data breach

Mitigating cybersecurity insider threats

Did you know that in some industries the biggest cybersecurity threats come from inside a breached organization? Sometimes it’s motivated by financial gain and sometimes it’s plain-old ignorance. So how can you protect your organization from insider threats?

#1 Educate

You must teach your team to recognize personally identifiable information (PII) and understand the financial implications of a breach. Each employee needs to grasp the risks associated with violating specific state or federal regulations regarding data privacy and security. For example, when a celebrity is admitted to the hospital, employees may be tempted to sneak a peek at their medical records. As innocent as that may seem, it could result in a hefty HIPAA fine.

#2 Deter

You must put easy-to-understand policies in place to prevent an insider from breaching company data. And those policies must be strictly enforced. In fact, almost every regulatory framework pertaining to data security requires that these policies are published where they can be easily found and that you present them in company-wide meetings. In some case, you may be forced to put a person in charge of holding everyone in the company accountable to following the policies.

#3 Detect

Businesses must have systems in place to identify data breaches and their sources as quickly as possible. You should be able to see any time someone accessed PII. This speeds up the breach response time by revealing when unauthorized personnel viewed something they shouldn’t have. It’s significantly easier to stem the spread of a breach with an effective audit trail in place.

#4 Investigate

When a privacy or security breach is detected, certain actions must be taken to limit the damages. For example, after the cause of a breach has been identified, your team should create new policies and procedures to ensure it can’t happen a second time. In the case of an insider threat, that might mean revoking data access privileges to a department that never actually needed them.

#5 Train

Since IT systems are constantly evolving and easy to accidentally bypass, your employees must undergo regular data security training. A one-day seminar is a great start, but incorporating short, weekly reminders or activities will go a long way toward keeping everything fresh in their minds. Consider using a variety of media, such as emails, break-room posters, and even face-to-face interviews.

Is your company’s data secure from insider threats? Call us today for a quick chat with one of our experts for more information.

5 Security issues to look out for

The security of your systems and technology is a constant battle, and one you will likely never completely win. There are significant steps you can take to secure your systems, but having knowledge about your systems is one of the most effective tools. If you know how your systems can be breached, you can ensure a higher level of caution and security. Here are five common ways business systems are breached.

#1. You are tricked into installing malicious software

One of the most common ways a system’s security is breached is through downloaded malware. In almost every case where malware is installed, the user was tricked into downloading it.

A common trick used by hackers is planting malware in software hosted on warez and torrent websites. When users visit the site, they are informed that they need to download the software in order for the site to load properly. Once downloaded, the malware infects the system. In other cases, hackers send emails with a malware-infected attachment.

There is a nearly limitless number of ways you can be tricked into downloading and installing malware. Luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid this:

  • Never download files from an untrusted location. If you are looking at a website that is asking you to download something, make sure it’s from a company you know and trust. If you are unsure, it’s best to avoid downloading and installing the software.
  • Always look at the name of the file before downloading. A lot of malware is often disguised with names that are similar to legitimate files, with only a slight spelling mistake or some weird wording. If you are unsure about the file, then don’t download it. Instead, contact us so we can verify its authenticity.
  • Stay away from torrents, sites with adult content, and video streaming sites. These sites often contain malware, so avoid them altogether.
  • Always scan a file before installing it. Use your antivirus scanner to check downloaded apps before opening them. Most scanners are equipped to do this by right-clicking the file and selecting Scan.

#2. Hackers are able to modify the operating system (OS) settings

Many users are logged into their computers as admins. Being an administrator allows you to change all settings, install programs, and manage other accounts.

If a hacker manages to access your computer with you as the admin, they will have full access to your computer. This means they could install other malicious software, change settings, or even completely hijack the machine. The biggest worry about this, however, is if a hacker gets access to a computer used to manage the overall network. Should this happen, they could gain control of the entire network and do as they please.

To avoid this, limit the administrator role only to users who need to install applications or change settings on the computer. Beyond this, installing security software like antivirus scanners and keeping them up to date, as well as conducting regular scans, will help reduce the chances of being infected, or seeing infections spread.

#3. Someone physically accesses your computer

These days, it seems like almost every security threat is trying to infect your IT infrastructure from the outside. However, there are many times when malware is introduced into systems, or data is stolen, because someone has physically accessed your systems.

Let’s say you leave your computer unlocked when you go for lunch and someone walks up to it, plugs in a malware-infected USB drive, and physically infects your system. They could also access your system and manually reset the password, thereby locking you out and giving them access.

Secure yourself by setting up a password to control access to your computer. You should also lock, turn off, or log off from your computer whenever you step away from it.

Beyond that, disable drives like CD/DVD and connections like USB if you don’t use them. This will limit the chances of anyone using these removable media to infect your computer.

#4. Someone from within the company infects the system

We’ve seen a number of infections and security breaches that were carried out by a disgruntled employee. They could delete essential data, or remove it from the system completely. Some have even gone so far as to introduce highly destructive malware. The most effective way to prevent this, aside from ensuring your employees are happy, is to limit access to systems.

Your employees don’t need access to everything, so reexamine what your employees have access to and make the necessary adjustments. For example, you may find that people in marketing have access to finance files or even admin panels. Revoke unnecessary access rights and ensure that employees only have access to the files they need.

#5. Your password is compromised

Your password is the main way you can verify and access your accounts and systems. The issue is, many people have weak passwords. And with the steady increase in the number of stolen user account data, it could only be a matter of time before they can crack your password and compromise your account.

To add insult to injury, many people use the same password for multiple accounts, which could lead to a massive breach. Therefore, you should use strong and different passwords for your accounts.

To further enhance your password security, utilize multifactor authentication (MFA), which uses more than one method of verifying a user’s identity, such as a fingerprint or a one-time code.

If you are looking to learn more about securing your systems, contact us today to learn how our services can help.

5 Tips for protecting corporate data

A data breach can happen to anyone, even to the most secure businesses or financial institutions — and cybercriminals could even attack your company’s network. How can you be sure your network is completely hacker-safe? As a business owner, you can’t afford a data breach, as it could cost you your clients and reputation. Employing strict security measures can make any cybercriminal think twice about trying to break into your network. Here are some tips to protect your corporate data.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Using a complicated password to secure your system is no longer an effective way to solve the issue of cybersecurity. We tend to use that same complex password in our email accounts or bank accounts, and if one of your logins is compromised, this can result in grave consequences.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security for your systems and accounts. It can be biometric verification for devices that you own, or a time-sensitive auto-generated code that is sent to your mobile phone. This security feature works in the same way websites would require you to confirm your email address. They want to make sure that you’re not a bot or anything else.

Encrypt all data

Encryption is a great obstruction to hackers, since it scrambles and descrambles data every time someone tries to read it. Encryption also causes compatibility issues if the data is not being accessed via the company’s own network systems. While applying encryption can be costly, it is certainly well worth the money if it can protect your business data from falling into the wrong hands.

Keep systems up to date

Technology is moving at a fast pace. Hackers are always upgrading their tools to take advantage of outdated security systems, so companies should do likewise to protect their valuable resources. Yet many companies don’t install software updates immediately. If the update closes existing security loopholes, delaying an update exposes you to external attacks. So install software updates as soon as they are released.

Back up frequently

Although you’ve implemented several layers to your security, sometimes hackers can still find their way in. This is why you need to back up data frequently, whether it’s on-site, off-site, or by way of cloud backups. In the worst-case scenario where your systems do get infiltrated, you can restore lost data from those backups.

Monitor connectivity

Many businesses have no idea how many computers they have, so it’s very hard to keep track of which computers are online. Sometimes a company’s computers and servers are online when they don’t need to be, making them tempting targets for attackers. It’s advisable to configure business servers properly, ensuring that only necessary machines are online and that they’re well-protected.

It’s much more expensive to recover from a data breach than to prevent one. If you’re looking to protect your business IT systems for potential threats, contact us today so we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Tips to reduce risks after a security breach

No company is completely safe from data breaches. For proof, look no further than companies like Yahoo, AOL, and Home Depot, which compromised millions of personal customer information. That said, no business is completely helpless, either. The following steps can minimize the risks to your business in the event of a large-scale data breach.

Determine what was breached

Whether its names, addresses, email addresses, or social security numbers, it’s critical to know exactly what type of information was stolen before determining what steps to take. For example, if your email address were compromised, you’d take every precaution to strengthen your email security, which includes updating all your login credentials.

Change affected passwords immediately

Speaking of passwords, change yours immediately after any breach, even for seemingly safe accounts. Create a strong password comprised of alphanumeric and special characters, and make sure you never reuse passwords from your other accounts.

Once you’ve changed all your passwords, use a password manager to help you keep track of all your online account credentials.

If the website that breached your information offers two-factor authentication (2FA), enable it right away. 2FA requires two steps to verify security: usually a password and a verification code sent to a user’s registered mobile number.

Contact financial institutions

In cases where financial information was leaked, call your bank and credit card issuers to change your details, cancel your card, and notify them of a possible fraud risk. That way, banks can prevent fraud and monitor your account for suspicious activity.

Note that there are different rules for fraudulent transactions on debit cards and credit cards. Credit card transactions are a bit easier to dispute because they have longer grace periods. Debit card fraud, on the other hand, is more difficult to dispute, especially if the fraudulent transactions happened after you’ve notified the bank.

Place a fraud alert on your name

Hackers who have your personal information can easily commit identity fraud. To avoid becoming a victim, contact credit reporting bureaus like EquifaxExperian, or Innovis and request that a fraud alert (also called credit alert) be added to your name. This will block any attempt to open a credit account under your name and prevent unauthorized third parties from running a credit report on you.

Putting a credit freeze on your name might result in minor inconveniences, especially if you have an ongoing loan or credit card application. Still, doing so will greatly reduce your risks of getting defrauded.

These steps will ensure you don’t fall victim to identity theft in the event of a large-scale data breach. If you want to take a more proactive approach to protect your sensitive information against breaches, contact our cybersecurity experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.