6 Quick Security Tips To Keep Your Business Safe

6 Quick Security Tips To Keep Your Business Safe

6 Quick Security Tips to Keep Your Business Safe

Every employee shares one inescapable flaw that is putting your business at risk.

They’re human.

59% of data breaches can be traced back to something an employee did (or didn’t do), which invited a cyber-attack.

To lock hackers out, build security awareness and respect into your company culture so that maintaining digital security becomes as routine as making coffee.

Use complex passwords: Every employee, including management, needs to use an alphanumeric password that they haven’t used before. Password managers can assist with making sure they’re never forgotten.

Verify unknown identities: Not familiar with ‘Jenny from Accounting’ who has called to ask for sensitive information? Double-check caller identity and access permissions before releasing any information. Hackers love to play on our desire to be helpful.

Encrypt by default: People regularly transfer data to a laptop or smartphone so they can work more efficiently. Unfortunately, this equipment can be easily stolen. Set operating systems to encrypt data by default, so that it becomes useless in the wrong hands.

Protect portable devices: Laptops and mobile phones should always require a password and be set to auto-lock after a short period of time. Never leave them unattended in cars, buses, restrooms etc, and take them as carry-on luggage.

Set personal usage rules: While you may have blocked productivity-vacuums such as Facebook, what are the rules regarding games, video streaming or shopping? Can they install their own software? When business computers are used for personal usage, security vigilance tends to slide, resulting in unintentional malware installation.

Educate often: Digital security threats change regularly, and people become comfortable with a certain level of danger, thinking ‘it will never happen to me’. A 5-minute discussion  once a month may be the barrier that keeps hackers out.

Starter Topics:

Links in emails – Hackers often send emails that look like they are from your bank or similar. Be sure to check the link by hovering over it with your mouse. This is known as ‘phishing’.

Tech scam popups – Be on the lookout for popups advising that your computer is infected and you need to call a phone number or download software.

Email attachments – Never open an unknown attachment, and even from people you know and trust, always scan for malware before opening.

If you need help implementing better security practices in your business, give us a call at 1300 795 105.

Could Your Backups Survive A Ransomware Attack?

Could Your Backups Survive A Ransomware Attack?

Could Your Backups Survive A Ransomware Attack?

More and more businesses and organizations are getting stung by ransomware demands. Hospitals, schools, social networks…some days it seems like an epidemic that leaps around arbitrarily, and hackers are raking in millions.
Tallied across the word…billions.

Ransomware attacks are devious in their simplicity. A user in the target business is tricked into opening a file, usually through a phishing email or download. The file contains malware which instantly encrypts your data and demands money in exchange for the password.

No payment = no password = no data.

All of the target businesses should have backups, which they could simply revert to without paying any money, but the FBI reports more than $209 million was sent to hackers in the first quarter of this year alone. Keep in mind, this was just payments within the US, and only counts those who came forward.

Last year it was only $25million.

Aren’t backups helping?

Sometimes the backup solution fails and the data can’t be retrieved. This is particularly true in cases where the solution has been in use for years and something failed along the way.

In other instances, the target business has a backup that can be restored, but it doesn’t include everything they need for full recovery.

Finally, and the most common reason so many businesses are forced to pay the ransom: the ransomware attack affects the entire system – including attached and synchronized backups. If the backup is also caught in the ransomware encryption, it becomes useless as a recovery method and the only options are to pay or lose the data forever.

Each day spent trying to recover the data is a drain on valuable business resources and in many cases, results in massive revenue loss.

The only defense is to block the malware before it can infect the first workstation, and then continue the protection with a comprehensive backup strategy for all workstations and servers.

Give us a call to discuss how we can help secure your business against ransomware today.

Protect Your Firm Against Zero-Day Attacks

Protect Your Firm Against Zero-Day Attacks

Protect Your Firm Against Zero-Day Attacks

Protecting your business against the latest IT threats should always be a top priority. Updating antivirus and patching your operating system is a great way to start. What happens, however, when a threat appears at your door before security firms have had a chance to catch it?

A security threat that exploits a previously undiscovered vulnerability in the computer is known as a zero-day threat. The name “zero-day” is designed to imply how long since the vulnerability was discovered. The term also indicates that system developers have had zero days to fix it.

A newly discovered attack might be packaged into a computer virus or worm. This will allow it to spread far and wide while inflicting the maximum amount of damage possible. When spread successfully, a new exploit has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of computers before an operating system or anti-virus update can even be issued.

There are a number of ways we can protect your business or lessen the damage from a zero-day attack.

Preventative security

The number one way to mitigate the damage from any attack to your system is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Maintaining a good firewall and up-to-date antivirus is the best step you can take to ensure the security of your system.

A firewall, monitoring traffic in and out of your network, reduces unauthorised entry over the network. Even without knowing the exact nature of the attack, suspicious activity travelling in and out of the system can be stopped.

The same is true of modern Antivirus. Even when it can not identify the specific zero-day threat from its virus database; it can often identify malicious intent from learned behaviour in the system.

A Locked Down Network

Should a zero-day threat make it into your network, our next goal should be to limit its effects. By restricting user access to only essential files and systems we can limit the damage done to the smallest number of systems. Good security policy dictates that each account should only have full access to the systems needed to complete the user’s job. For example, users from the accounts department shouldn’t have access to sales department databases.

In this way, the damage of a single compromised account is limited to only the network area it operates in. Such limited impact should be easy to control and can be reversed with regular backups.

Good Data backup

Whether your entire network has been exploited or only a small area has been affected; good data backups are your protection against major lasting damage. Having a good backup means having the procedures in place to both create regular backup copies and make sure they can be restored at a later date.

Reliable and well-tested backups are worth their weight in gold. Knowing your data is safe and your system can be recovered is peace of mind against even the most highly destructive zero-day attacks.

Intrusion Protection

While the precise methods of a zero-day exploit can’t be known in advance, a network intrusion protection system (NIPS) can monitor the firms’ network for unusual activity.

The advantage of NIPS over a traditional antivirus only system is it does not rely on checking software against a known database of threats. This means it does not need updates or patches to learn about the latest attacks. NIPS works by monitoring the day-to-day patterns of network activity across the network.

When traffic or events far out of the ordinary are detected action can be taken to alert system administrators and lock down the firewall. Devices such as USB drives and mobile devices can all introduce threats to the network. They can often make it past the firewall because they are physically introduced to the system.

NIPS protects against threats introduced to the network from both external and internal sources.

Full Cover Protection

Used in combination these techniques can prevent, protect, and mitigate against the kinds of threats that even the top security firms haven’t patched yet. We think it’s important to keep your firm secure whatever it might come up against in the future.

If you could use help protect your business against online threats, give us a call today at 1300 795 105.

Protecting Shared Computers for Work from Home

Protecting Shared Computers for Work from Home

Many families today have a shared home computer to help with day-to-day activities. A teen can search for a job and stream shows. A parent can check work emails, pay household bills, and shop online. A youngster can play an educational game to buy Mom or Dad a few minutes of peace. Yet with COVID-19 sending so many people home to work, the shared computer is getting a lot more use.

Not every employee was lucky enough to get sent home with a business laptop. Some employers ask you to use your own computer. At the same time, you may also be accommodating kids doing online learning, and those little ones still want to go online and point and click to help Elmo plan a birthday party.

But sharing the computer can now present a security risk. You may have important work documents on the home computer. You could log in to the business network unaware of malware downloaded onto your home device, and, of course, that malicious software isn’t doing your home computer any favors either.

With so many people using the computer, make sure to set up virus protection on your home device. Additionally, you may set security patching and software upgrades to happen automatically. One of your young users could be seeing the message requiring an update and ignoring it. That leaves you unaware the software is vulnerable to bugs or threats.

Setting Up Personal Profiles

With everyone sharing the desktop, your work is at risk. You could have downloaded a spreadsheet containing employee personal identification information. That represents a compliance risk if another user inadvertently accesses the document.

Or you could lose hours of work. Someone else might drag that project you’ve been working on to the trash with a school assignment rubric.

Our IT experts can set up different account profiles for each user. Doing this not only helps to secure your work from home, but can also add protection for your kids.

The immediate appeal is personalizing the desktop for the individual user. Your kids can pick their own home screen backdrops and menu bars. You might not need access to TikTok, but your teen is thrilled to have it right there on the desktop. For smaller children, you can make icons and text bigger. Set up narration to give yourself a break from the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon.

For parents, security advantages of the profiles include being able to set up the following:

  • Web filtering enables you to set rules to screen incoming Web pages. This can help avoid children seeing explicit content or accessing a malicious site. You might also limit Web browsing to particular sites.
  • App limitations can ban kids from buying and downloading certain apps or making in-app purchases. For older kids you could require parental permission first.
  • You can set up Screentime limits for particular sites (e.g. Netflix or YouTube) or allow young people to access online content only at certain hours of the day.
  • Age restrictions allow you to filter mature content from search results. These also filter what apps, games, and media the young user can view or buy.

Individual profiles also make it easier for parents to track online activity and computer use. We can even set it up for you to receive reports on Web browsing and application use.

 

Secure your work from home and protect your family of users. Get help setting up the right controls for your home computer needs. Contact us today at 1300 795 105!