Statistics show that 30,000 websites are hacked daily and 64% of companies have experienced at least one form of cyber attack. This is a testament to the fact that hackers are always on the look for vulnerable websites and company local networks.
Unfortunately, more often than not, the weak point usually comes from within - when staff fails to take adequate security precautions.
It's the end of the year and the activities of hackers, phishers and scammers will be on the rise as most people are looking to make quick bucks - legally or otherwise. To help keep your business safe, we have compiled a list of the top 6 ways to protect your business from hackers or scammers looking to breach your data and hold you to ransom.
Let’s get right into it!
Top 6 Ways to Protect Your Business From Hackers
Here are the top 5 ways to protect your business from hackers:
1. Install proper antivirus and internet security software:
One of the most effective security tips for protecting your business from hackers is to have an anti-virus installed on all laptops used within the vicinity. These include office and personal laptops - as long as it is used within the company or collected to the company’s local network or WiFi.
2. Controlled Business Access to Staff
Most business structures are designed with admin control and privileges to certain accounts. It is important that you add staff with varying access levels to your staff so that they can only access the data that they need to perform their job duties.
For example, the super admin privileges may be assigned to the business owner or CEO - the person who created or runs the business’s daily affairs - there are no restrictions on what they can do. Other staff like heads of departments can be admins over their department data but not beyond that.
This kind of system ensures that the data is decentralized and a breach can easily be tracked down.
3. Secure your office and home Wi-Fi:
Although most office Wi-Fi is already secure, cybercriminals mostly look to exploit default passwords on home routers because of not many people bother to change them, leaving their home network vulnerable.
Encouraging your staff to change their router's password from the default to something unique is a simple step you can take to protect your home network from malicious actors who want access to their devices, breaching company data as a result.
Do not use your name, home address, or anything that could be used to identify you as your password. Finally, ensure you are running the latest firmware version by regularly visiting your router settings page. Patches and software updates often address potential security concerns.
4. Make sure staff passwords are strong and secure:
One of the simplest yet often overlooked ways to protect your business when staff are working from home is to strengthen their passwords. They should use passwords on all their devices. The passwords should be long, strong, and unique; at least 8 characters that are a mix of numbers, symbols, and capital and lowercase letters.
Make sure they avoid anything that's easy to guess, such as repeating numbers (e.g. 000000), and sequences (e.g. 123456). The longer the password, the harder to crack. It should be a minimum of 8 alphanumeric characters.
- Change password on regular basis. (every 90 days)
- Do not type passwords on devices or networks you do not control.
- Do not use neighbouring keystrokes. i.e qwerty, 1q2w3e4r. Etc.
5. Be wary of email scams and your email security:
Emails are essential for communication between colleagues. However, emails are also one of the easiest means of communication to exploit and compromise. 'Phishing' is when criminals use scam emails, text messages or phone calls to trick their victims. The aim is often to make staff visit a website, which may download a virus onto their computer, or steal bank details or other personal information.
6. Enable Two-Factor Authentication and Use an Authenticator App:
Two-factor authentication is an authentication method where access is granted only after successfully presenting two pieces of evidence (username and password) to an authentication mechanism. Two-factor authentication can dramatically reduce the risk of successful phishing emails and malware infections because even if the attacker is able to get the password, they are unable to log in because they do not have the second piece of evidence.
To successfully log in if they breach a staff business account, they would need access to whatever is generating your one-time code, which should be an authenticator app or security key.
Proactively Protecting Your Business From Fraud
On one hand, there are rules to follow in order to protect your business from a breach during the day-to-day running. On the other, there is also a chance that hackers play smarter by trying to compromise your business through well-calculated patient strategies.
Most times, hackers or fraudsters tend to genuinely engage your business as an entity looking to conduct a transaction. For example, another business looking to purchase one of your products, which will require a series of communications, email sharing and establishment of trust.
After trust has been established, they proceed to execute their penetration strategy, whether through ransomware that you may not suspect because the business already appears “legit”. It is difficult to protect your business against such occurrences because they play the long game till you trust them and let your guard down.
In such a situation, your best security is to protect your business before the hackers even get a chance to establish a “trust-based relationship” with you through elaborate Know Your Business (KYB).
Protecting Your Business Through KYB
Know Your Business (KYB) is the process of verifying the legal standing of an entity including its registration, licences, legal structure and ultimate beneficial ownership. This process is carried out to legally vet a business and ascertain whether it is fronting for criminals or not.
With adequate KYB, you can verify the business’s registration details including its name, address, registration number, board of directors and their percentage of ownership and ultimate beneficial ownership. Carrying out this activity protects your business from high-risk and potentially harmful relationships because it reveals any irregularities with an entity before a relationship is established.
Adopting a robust KYB structure is the best bet for businesses looking to stay compliant and secure from external threats.