Cyber Attacks are on the rise and I am sure you have heard in the news just how frequent they are. No matter if they are individuals, small businesses or large enterprises being hit by a Cyber Attack could result in disaster.
Could you honestly say you are prepared for a Cyber Attack? Please take a moment to consider how you or your business would be affected by an attack from Cyber Criminals?
If your answer is no then you must put together a Disaster Recovery Plan as soon as possible. Cyber Security has become more important than ever, you could literally lose everything.
What is the worst-case scenario from a Cyber Attack?
Okay, so consider you arrive at work sit down and turn on your machine login and try to launch an application and nothing happens.
You brush it off and try again and nothing loads, I am sure the next step you take is to reboot. Following this the same thing happens again, you call your IT Department or IT Support company and after investigating the cause they hit you with the fact you’ve been hit by Ransomware.
Suddenly a colleague reports the same and the realisation hits that your whole company is affected. What now?
Have hackers got control of your company data or are you under a financially motivated ransom, what now?
What are the symptoms?
Other symptoms you may be affected by a Cyber Attack are:
- Browser popups causing it to be unworkable
- Critical files have become inaccessible
- Emails sent to customers, suppliers that were unexpected
- Invoices received or sent that could contain modified data in the invoice or altered bank details to hijack payments
- Mouse moving without user input and commands being completed, usually occurring if someone has taken control of your machine
- New unrecognised applications loaded on the system
- Antivirus tools disabled or not functioning correctly
- Internet Traffic considerably increased without any additional changes to your companies uses
What is a Cyber Attack?
A Cyber Attack can be labelled in many different ways, it is typically when an individual or group gains unauthorised access to your computer systems.
The methods used are often via an email phishing attempt, this will contain a link or an attachment that links to a file or website with a hidden payload that will install a small application or run scripts on the machine which can be disguised from the Security Software installed on the machine.
The result of a Cyber Attack can be catastrophic or it may not be noticed for many months or at all. Businesses large or small can be affected and even you in your home. Cyber Attacks can be motivated by money, stealing company information known as Corporate Espionage or just to be disruptive.
At least 60% of businesses go out of business after suffering from a Cyber Attack and unfortunately, a considerable amount of attacks go unreported, this percentage could be much higher. An attack can be expensive to a business trying to set everything right again or just disruptive locking users out of files or programs just for a laugh, this was often the case in the early 2000s with tools such as Sub 7 a tool used by script kiddie newbies attempting to hack or have fun at the expense of other computer users.
How to protect your computers from Cyber Attacks?
Cyber Security is a real thing, not just a buzz word which has become popular, even to mainstream media. Without taking the appropriate security measures your business can suffer huge losses you may never recover from.
Making the necessary investments now can make all the difference, don’t let this happen to you. Read about steps you can take to secure your company below:
- Backups – If you don’t have a sufficient backup plan then you may as well walk away from your business now, as at some point you will need to restore data.
- Antivirus / Antimalware software – This seems obvious but if a business values their data, especially with GDPR, do not rely on built-in software, I know Windows 10 does have a better version of Defender but there are certain regulations in place now that require it.
- Cyber Insurance – You may feel it is unnecessary but having the right insurance can offer protection against all aspects of a Cyber Attack. It may feel an unwanted expense but it is better than the alternative of losing your business or losing a shedload of cash.
- Delegate security to a technical employee – By delegating the companies security to one person can mean that they keep all aspects of the security and regulations up to date, however, one thing to remember is to not put all your eggs in one basket.
If the employee is off for a considerable amount of time, will this cause major issues to your company? Do you have an alternative plan?
- Education – Always the best option is to train your staff, make sure they are trained not to open unknown emails or at least do not click on attachments without knowing who the sender is. We also then have to make sure employees are aware to look out for if the sender is really who they say they are? Such as if the domain has been altered say for instance an email sent by our billing team email@example.com does the email actually read firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking at the above they could be read as the same but the second actually has a l (L) in place of an i, making sure the right email is chosen is very important in the wake of CEO Phishing.
- Evaluate your network for vulnerabilities – Performing a scan on all your network equipment to check for vulnerabilities can be essential, we have to consider things such as the Firmware used on devices, Firewalls & Ports open.
Operating System updates or Software out of date. Having unpatched computers can often be the culprit such as in the NHS Ransomware to hit the UK in 2017.
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