April 1st is traditionally a day to be on the lookout for pranks and practical jokes. Normally, these hijinks are all in the name of good fun, but April Fool's Day can be a serious matter when it comes to your business' cybersecurity. Some hackers use the first day of April as an excuse to launch cybersecurity attacks that can leave your company devastated.
No matter your industry - from financial services to retail to medical to educational - cybersecurity is among a company's most valuable assets.
With that in mind, let’s go through some of the essentials of a smart IT hygiene regimen:
- Strong password management. Passwords should be varied among accounts and complex enough to prevent brute force cracking. For most people, keeping up with constant password change requests and remembering exotic strings of letters, numerals and special characters seems like too much to ask. However, hackers understand this password maintenance fatigue and exploit it. To avoid being fooled (or overcome by the need to create and juggle dozens of strong passwords), a password manager is needed. A secure password manager can largely automate the process of creating and maintaining individual passwords, and store these passwords within an encrypted vault.
- Adopting multi-factor authentication for your applications and accounts. Using a third-party authenticator can provide a robust added layer of security to support your password management. These applications generate unique one-time codes that are used to grant access to each of your accounts when used in conjunction with your password. However, Multi-factor authentication alone isn’t a magic solution for perfect protection. Hackers have been able to bypass some multi-factor authentication programs, with SMS-based authentication being especially vulnerable.
- Streamline admin privileges wherever possible. Fools rush in to award admin privileges where more cautious IT managers fear to tread. Admin privileges tend to bloat over time, so it’s important to prune the list regularly. If people have moved on to new positions or projects and admin access is no longer a significant need, revoking these permissions can help improve cyber defense by limiting attack points.
- Drop joint Wi-Fi connections for employees and guests. Instead, create a dedicated network for guests and ensure that only approved devices and users can access your company’s private network.
- Invest in rigorous and regular IT hygiene training. Use regular and rigorous training to increase vigilance and awareness. Embrace skepticism rather than confidence. Your employees need online cybersecurity training to protect themselves and the company against cyber attacks. By making employees aware of security threats, how they might present, and what procedures to follow when a threat is identified, you're strengthening the most vulnerable links in the chain.
- Double check email addresses. - Scammers tend to use a sender name that looks like it is coming from the company or organization that they are pretending to contact you from. However, a scam email will usually have an unusual email address behind what looks like a genuine sender name. To check the email address, hover your mouse over the sender name and an email address should appear. If this looks suspicious in any way, it probably is.
For more information on how to keep your company safe, visit our cybersecurity company, 1nteger!