The development of technology brings with it positive effects, making everyday work and business easier. However, one should not forget the negative side of this trend, which is growing cybercrime. Not only large corporations but increasingly small and medium-sized businesses are also exposed to cyber security incidents. So how can you secure your company from a hacking attack and protect yourself from financial losses? You will find out in this article!
Hacking attack – table of contents:
What is a hacking attack?
It’s an activity aimed at identifying and exploiting weak security features in networks, systems or software of computers and phones. They are carried out for various purposes, such as fraud, data, identity or intellectual property theft, phishing, virus installation, commercial espionage, etc.
There has been a significant increase in illegal attacks in recent years. Nearly 80% of the cases involved phishing, which is an attempt to phish a company’s confidential data. Thus, it’s a serious problem and challenge for modern businesses. Especially for small companies, which often may not have at least enough resources to cover the costs of information security.
Types of hacking attacks
What types of cyber attacks can be encountered? These include:
- Bait and switch attack – is the display of ads for products or services to websites, which results in the download of malware to the device;
- Denial of service – an attack that blocks users from accessing a particular network or device through, for example, excessive spamming, which can lead to system overload;
- Eavesdropping – involves extracting devices from network noise and recording them. In this way, the attacker can learn the content of messages, emails, transmitted photos and videos, passwords and so on…;
- Spoofing – is the impersonation of various public institutions (banks, offices, companies), but also some individuals to gain access to resources that the hacker would not otherwise have access to;
- Phishing – in this case, too, there is often impersonation of certain entities to reveal confidential information, and trade secrets by, for example, company employees.
The security that prevents a hacking attack
Below we will outline several types of ICT network security tools that you should implement into your company’s cyber security policy.
- Firewall (firewall) – allows control of incoming and outgoing traffic between the internal network and the untrusted network, determines the rules of its passage and blocking;
- VPN server – allows secure data transfer over the Internet and protects the privacy of network users by hiding the IP address of the device;
- IPS system – detects attempts to gain access to a given system and informs about such events, is an important complement to the operation of the firewall;
- Spam protection – techniques to eliminate spam e.g. email authentication, spam filtering, blacklisting;
- Antivirus protection – designed to protect against many types of threats to the IT system, recognizes and combats all manifestations of malware;
- URL filtering – blocks access to specific websites, preventing URLs from being loaded.
How to secure a company from a hacking attack?
What can you do to protect your company from hacking attacks? Here are some best practices.
- Introduce general safety rules
- Manage passwords
- Introduce administrative powers
- Make employees aware
- Apply work monitoring tools
- Backup data
- Encrypt data
- Configure Firewall
- Filter email
- Setup Internet filtering
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs
- Update the operating system, antivirus, applications, office packages, etc.
- Have multi-factor authentication
- Secure transactions
- Have cyber risk insurance
- Inform employees and customers of possible violations
- Formulate a Discover Recovery Plan
Creating rules regarding security is an essential part of protecting against hacking attacks. This includes rules for creating strong passwords, access control systems, data sharing, and procedures in case of breaches.
Use passwords that will be difficult to decrypt. It is assumed that they should be at least 14 characters long, consisting of a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters. Do not use the same password for many different accounts. You can use a password manager, an application for storing and creating secure passwords (or other sensitive information).
The administrator function allows a designated person to install necessary programs, create new accounts, change passwords, and make changes to settings. Only a limited number of accounts should have these permissions. Ideally, they should be used for essential activities – avoid browsing websites or reading emails from that account. This will reduce the risk of hacking and a hacker taking control of your equipment.
Employees are frequent victims of phishing or spoofing which lead to the leakage of important information, and the installation of malware. Therefore, efforts should be made to ensure that every person in the organization is aware of the risks and can recognize and respond to them. Training is important when hiring new people, but it is also worth regularly reminding existing employees of good cybersecurity practices. Issues such as creating strong passwords or identifying spam are particularly important.
Software providers offer many tools on the market that can be used to supervise the work of employees and prevent external dangers. However, you need to keep in mind the issue of privacy and regulations under RODO.
It will reduce the damage in case of a system hack and recover lost information. Ideally, such copies should be made every day, at the end of the week, every 3 months and every year. Systematically check that the data is saved correctly. Consider processing your company’s data in the cloud. Apply the 3-2-1 backup rule, which is to keep 3 copies of a given document, file, etc. on at least 2 storage media. One of these media should be off-site.
Encrypting the chosen network and the data used within it involves creating passwords and security codes. This is important because without it there is a risk of hacking and obtaining confidential information, installing malware.
A firewall controls all incoming and outgoing traffic on the computer-Internet line. It should be installed on all devices used for company work, including mobile ones. It should also be updated regularly to be effective.
It will reduce the risk of receiving messages with harmful links, or files that someone could open, leading to an infected device. Use spam filters for this and configure the mailbox used in the company for communication.
Use tools that block access to websites that may contain viruses, phishing or other forms of malicious activity. This way, you have more control over what your employees do while at work and reduce the risk of cyber attacks.
Installing security features on desktops or other company devices is essential. There are many providers of such solutions on the market.
By regularly updating and fixing security vulnerabilities, you can better protect your company’s devices from unwanted activities. Criminals are constantly resorting to new ways of acquiring data, so you need to keep up as well to counter them effectively. For instance, an often overlooked device used in workplaces is a multifunction printer. They too are part of the overall network and can be targeted by hackers like any other device.
It is a process of identity verification that takes place before accessing a particular device, or account. It requires at least 2 components of authentication (proof that the person is actually who he/she claims to be). An example would be the requirement for a password, followed by a code sent to a designated phone number.
If you accept online payments, you need to ensure that the transactions you make are secure. You should consider choosing a payment gateway provider to prevent fraud and speed up the entire shopping process.
It is possible to purchase insurance against data leaks and hacking attacks. A company that has been attacked has had to cover the cost of repairing systems, replacing equipment, and face large financial losses even leading to its bankruptcy. So the solution may be to take out an insurance policy that would cover the costs of asserting one’s rights (e.g., damages, fines), repairing the damage done, and compensating for lost profits. However, before entering into a contract with an insurer, it is important to determine exactly what scope the contract should cover and what your company’s needs are.
Of course, it is best not to allow any data leakage. However, if such a situation does occur, you must notify employees, customers, etc. of the situation as soon as possible. In this way, you will avoid further damage and perhaps prevent further scams.
This is a recovery plan that describes the steps to be taken after a failure of an ICT system (including a hacking attack). Its preparation allows for a quick and structured restoration to the state before the error or event occurred. The elements to include in a Discover Recovery Plan are:
- Making an inventory of all devices and programs used in the company;
- Evaluating the various areas whose failure is most likely to affect the company’s operations;
- Carrying out risk assessment;
- Drafting disaster recovery plan.
Nowadays, businesses rely heavily on their IT facilities. For this reason, applying security against hacking attacks is a key aspect of managing your own business. It is important to know all risks and take possible preventive measures to effectively avoid serious financial or image losses.