The continuous flow of warnings and reports in the media of cyber-attacks is seemingly not enough of a deterrent to humans to protect their online existence. Bottom line, we all hear that cybersecurity is on the rise, but until it happens to you, it belongs in the ‘head in the sand’ department.
A large part of what we do at Metisware is to look after networks. We’re the geeks who sort out the aftermath of a ransomware attack or security hack. We’ve seen what the result of a breach is and believe me, it’s not pretty. There has been a significant uptick in computer crime over the last few months; our technical support team reported a 30% increase in hacks since November 2021. Scary stuff. Many clients we talk to are simply overwhelmed by what the perceived mountain of what is required to ensure protection and with merit, as many anti-virus plug-ins are often pushing their own sales ‘upgrade’ agenda. This leaves many users apprehensive to keep signing up to the bottomless pit of security measures. So, here’s what you need to be doing to guard yourself from the bad guys:
Yip, update your software, update your operating system, update your antivirus, update your firewall, and update your browser and all your devices.
We recently attended to a ransomware attack that could have been avoided with a simple update. A client of ours, who host an online booking plug in, had not updated their software for a year, leaving it vulnerable to back door access. Remember very often an update includes a security element that helps remove vulnerabilities that hackers use to access your devices. New variations and hacking methods pose an evolving, ongoing risk to companies.
Install a password manager
Sorry, but don’t let your browser remember your passwords. There are many password apps you can use, such as Last Pass or DashLane. Make sure you are using 2 factor authentication, not only on your banking or trading applications but across all platforms. Selecting this option provides a safer way of being online.
Use strong and unique passwords for every site/application and set a reminder in your calendar to change your passwords annually.
Sign up for an annual audit and maintenance
The number of big vulnerabilities in common software is on the rise and hackers are even getting through networks via the company printer.
We’ve just updated security for a medium sized firm who fell victim to the tune of R300 000 via a cyberattack in the form of CEO fraud. Hackers had mimicked the username of an organisation e-mail (in this case the CEO)and gleaned information from all users who received, what looked like, a very legitimate e-mail from this address. Believe me for as little as R5k you can commission an IT audit, test the network and security from the top down through to all users. Once you’ve done that, tick the box that says, ‘sign me up for monthly maintenance’.
We all need a tech-geek in our office at least once to show us how it’s done.