D-Fence! Stopping 2022’s Biggest Security Threats
With the likelihood we’ll be spending more time than we thought at home for work and school, we should start off the new year by hardening our defenses against cyber criminals. The basics haven’t changed, but they’re more important than ever because the criminals are getting better tools.
Here are the major threats as we see them:
- Ransomware. This is an ongoing problem for everyone online: business, healthcare, education, and people of all ages. Cyber criminals have more access to stronger tools to find and exploit weaknesses in any IT system; there are even SaaS (software as a service) providers for those who just want to buy and use tools to crack and penetrate a network. Perpetrators are also taking advantage of crypto currencies, which make it harder to find them by tracking financial transactions. The flip side of that is that our government and the software security industry are getting better at tracking them down, but don’t bank on it. You can still lose a lot of data, money and productive time when you’re attacked.
- Phishing. Hackers are getting better at using deep-fake technology and the English language to separate you from your money and identity. They can better mimic corporate identities for emails and pop-up ads to lure you to fake websites. They can use video to make you think you are seeing a real person at a real company, and their English is getting better – to make them more convincing.
- Mobile Phishing. As we do more on mobile devices, criminals are stepping up their attacks on phones and tablets. That means you’ll see more phony text messages. Not only are mobile devices an expanded target, but phishers can also take advantage of heavy fingers on a touchscreen to get a click from you that opens the door for penetration to your data.
- The Cloud. The cloud is still a safe place for your data, but criminals are finding ways to attack even the largest storage providers. The onus is on them to make sure their defenses are rock solid, but it only takes one small slip by even just one system or person to open a breach.
- Supply Chain Attacks. One of the many lessons we’ve learned in the last year is how interconnected our supply chains are. Getting the right products to the right places at the right time depends on businesses and government agencies talking to each other across multiple online networks. Criminals can sabotage a large segment of our economy for economic or political reasons.
- State-Sponsored Attacks. Some industry observers call this a cyber cold war, but it can wreak havoc with “bombs” of its own. Governments are using the internet to attack businesses or government agencies to disrupt operations and cause chaos. While it may be the threat we can do the least about as individuals, it will affect us – especially if a gasoline pipeline, electric power grid or water supply systems are attacked.
How Are We Vulnerable?
Of course, we’ve seen that large businesses, governments and other entities throughout the online world can be under-equipped or careless, too, regardless of whether they have people working in offices or homes. Their problems are ours.
What Are Our Best Defenses?
Not surprisingly, our best defenses are just updated approaches to all the steps we’ve advised our clients to take for as long as we’ve been serving them.
- Download and Install Updates and Patches. Updates and patches fix bugs in your operating system, networking and application software to correct problems that can make your system vulnerable to attack. Up-to-date firewalls harden your defenses against cyber-attacks. You can set up your systems to automate this process.
- Pay Special Attention to Malware and Antivirus Software. If your internet connection or Wi-Fi network is compromised, this is your next line of defense to keep criminals out of your device and your data. Planting malicious code – malware – is the most common way intruders get into your systems.
- Use Caution and Common Sense. You can backstop your software defenses by using your intelligence. If an email address, web link or text phone number is not familiar to you or looks out of the ordinary, don’t click or respond. If an email sender’s name looks familiar but the message doesn’t, hover over the name while in your email program. You should be able to see the address of the actual sender. Also, when in doubt, you can call a person or organization – BUT use a number you know is correct or find the phone independently.
- Use Multiple File Backup Locations. Multiple backup locations can protect your data and access to it in case one location has an outage or security breach or if you suffer a ransomware attack. Storing data on your own individual hard drive or on a server is OK, but either could be more vulnerable to a cyber-attack or system failure. Offsite backup is your insurance policy for your data.
- Train for Security. Make sure all your employees or family members understand the risks of being online and know the likely signs of a phishing email campaign or malicious pop-ups.
If you think your technology system has been compromised, shut it down IMMEDIATELY and CALL us – 973-433-6676. Don’t email. Don’t text. Call us for a faster response, and we’ll begin looking at your problem to find a solution.
We can help you prevent problems with a full security audit of your entire system. We look for weak points in your hardware and software and recommend ways to strengthen your defenses. Call – 973-433-6676 – or email us for an appointment.