Cyber attacks maliciously alter computer codes, compromises data and lead to cybercrimes like information and identity theft. The best remedy against cyber attacks is applying preventive measures in advance. But before studying details of how to prevent cyber attacks, we must have clear understanding of what cybercrime is. Cybercrime is any crime that is carried out in an online Internet-driven space. The focus of cybercriminals is to target computer networks and other Internet-enabled devices and covers the entire gamut from security breaches to identity theft.
Hence, going by this definition, cyber-stalking, digital bullying, and harassment, and even “revenge porn” is today considered to be cybercrimes. However, the purpose of this post will be focused on businesses and organizations as well as protection of personal data of individuals, knowing about the precautions to be taken and how to prevent cyber crime.
Here are certain precautions that you should take to prevent data and information – personal or commercial – from cyber attacks.
Have strong passwords
How to prevent cyber attacks? Make your passwords as complex as possible. A strong password should have at least 10 characters and be a combination of letters in upper and lower case, numbers and symbols. Exclude personal information such as your name or date of birth. Further, have different passwords for the sites that you visit most often. A hacker then at the most can get hold of one password only.
Again, change passwords frequently, at least once in 90 days. For your office systems, get your IT admin to have processes that will prompt employees to change passwords periodically and automatically deny access if this is not done.
Two-tier authentication process
As a precautionary measure, set up a two-tier authentication process if your email or cloud service has this option. Once you log in, apart from your password, you will also be asked to enter a one-time password sent through SMS to your mobile phone. So even if a hacker has managed to crack your password, without the unique and temporary verification code, access to the account and network will be denied.
Employees especially might find the whole process tedious when they have to do it say, 50 times a day but it is a very effective first line of defense against cyber attacks.
Be wary of what you click on
One of the most effective cyber crime precautions that you can follow is to exercise a great deal of caution when you access the Internet, especially when you open emails with embedded attachments or visit unknown and suspicious websites. The rule of thumb is not to click on emails that have suspicions origins, and are unsolicited and unexpected. One way to safeguard your personal or business information is never to part with any critical data on emails that have not originated from your end.
Be aware of phishing and spam emails. Phishing is used by cyber identity thieves to trick you into parting with confidential data. They do it by embedding malicious links and viruses in links attached to the emails. Once these links are opened, the whole network is put at risk.
As a cyber security measure, you should incorporate an email authenticating software in your system. It blocks all suspicious emails and sends them to an exclusive quarantine folder. That mail can be opened once you are sure about its authenticity.
Install a comprehensive Internet security suite
When you think of how to prevent cyber crime the first solution that should crop up is installing a comprehensive Internet security suite. One of the primary benefits offered by the suite is cloud-based security protection. It ensures that if you visit a malicious site while browsing the web, it will be blocked before you become a victim of an attack. Additionally, there are extra layers of protection when you visit banking suites as safe banking software is included in it.
Other benefits of the suite include locking viruses, crypto-lockers, and malware, securing and managing passwords and confidential documents, and encrypting all data received and sent online with VPN. In the home environment, it manages payments with bank-grade encryption, stops webcam spies monitoring the house, and guards access by children to computers with advanced parental controls.
Update installed software
It is especially important for Internet security software and operating systems to be regularly updated to prevent cyber attacks. Hackers and cyber criminals get acquainted with exploits and flaws in old software and use them to access your systems. When you regularly patch these flaws, you make it difficult for unscrupulous elements to hack into your network. Even if you are careful about attacks, there are certain malware that is so concealed that it is very difficult to trace it unless you have the latest anti-malware installed.
One such malware is a Trojan horse or Trojan. It is a malware that is disguised as legitimate software and very frequently used by cyber thieves. Users are tricked into loading and executing Trojans, thereby putting the whole system at risk. With a Trojan embedded in the network, cyber criminals can steal sensitive data, delete, block, modify and copy data and compromise the performance of the system.
Hence periodical updating of software can negate the possibility of Trojans being active in your network.
Strengthening Wi-Fi network
In both the office and home, have a Wi-Fi network that is secure, safe and encrypted to prevent tampering. You should also provide a virtual private network (VPN) for employees who work remotely from work sites or business sites. Public Wi-Fi’s are not secure and can be easily tampered and hacked into.
All Wi-Fi and VPNs should have a strong encryption password. It will encrypt traffic from your device to the destination so that even if hackers hack your communication, encrypted data is all that they will get. Insist that your employees use a VPN when they are logged into a public Wi-Fi network.
Optimally manage social media settings
Cyber criminals look at various sources to get your confidential and personal information. One of the most obvious places they tap into is social media profiles. With just a few data points like your phone number on your profile that is linked to your bank accounts, cyber thieves can steal your complete personal and critical data including your credit card details. When these are linked to your business account and website – again the same phone number – it makes hacking that much easy.
Another example is access to security questions. Your pet’s name or your first school is critical security questions and both of them will, in all probability, be available on your social media profiles. Blocking out social engineering cyber criminals from gaining access to your network is a critical component of how to prevent cyber attacks strategy.
Closely monitor your devices
This is very easy to implement and goes a long way to ensuring a cyber secure environment. Always lock your laptop, tablet or mobile device when you will not be using them for any extended length of time. Shut down the desktop if you are away. Get your IT admin to incorporate a procedure where the device will automatically go into “sleep” mode after some time of inactivity and a password will be needed to make it live again. The same applies to flash drives and hard discs. Lock them before leaving your workplace.
There are many other aspects that can be implemented for cyber security best practices and to avoid hacking and data breach
The real threat of cyber attacks
Today, well into 2019, the threat of cybercrime is very real and increasing dramatically. Most critically, cybercrimes go much beyond simply stealing financial data and information by hackers and other similar unscrupulous elements. There are new threats that arise every year and organizations have to be on their toes continually and implement stringent procedures to have an impregnable wall around their operations and database.
The rise of the Internet and an online environment are the primary reasons for hackers having a field day. Sophisticated tools and technologies are employed to hack into systems, putting businesses perpetually to risk. However, it does not make sense to stop using the Internet entirely to ward off such risks. That, in any case, is a bit too drastic. Instead, it is a good idea to acknowledge that a cyber attack on your business is a possibility and take cyber crime precautions to protect information and data.
Knowing whom to get in touch with to insulate your business from cyber attacks and even when you see suspicious activities online is the first step towards fool-proof cyber security environment. Contact cyber security experts immediately before the problem goes out of your hands. You cannot possibly learn how to prevent cyber crimes because the modalities are way too complex and technical. What you should do is to follow certain cyber crime precautions that will ensure that your classified data and information remain safe and secure.
Cyber crimes have no definite scale
There is a mistaken notion that cyber crimes and attacks take place only in large corporations and entities. It is definitely not true. No business regardless of the scale of operations is safe from cyber attacks. The downside is that in the USA alone, almost 85% of small business owners feel that their ventures are safe from hackers, malware, and data breach. Hence, they do not have even rudimentary cyber security measures in place or a basic Internet policy for employees. Almost 40% of them do not regularly backup their data and about a quarter have not had their network tested by third-party specialists to make sure they are cybercrime proof.
This complacency can be dangerous. Data thieves always look for the path of least resistance to hack into systems and small business are easy prey to their machinations. Here too, research has shown that 40% of cyber attacks are targeted at organizations with less than 500 employees. It is therefore advisable for small business owners to exercise extra caution to shield their companies from cyber attacks by taking cyber crime precautions.
Cyber Experts Advice to Businesses
Cyber security should be taken very seriously in this modern, open-ended, Internet-driven digital environment. How to prevent cyber attacks should be your first priority regardless of whether you are a business owner or an individual accessing the Internet at home.Our team of cyber security experts have the expertise to help recovery from cyber security threats and data attacks regardless of the sector or industry you might be operating in. For professional and expert advice on cyber crime precautions, contact Doynt Technologies at firstname.lastname@example.org.