Network Security: The Dangers and What You Can Do to Secure your Business

protect your network security

 

So, the new year really has kicked off with a bang with the news that Travelex has been hacked and being held to ransom by cyber hackers.

The hackers struck on New Years eve, and they are demanding cash to allow Travelex access to its computer systems. If they do not comply, the threat is to release 5GB of customers’ personal data-including social security numbers, dates of birth, plus credit card details. The hackers have said if they receive payment then they will delete the data and restore their entire network.

The other issue Travelex have, is that they failed to report the breach to the ICO, which is a requirement under the GDPR law, and this could cost them a fine of up to 20 million euros.

Mode has always considered the security of your business systems, of paramount importance. So, we’ve looked at the threats, what they mean, and what your business should do to protect and secure its valuable data.

Common threats:

Malware: This is short for Malicious Software and are programmes that do damage to a computer system. This can include Trojan Horses, spyware and worms.

Viruses: Like a virus that we can get, Viruses can self-replicate, inserting itself onto other programs or files, infecting them in the process.

Phishing: This is an attempt, usually via email to fraudulently obtain details about your personal information.

Spyware: this is a piece of covert software that unearths a computers activity by transmitting data from the hard drive without you even knowing about it!

Wi-Fi attacks: This is a very common security issue when it comes to networks. These attacks are normally carried out to target information that is being shared through the networks. These are very common with older routers.

Adware: This is a type of malicious software in the form of adverts targeting people to click through and then it can track a user’s activities without your consent and obtain information about you.

Trojan Horses: This is an exceedingly dangerous security risk that poses as completely innocent and innocuous. One common one is a programme that claims to rid your computer of viruses, when in fact, it’s introducing viruses to your computer.

Worms: This is a malware computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. Worms cause some harm to the network, often consuming bandwidth.

So now we’ve explored some of the threats, what can your business do to protect itself?

  1. Perform Software updates

This is vital to the health of your network. They often include up to date patches to secure the security of your network and provides anti-virus software. So, make sure you update your systems when they are released!

  1. Have robust access controls

Ensure that you implement policies with your teams that insist on strong passwords for your network. Include Upper and lower case, special characters and numbers to make it even harder for hackers to infiltrate your systems.

  1. Standardise all your software.

If you have various pieces of software, or you allow your employees to put whatever software they like onto your systems, this makes maintaining your security almost impossible. Also, any security patches released would not be able to be implemented in a uniformed manner.

Prevent your teams from placing whatever software they like by making sure permissions are in place to stop this and ensure that all your operating systems are uniformed.

  1. Network protections.

Firstly, make sure you have robust firewalls in place and that you have an IT supplier that ensures this is up to date. If your teams work remotely and you need VPN, ensure this is secured.

Also ensure that you have proper access controls and passwords on your systems. Your IT team should ensure this is in place and last, but by no means least, make sure you perform proper maintenance on your IT!

  1. Educate your teams!

DO not underestimate how important it is, to ensure that your teams know what they are looking for, in the event of a hacking attempt.

Run workshops to show them what a phishing email looks like, how to check its source and educate them not to click on links that look suspicious. A team educated in the dangers of network security, is a huge reduction in the chances of your business being a victim of a malicious attack.

If you need help and advice in securing your network, then do contact Mode today to find out how we can help you, let our team be your team!

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This post was written by Anwen Haynes1

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