Protecting your IT system from breaches and hacking is one of the great challenges faced by organisations operating in the modern world. As we’ve discussed before, if you’re unsuitably guarded against an attack then you are putting your company into the very real danger of catastrophic damage; to your finances, your brand name, and, perhaps, to the very existence of the company itself.
Of course, the risks are varied, often complex, and ever evolving. The challenge for IT security experts is to monitor the digital landscape for new threats and emerging trends, to develop proactive strategies that protects your system from immediate threats and for the long-term.
A way in which we can continue to defend against the cyber-threats posed is to look at things ‘from the dark side’. To understand cyber-security from the point-of-view of hackers and online miscreants, so that we might understand where and how they target vulnerabilities in the system. Offering us the chance to plug those potential weaknesses.
So where are the weak-spots, and what do we do to stay protected?
Computer viruses evolve – rapidly. Hackers are continually looking at means to create a new IT threat; new means to breach the security barriers in place. And they rely on the fact that, in many cases, businesses are slow to react, or are slack in their approach to updating software.
From our operating systems, email, and online communication to the different software suites; each offering potential security ‘holes'. And while developers are usually diligent in creating patches and updates, the imperative falls onto the businesses to ensure they're implemented as soon as they’re available.
Those on the ‘dark side’ seeking infiltration of your system tend to be sophisticated in the complexities of cyber-security. To remain protected, you need to match this sophistication.
Simple single-step processes to access your system (username / password) for instance, offers only scant protection against a seasoned hacker. Implementing a multi-step process makes the task all the more complicated, and offers considerably higher levels of longer-term protection.
This might take the form of two or more of the following:
- Username & Password
- Authenticator Apps, like Google Authenticator
- Biometric data – e.g. a fingerprint.
As with most types of crime, praying on our own personal vulnerabilities is a major weapon of the hacker. The idea that we can all drop our guard, particularly in the familiar daily operations of our work.
This is really the principle upon which phishing threats are at their most permissive. It only takes one click on a corrupted email link to allow a virus into your system. Company-wide awareness of the risks and possible consequences of phishing and similar attacks should be a priority.
High-level anti-phishing protection for your email system ought to be utilised as a barrier against this most common of threats. However, technology needs to work in tandem with awareness and education; an understanding from workers to remain vigilant and cautious. If you're unsure of where the email came from, or who sent it – don’t click on it.
It might sound a bit like a goodies-v-baddies scenario, and so it should. IT systems across companies of all sizes face a daily threat to their security. Hackers are continually seeking new means to penetrate a system, be it out of mischief or more dangerous motive. They seek weakness in a system, ready to exploit it in an instant.
Which is why it’s vital to take a dynamic approach to your security, to understand the potential vulnerabilities in your system, and to implement the necessary measures to provide immediate, and sustained protection.