect them through tools like encryption, cloud backup, a legal document management system, and a malware and virus scanner. 

Web Security: How to Keep Your Kids Safe

The internet can be very resourceful for children, whether they are doing their homework using Wikipedia, playing online games, listening to online music, and more. However, the internet also has some sites that you wouldn’t want your children to visit. Parents are always worried about how to let their kids use the internet but safely. Since it may be a little difficult to keep tabs on what your children are watching or meeting on the internet, here are a few ways you could keep them safe.

Set Rules

Most kids nowadays have internet access. They know almost everything there is to know about applications, music sites, social sites, etc. Technology is their other home. Technology is useful when you want your kids to learn, as they can use a trackpad or touchscreen for navigating some life skills. No matter how old they are, it is essential to know how to protect your child from online predators as they browse social networks such as Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok.

You can set rules by not allowing your children to use devices such as laptops and phones in their rooms. Instead, it would help if you asked them to use the device in communal areas such as the living room, as they will be discouraged from engaging in inappropriate activities while you are only a glance away. As you set the rules, be sure to know about the dangers of misusing the internet and why you are against them using the devices in their rooms. Also, encourage them to talk to you if they encounter uncomfortable things on the web that upsets them. This way, you will know the inappropriate sites to delete and add them to your parental control filter list.

Using a Virtual Private Network

A Virtual Private Network prevents your location from being tracked and protects your family on the networks. The VPN will connect your devices to a secure server that will use an encrypted connection to keep your data safe while browsing. Virtual Private Networks masks the users’ IP addresses so any person online cannot track the location of your children. The secure connection will also protect your children on risky public networks; therefore, information can never be intercepted. Installing a VPN on your children’s smartphones and computers is essential to keep them protected.

Control the Router

Suppose you would like to control the type of websites and internet services your children can access at home, change your router settings. For example, you can block specific sites, prevent the adult content sites and sometimes schedule the time your young ones spend on the internet to avoid too much screen time.

Know your Kids’ Passwords

If your kids are young, create an account using your name rather than exposing theirs. This way, you will have the password. However, it would be best if you respected the accounts’ age limitations. If you visit a site that requires you to be over 18 years, then you should probably wait if your kid hasn’t reached that age. Whatever you choose, let your children know that you have their passwords and warn them you will see what they post or watch from time to time to ensure everything is okay. It is not advisable to spy on your children’s accounts without letting them know because their trust in you could weaken.

Always check the Browsing History

You must check your kid’s web browser history to see which sites they have been visiting. You can also check the recycle bin as they may have deleted some items. You never know what they are doing and deleting.

Know your Children’s Friends

Many dangerous people online don’t say who they are, and therefore if you are naïve, you could fall into their traps. Such people befriend children and take advantage of them, pretending that they can be trusted. Your children should be cyber wise and learn not to talk or meet strangers from an early age. You can become your child’s friend to see who they are friends with and monitor what they post and what the friends post. Although your kids may not like the idea, let them know you are doing this to protect them.

Final Thought

The internet has made parenting a little more complicated. Since we cannot ignore the fact that your children will use the internet at some point, you must keep them safe always by monitoring their activity online. Although it may be completely impossible to keep them safe totally, the tips we have discussed above will help you to some extent.

Why Cyber Security Is Integral for eCommerce Success

Photo by Negative Space from Pexels covered by the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

Why Cyber Security Is Integral for eCommerce Success

There’s a lot of money to be made in e-commerce. This is demonstrated by the fact that online shopping continues to expand even while other sectors of the economy do not. However, operating an e-commerce business is extremely different from running a brick-and-mortar store. Unlike brick and mortar operations, many of the biggest threats to your business may be completely invisible to you and originate from thousands of miles away. If you want to succeed in e-commerce, cybersecurity is absolutely integral to your business’s long-term survival.

Your Customers Could Be Targeted

While upholding high standards for cybersecurity is important for any business, it is even more important for companies that sell goods and services over the internet. These businesses are especially at risk of having sensitive data connected to customer accounts and transactions accessed and leaked after a security breach. When this happens, the results can be disastrous. Your customers could be defrauded of thousands or even millions of dollars after their identities are stolen using this information. After that occurs, you may end up on the receiving end of a class-action lawsuit. If you did not uphold high cybersecurity standards in your company, you will likely be found negligent in court and be forced to pay out large sums of money for the damage that was done by those hackers and cybercriminals. Your business may not be able to survive the fallout. The average cost of a business-targeted hack is $200,000.

You Need to Have a Cyber Security Framework in Place

Unfortunately, most business owners lack the expertise to institute working cybersecurity protocols for their own businesses. That is understandable. The technology and software in question is extremely complex and requires a high level of technical expertise and knowledge to understand and operate. This is why you should consider implementing the NIST cybersecurity framework when developing your cybersecurity programs instead of going about it on your own. NIST stands for National Institute of Standards and Technology. The NIST is part of the US Department of Commerce and helps to create standards, regulations, measurements, and more for the benefit of technological advancement in the United States in both regards to the government as well as American businesses.

In regards to your own business, using the NIST cybersecurity framework can be extremely advantageous due to the functions it provides for your company. NIST CSF functions should include the ability to better identify potential gaps in your own network, systems, and assets that could lead to a security breach. The system can allow you to better protect the confidentiality of sensitive data. It can allow you to detect threats in real time and allow you immediately respond to cybersecurity events before they cause significant damage. It can allow you to immediately restore any services or capabilities after such an event as well. You will be able to much better weather any kind of security event, intrusion, or attack.

You Could Lose Your Credibility as a Business

Business relationships of any kind involve a great deal of trust to maintain. The relationships customers build with the businesses they purchase products or services from indeed involve a good amount of trust. Those customers trust that they will receive what they pay for without any unexpected negative consequences. After a significant hack, this trust can quickly evaporate. Consumers may assume it is too risky to even visit your online store to make a purchase. The same can be said of other companies you do business with. Vendors, suppliers, and other partners expect that you will run a professional operation in which the sensitive data they share with you will not be leaked to bad actors. If that trust is broken, it could lead to the loss of business relationships you need to compete in your market.

Overall, you don’t really have a choice when it comes to whether or not you should place a strong emphasis on cybersecurity for your e-commerce business. If you don’t, you will certainly be targeted by hackers and cybercriminals. The results of that negligence could be disastrous for your company. If you want to survive in the long term, implementing strong cybersecurity protocols is an absolute necessity. Consider integrating the NIST cybersecurity framework and other measures to ensure that your company is protected.

Why Governments Should Invest in Cybersecurity

Photo by Field Engineer from Pexels

Cybersecurity is on the minds of every decision-maker in major organizations on the planet. Digital transformation, identity transformation, zero-trust security, and identity and access management are terms you hear talked about by IT and C suite level professionals all the time.

It is not just the private sector that is concerned about cybersecurity. The government also is investing in cybersecurity. There are several reasons why this investment is a must.

Cybersecurity Threats Are Increasing

Cybersecurity threats are increasing at a rate that has never been seen before. One reason for these increases is the changes in work environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More government employees are working from home than ever before. Bad actors are taking advantage of the fact that people are working from home to breach their systems, thereby gaining access to government systems.

Cyber attacks are not being carried out by just a random person in their basement. There are government organizations that are actively backing cyber attacks against other governments. These cyber-attacks have led to lost information, disruption of utilities, and potential national security breaches.

Cybercrime not only means big money for cybercriminals, but it is also giving them away to strike at major government organizations they would not be able to attack otherwise. The financial and reputational consequences of data breaches on governments are difficult to calculate. It is expected that the number of cyberattacks that target the government will rise drastically over the next few years.

This will lead to loss of productivity, theft of intellectual property, fraud, government disruption, and hacked data. This is why governments must invest in cybersecurity.

Cyber Attacks Are Increasing in Severity

It is not just the number of cyber attacks that are growing in intensity. It is also the degree of attacks. They are becoming progressively more destructive and impacting greater attack vectors.

It is not just government institutions that are at risk. Politicians are at risk. In the 2016 election, one of the biggest talking points was that one of the candidate’s emails was hacked and became front-page news during her presidential campaign. This is just one example of politicians who have access to sensitive information becoming the victims of cybercriminals.

Webmethods is one of several platforms designed to help government agencies secure important data while simultaneously allowing those with the right provisions to access data when and where they need it. It allows governments to leverage information to improve service levels. It allows increased transparency between agencies and improves digital and online services.

The threat posed by cyber attacks on the government has not been lost on those tasked with keeping the country safe. In 2018, the chief of homeland security said that cybersecurity was the biggest threat the country faced. In that same year, the government released a defense policy bill that focused on cybersecurity. It called for stronger security measures to protect against cyber threats.

In 2020, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. According to this act, the US Department of Homeland Security will appoint cybersecurity coordinators for each state. The thought behind this is that state governments need to have the same protection and cybersecurity coordination as seen in federal governments. Unfortunately, state governments lack the know-how and the financial resources to secure their cyber landscape adequately.

Is Cybersecurity Important for Governments?

The answer is unquestionable: yes. The private sector is investing billions of dollars every year in cybersecurity because they know that it impacts customer trust. Governments are doing the same thing because they want to increase the trust and confidence of their constituents.

Recently, ransomware brought the flow of gas the certain parts of the United States to a halt. The result was that gas prices skyrocketed to a level that has never been seen before. There was panic, fear, and frustration. The news was full of images of people hoarding gasoline. There were gas stations with signs on the pumps declaring that they were out of gas. It was an unprecedented and harrowing situation.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity is a must for governments. If governments do not immediately take steps to improve security awareness and shore up cybersecurity vulnerabilities, the results for the governments and their constituents could be catastrophic.