Internet-based services are essential for a company's growth and success. Emails, websites, and cloud computing are all a part of day-to-day business operations.
However, along with tremendous increases in productivity and convenience, the Internet brings with it the potential for devastating, costly cyber attacks. The following are 8 top Internet threatsyou need to be aware of and guard against:
- Weak passwords. You may have read recently that Microsoft is cracking down on weak passwords, pushing people to choose something longer and more complex. That's because weak passwords can expose you to all kinds of cyber attacks and data breaches. Weaker passwords are short, simple, and easily guessed, because they're based on variations of your name or other publicly available personal data, or perhaps use common words.
- Lack of authentication. If someone does gain access to your log-in credentials, how will you ever know? Beyond strong passwords, you need additional ways to safeguard your accounts – for example, using two-factor authentication or having methods to detect activities in your network that appear unusual or suspicious.
- Vulnerabilities in Internet-facing applications. One example is your business website. Depending on how its set up and what code you've included, hackers may use it to attack site visitors or turn it into a point-of-entry that leads them deeper into your network or into databases containing sensitive information. Sometimes, companies also expose software or devices to the Internet unnecessarily. For example, they may use digital security cameras but fail to install a firewall, allowing hackers to easily discover the camera and possibly gain access to it and control it.
- Vulnerable mobile devices. Mobile devices often lack the kinds of protections, like firewalls and anti-malware programs, that you've installed on other computing devices. Employees may also download a variety of unauthorized apps that compromise security on your devices. Another danger comes from unsecured public Wi-Fi networks that can give cyber criminals access to your device.
- Unencrypted communications. When you send data over unencrypted channels, you leave the information open to theft or tampering. Without realizing it, people may use unsecured Internet applications to transmit important files and sensitive information.
- Malware. Malware is any kind of malicious code that can steal your data, destroy your computing devices, and disrupt your network. Malware, which includes viruses and ransomware, can crop up on many places in the Internet, including email attachments, infected websites, and corrupted ads.
- Outdated software. Software, such as the kind you use to build your business website or download PDFs from the Internet, needs constant updating to fix security weaknesses. Failing to update software can leave you significantly more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
- Phishing. With phishing, cyber criminals impersonate trustworthy people or institutions to gain access to your sensitive data. They may email you in the guise of your bank, for example, and request information such as passwords or financial documents. They may set up a fake website and trick you into entering your information into one of its online forms. If you click on the phony website, you may also wind up downloading malware onto your device. Phishing is part of a broader cyber attack approach involving scams that rely on 'social engineering.' Cyber criminals seek to manipulate people's tendency to trust and take things at face value to trick them into disclosing information. For example, a cyber criminal might call up your employees and pose as an IT professional who needs your log-in info.
Don't hesitate to contact us for assistance with safeguarding your company against these Internet threats.