Cyber Attacks and Prevention

A recent survey conducted by the Disaster Recovery Journalfound that of all potential risks faced by organisations, the most feared risks heading into 2018 are cyber attacks and data breach. Similarly, fin24has noted that cyber – attacks loom large for the coming year, and that they could dwarf the cyber – attacks suffered in 2017.

Considering that 2017 saw data breaches across the globe were of an immense scale – such as the Equifax breach in the United States of America which saw the personal data of some 147 – million Americans exposed; and the emergence of the WannaCry malware which affected users in over 150 countries – the above prediction does appear to be a daunting prospect. Although the major cyber attacks of 2018 have been tipped to be aimed towards critical infrastructure, data breaches remain to be a threat to all organisations.

However, by taking a few steps you can ensure that you and your organisation reduce your risk (and stress) in 2018:

  1. Stay up to date

Malware such as the WannaCry bug utilised gaps in older Microsoft software. Although Microsoft have since taken steps to patch the flaw, the WannaCry malware exposed the flaws in outdated software and highlighted the need to stay up to date. A company who does not wish to do a complete overhaul of their IT equipment can alternatively look at Microsoft’s ‘Custom Support’ options to stay up to date.

Also stay up to date and be aware of the latest cyber security trends and cyber threats. By no means do you need to aim to be an expert in technology but developing some knowledge and awareness of the latest trends you are giving yourself the grounding to protect yourself from future threats. This can be done by following cyber tech experts (such as Brian Krebbs), reading reports of major cyber attacks and even just subscribing to technology magazine. These factors are most applicable to small enterprises who don’t have the resources to appoint an IT manager or administrator.  

  1. Take care of your data, and make sure it is taken care of

As we become more and more reliant on technology, our data is fast becoming essential in an organisations day – to – day operations, ultimately meaning that without data an organisation can’t make money. As the risk of breach increases, ensure that you have regular back ups which are stored off site.  Ideally, look to have a hybrid back up system – with data backed up to a managed cloud as well as a physical back up.

Whilst the most suitable back – up method may vary from business to business, generally utilising a hybrid back up allows for an organisation to enjoy the pros of both physical and cloud back – ups. When making a decision regarding your back up option also consider how long you need to be able to recover your data within. 

Once you have decided on your back – up system, test it! Often organisations establish what they deem to be an effective back up system but have never actually tested the recovery of their data. Look to schedule at least two tests annually. 

  1. Remember, anyone can be attacked at anytime

Whilst the experts may be able to make predictions and provide direction, there is no substitute for being diligent. Stay prepared and do what is needed to ensure that in the event of attack, you can either block it or recover from it.

Published by Dean Black