How to Prevent Cyber Attacks

how to prevent cyber attacks

Cyberattacks are constantly evolving. Almost all of the breaches (95%) are caused by people. That’s why implementing preventative measures is so important.

Latest Emerging Network Security Attacks

Here are some of the cyber attacks to watch for. Remember even outbound traffic needs to be filtered through a firewall.

  1. Artificial intelligence: AI can spot employee behavior patterns that lend themselves to social engineering attacks. And it can spot other vulnerabilities leading to cybercrime events.
  2. Man in the Middle attacks: Another emerging threat, this is basically digital eavesdropping. Hackers steal personal data.
  3. SQL injection attacks: Attackers can view user lists, get admin rights or even delete tables. These use harmful code to get into the backend database.
  4. Crypto-Malware: This is also called crypto-mining malware. Hackers steal cryptocurrencies.
  5. Typosquatting: Another type of problem. Common URL misspellings trick users into visiting malicious sites.
  6. IP theft or unauthorized access: One can lead to the other. Unauthorized access (a hack) can lead to the theft of inventions and ideas.
  7. Phishing attacks: Hackers dupe people into opening a malicious link. And fool them into giving up information. One way to stop these malicious actors and their malicious software is user authentication.


Why Preventing Cyber Attacks is so Important

Malicious code that infects or steals business data can bring down your small business operations. Prevent legal issues by guarding a network system against an attack.


How a Cyber Attack Occurs

These attacks take different shapes. They can access mobile phones and other connected devices like personal computers. A malware attack can destroy your finances.

They start with an infected attachment. Or someone being duped into giving up info. Or even all-out assaults through denial of service attacks.

Top Cyber Security Vulnerabilities

Most cyber-attacks are financially motivated. Remote work, cloud-centered technologies, and VPNs are especially susceptible.

Here are vulnerabilities to pay attention to:

  • Unused Patches. Keep your software up to date.
  • Encryption Matters. If your communications are encrypted you leave usernames and passwords open for hackers.
  • Old Software. Increased risks of a breach include dated user authentication. That results in cyber criminals finding a way in.
  • Unrestricted Access. It’s not just about a victim’s device being hacked. Unlimited accounts increase cyber threats.


How to Prevent Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches

Secure systems make for good business. Avoid a distributed denial of service attack and others with these tips.

1. Create Strong Passwords and Change Them Often

Passwords help to prevent data breaches. Set up two-step authentication with the security software. Good password security logins change frequently.

2. Create a Cybersecurity Policy

A good cyber security policy can help you keep customers and sensitive data safe. Cyber risks are in the cloud too. Outline who can migrate data to the cloud from your company.

3. Install Firewalls and Top Antivirus Software

Look for products that offer the best VPN and firewall protection together. Choose a product that can handle most viruses. Here’s a list to sort through.

4. Use Endpoint Protection Software

This software protects mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops plus tablets. These can cover a total network.

5. Store Data Securely

First, it’s important to limit how much information you share online. Being proactive means addressing concerns. Like Baiting and scareware.

6. Give User Training

This is another proactive step to help employees spot and report suspicious activity. Look for a company that complies with HIPAA, ISO, and Cyber Essentials to name a few. They should have categories for email protection and password policies. And how to recognize social engineering.

7. Update and Patch Software and Systems Regularly

Hackers look for flaws in web browsers and operating systems. Software vulnerabilities are another way bad actors install malware to gain access.

Update and use patches–on your phones, laptops, and tablets. Automatic updates work well on systems.

8. Encrypt Your Data

Customer information should be encoded. In fact, small businesses should encrypt data. All of it. You can use either private key encryption or private and public keys that are linked.

9. Maintain Back-Ups of Your Data

Backing up company data is one way to bounce back from cyber attacks. There’s a 3-2-1 rule to follow. Make three copies. Put two in different local locations. And store one off-site. Backing up critical data is one surefire way to make your company cyber resilient.

Cloud computing has led to cloud storage. Your data is safe even if a fire destroys your office.

10. Restrict Access to Your System

You’re less likely to suffer through a data breach when you control access. To systems and even the entire network. Consider removable media like USB memory sticks.

12. Regularly Purge the System

Former employees can cause issues. That’s why you should purge data you don’t need. Sensitive information could get stolen. Consider 30% of employees change jobs. Standardize data before purging.

13. Hide Your Wi-Fi Network

Any wireless access point on a Wifi network can allow for what’s called backdoor access. There are different attacks like The Evil Twin, where a system duplicates yours.

Change the default passwords using two-factor authentication. These types of authentication tools make a difference.

14. Have Separate Logins for Staff

Not everyone should have access to store and customer data. Separate logins should all have a minimum password length.

15. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Sensitive data is safer on an internal network. These create a safe way to give remote workers access to internal data.

16. Perform Penetration Testing

These simulate cyberattacks. Gather info on your mail servers and domain name before you start.

17. Think Outside of the Box

Don’t forget to explore alternative methods to prevent breaches. Traditional methods like multi-factor authentication work. And even facial recognition software. But so do these.

  • Build Some Redundancy into Your Infrastructure. Keeping extra switches and routers on hand works.
  • Outsource Cybersecurity. Here’s a great way to prevent one of these attacks. Make sure they handle updates for anti-virus software. And security for social media platforms.

Another workaround for cybersecurity problems is buying more bandwidth. So your SMB can ride out DDoS attacks.

18. Create Incident Response Plans

Reacting to security problems is part of the process. You’ll need to notify the right people when necessary, like law enforcement.

19. Perform Regular Audits of Procedures

Cyber attack prevention is a big part of cyber security. Look for items like weak passwords and unused software patches. Look for signs of items like domain name system attacks.

What to Do After a Cyber Incident

Any SMB can be the victim of a cybercrime. A criminal can steal data with malicious intent at any time. The Infrastructure Security Agency is a good resource.

And you can follow these tips:

  • File a report with the local police if you’ve been the victim of identity theft.
  • Communicate with your customers via phone or video.

File a complaint with the FBI.



Image: Envato Elements

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.