Cyber Security Myth Busting
With so much conflicting cyber security information out here, it’s no surprise that SMEs are left lost and confused about what to do to best protect their business.
Cyber security experts tend to use lots of jargon and complicated terminology which muddies the water and doesn’t provide companies with the clarity that they’re looking for. A lack of accurate cyber knowledge can put a business at risk. Thankfully, we’re here to set your cyber security facts straight. We want to help you get your business in the best shape possible to deal with unwanted cyber attacks.
Clearing Up Myths With Cyber Security Facts
Myth 1: Mobiles are fine as only computers are targeted in cyber attacks
When it comes to smartphones, both individuals and businesses can take a far too lax approach. With the lines between personal and work use often blurred, it can be easy to forget best practice. Smartphones, tablets and other smaller, portable devices can be just as susceptible to cyber attacks as laptops and desktop computers.
With smartphone technology advancing at such a rapid pace and people using their phones to complete so many different tasks, they’re just as much a target as laptops.
Think about how often you use your phone, and what you use it for. Do you check your email on your smartphone? Nearly half of all emails are now opened on a mobile, so you certainly wouldn’t be alone. Phishing emails are one of the most common and effective forms of cyber attack, and it’s just as easy to click a malicious link on your phone as it is your desktop.
Using a smartphone on the move, you are more likely to inadvertently connect to an unprotected network and so make yourself vulnerable to a cyber attack.
Myth 2: Hackers don’t bother targeting small businesses
In fact, many hackers aren’t targeting any specific business at all. Instead, they use more wide-ranging methods that allow them to send malware (malicious software) to multiple companies at once, and then sit and wait to see if anything sticks. Often, they’ll have an automated system in place. Whilst these less targeted techniques are unable to penetrate the more sophisticated defences of larger firms and government agencies, they have proved effective on vulnerable SMEs.
Myth 3: Our data isn’t valuable
In cyber security, there is no such thing as worthless data. You might not think you have anything of value, but it’s a cyber security fact that you almost certainly do. For example, if you employ anyone other than yourself, you’re going to have their financial details documented somewhere in order for you to pay them. Similarly, you will have payment information for your suppliers and customers. That’s all incredibly attractive to hackers.
Some hackers will try a slightly different tactic. Rather than searching for specific financial information, they will simply grab any compromising data that they are able to get a hold of. Their tactic is to then threaten to release that information to the public, potentially causing huge reputational and financial damage, if you don’t agree to pay a ransom. The payment is typically made using cryptocurrency. Alternatively, they might choose to take control of your computers and render them unusable until a ransom is paid, dramatically impacting on your business’ productivity and output.
Myth 4: Social media is safe, cyber attacks focus on email
Whilst phishing emails are one of the most common forms of cyber attack, you still need to stay vigilant on social media platforms. For hackers looking to learn as much as possible about an individual in order to impersonate them and gain access to sensitive information, social media is one of the first places they turn. When interacting with customers on social media, your business needs to be sure that they are who they say they are before revealing anything confidential.
Myth 5: I’ll know if I’ve been hacked
It’s not always immediately obvious that you’ve been hit by a cyber attack. Yes, some malware will make itself known through irritating, frequent pop-up ads and incredibly slow browser speeds but other forms can lie dormant for long periods of time, waiting for the right trigger. Spyware, for example, will lurk in the background recording all your online activity, picking up on any usernames, passwords or payment details. This type of cyber attack is purposefully designed to be unobtrusive as it seeks to gain as much information as possible about an individual.
Myth 6: Having anti-virus software is enough to be safe
Whilst installing anti-virus software is certainly a good idea and something we recommend, but you can’t simply stop there. No anti-virus software can protect from the range of other threats which businesses are facing. It’s important that you look at your entire business in order to be safe.
Anti-virus won’t protect you from anyone within the company who is intent on causing damage.
For example, any employees who are leaving the business and would like to take as much information as possible with them, such as client contact details. Setting up a procedure for terminated employees and running regular checks of their devices should help to reduce this risk.
Myth 7: Once I’ve put measures in place, I’m safe forever
Just like the rest of technology, cyber attack methods and techniques are constantly evolving. They are growing ever more sophisticated and advanced. To keep up, you need to be consistent in your approach to cyber security, regularly reviewing, testing and evaluating. Cyber security is not something you consider once and then leave for a few years.
Hopefully these cyber security facts will have helped dispel a few of the most common cyber security myths! If you’re not sure how secure your company is at the moment, why not take our quick online assessment and #revealyourdigitalaura?