In an age where cyber criminals are a dime a dozen, and the threat landscape more complex than ever, it pays to prepare and be always on guard. This means being up to date with the strategies and tricks used by cyber adversaries, and investing in monitoring solutions as well as preventive tools to try to avoid falling victim to these attacks.
“Over the past few years, we have seen cyber criminals continually tweak their methods, switching from PCs to smartphones to steal confidential information or financial credentials to get their hands on their victims’ money,” says Simon Campbell-Young, MD of Credence Security.
He says the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has seen the attack surface widen, and alongside it, cyber criminals devising ways to attack all manner of devices, from smart lighting and security, to cars and medical health devices.
“The first way to prevent a cyber attack is to be aware, and ensure that all employees are also trained in what not to do. For example, be vigilant, and never click on links or attachments in emails unless you are 100% certain of their legitimacy. Also consider a virtual private network, as this will prevent attacks too.”
Campbell-Young also advises users to be cautious when surfing the Web. “There are many malicious sites that appear to be the genuine article. Always scrutinise the URL for any anomalies that might point to it being an imitation of the genuine article.”
Next he says to protect your smartphone. “Smartphones have become the de facto tool for accessing both personal and business information, as well as conducting finances and other operations. Ensure you have a good mobile security solution installed, and always run your updates as soon as they are available. Also be careful when downloading apps. Don’t download from any marketplaces that aren’t sanctioned, and check app permissions to ensure no app is asking for access to something it simply shouldn’t need.”
Although devices are supposed to be more secure these days, he says users should still be cautious. “Make use of any protective features that come with your device, and practice good security hygiene, irrespective of whether you are on your phone or your PC.”
He adds that the best defence is being prepared. “Take steps to take to protect your most important and confidential data assets in the face of cyber attacks. Identify the key threats and dedicate security resources and incident management processes to those threats specifically. Also, identify which information is most valuable, and make sure that is first in line for defence.”
Cyber security isn’t just a once off, he says. Cyber crimes happen every day, even to the largest enterprises, which have the best security tools and solutions in place. “To survive in today’s threat landscape, planning and implementation of strategies and countermeasures is crucial. Businesses need to take concrete steps towards understanding, and having the ability to neutralise threats.”
Staying up to date with the threats and vulnerabilities that your business faces can go a long way to preventing or recovering from a cyber attack, he concludes.