One of the most debilitating occurrences that can happen to you or your business is discovering that your computer has become the victim of a cyber attack. There are best defenses practices you can take against an attack from occurring, such as implementing strict policies, employee education and continual vigilance, but understanding the types of cyber criminals and their techniques is the first line of defense.
Vancouver’s Thierry LeVasseur, who is an expert on digital communications and email security, says that everyone is susceptible to an attack and to never assume you are too small for one. He highlights some of the most common threats.
An email that appears to be from a legitimate sender but actually, when clicked upon and opened, contains a malicious attachment or link that can give phishers access to banking information and private company documents, is one of the most common types of cyber attacks.
Thierry LeVasseur says that to help employees better identify phishing scams, companies can provide training that tests them to recognize and respond to malicious phishing attempts. In the event the phisher is successful, having the proper security in place like enabling two-factor identification, can protect the rest of your network.
An insider could be someone who sits in the next cubicle over or a rogue employee who is disgruntled over a passed opportunity for a promotion. Employees can most definitely present an insider threat to data. This can be especially challenging for companies because the hacker often has direct access to data and first-hand knowledge of where it is stored.
To prevent a cyber attack from occurring right under your nose, LeVasseur notes that it’s important to restrict access to sensitive data to only those employees who need it. Companies can also monitor internal account usage to protect against insider attacks.
Another common type of cyber security fraud occurs when an attacker targets an individual or organization with ransomware. It can be spread to computers through attachments or links in phishing emails, by infected websites and through downloads.
Thierry LeVasseur explains that people who fall victim to ransomware need to insure they are conducting frequent computer backups and encrypting their networks.
The Password Thief
Anyone can fall victim to a cyber attack, but 63% of confirmed data breaches involved leveraging weak, default or stolen passwords. Malware is the number one threat against password theft; it can capture keystrokes from an infected device.
Still, strong passwords are the first line of defense against these types of hackers. Companies should enforce strong password requirements and again stress the importance of using multi-factor authentication.
If your network is breached and you become a victim of a cyber attack, the key to containing the damage is quick detection. Computer and online security should be a priority for everyone; you can never be too cautious, especially when hackers are already two steps ahead.
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