Cyber attack prevention: what are the red flags?

How to prevent cyber attacks: this sounds like the answer everybody wants, and the perfect solution to a safe, secure workplace; but is it possible?

Whilst no one can guarantee that vulnerabilities in even the most secure systems won’t encourage cyber attacks, there are certain actions you and your organisation can put into practise to help keep attacks at bay, or even flag them before they happen. 

Watch out for suspicious phishing emails across your organisation

Phishing emails are nothing new. With the advancement of technology in the 21st century, we see an increase in cyber attacks, and phishing email-type hacks are often a primary factor in attacks on corporate businesses. Luckily, cyber attack prevention and the ability to react has also increased.

One advantage for the cyber-criminal when dealing with organisations, is that they can often easily find and/or procure email address structures and names of employees, which they will use as a disguise  to carry out cyber attacks. Tactics include asking employees for company credit card details under the guise of board-level or senior management, and inserting malicious links into emails that result in screen-locking when clicked, only to be released by a ransom fee.

Being alert and notifying the entire company of certain suspicious emails is key to stopping this kind of attack, as one attack on one person likely means more will soon come.

Weak passwords or lack of password control system

This one may sound like simple and basic knowledge, but it is crucial to a safe, secure and solid company infrastructure. For shared company passwords, try investing in secure password applications that suggest complex passwords for employees, as well as managing all passwords in a central system. Beyond this, on an individual level, try encouraging staff to use complicated passwords to increase security and patch over vulnerabilities.

Nowadays, in order to enhance security further, many websites incorporate a two-factor authentication system. Two-factor authentication is a security process in which users provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves. This process is done to better protect both the user's credentials and the resources the user can access. Two-factor authentication provides a higher level of security than authentication methods that depend on single-factor authentication (SFA), in which the user provides only one factor – typically, a password or passcode. Two-factor authentication methods rely on a user providing a password, as well as a second factor, usually either a security token (usually sent through a mobile phone or email address) or a biometric factor, such as a fingerprint or facial scan.

Educate staff on principles and practises

A key area to mention is staff education. It doesn’t matter how robust a cyber-security strategy an organisation has, if staff and employees are not kept up-to-speed on best practises and recent news, then certain cogs in the overall machine will not be best primed to keep the organisation secure. Spend some time as an organisation on educating staff and learning together on a regular basis to maintain awareness of potential and real cyber threats.

Lack of clear processes

On the other hand, if there are no clear processes in place for staff to adhere to and follow, then educating staff will not be as effective. It takes protocols, processes and go-to methods to be ingrained into an organisation’s culture for education sessions to be effectively executed.

Off the back of learning and education sessions, set organisation processes and actions to take when red flags are raised etc. These will enhance your cyber-security protection in the fight against cyber attacks.

Looking for help on preventing cyber attacks company-wide? Get in touch with Steven Snaith

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