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An employee decides to work on an important project over the weekend to complete a deadline. Using a company device, the employee takes their work to a local coffee shop to get started. Using the password-protected login (not the available Admin option on the laptop), the employee agrees to the pop-up Wi-Fi agreement.

Unfortunately, even though some cyber safety measures were in place, the device is hacked by forced access ransomware, which also releases malware that reports the admin login information to a threat agent, who can now access the organisation's entire cloud-based system.

Now the cybersecurity system kicks in and neutralises the threat as quickly as possible, but could better cyber safety practices have protected the company from this attack and its negative consequences? The answer is yes!

This article will cover the benefits of practising cyber safety and using all available types of cloud security to prevent easy attack vectors and other cyber security risks when using internet-based networks.

What is cyber safety, and how does it differ from cyber security?

Cyber safety and cybersecurity are closely related. Cybersecurity is actually the most important part of cyber safety, but by practising cyber safety, you can minimise the risks that your cybersecurity measures need to protect you against.

Cyber safety refers to practices and habits surrounding your use of cloud services. This includes making the best decisions about which parts of the cloud you allow to be part of your organisation's functions. It also includes protecting your data and account information when it is used through cloud networks.

Cybersecurity includes all the protective measures your organisation uses to protect your employees and assets against breach and cyber threats. Cybersecurity protects your organisation against direct and calculated attacks from threat agents.

Does cyber safety apply to cloud security?

Cyber safety is the way to promote cloud security while accessing accounts and business opportunities that exist in the cloud networks. Data stored on platforms connected to the internet are especially vulnerable to breach or hacking because of the number of possible attack vectors.

Making well-informed choices on the types of websites you access with your organisation's data can protect your business. Practising cyber safety can create a series of habits that promote the best cloud experience while mitigating danger. What types of threats exist that cyber safety can help prevent?

Most common types of cyber threats

There are many ways in which a cyberattack can hurt your business. Nevertheless, hackers continue to use the most common types of cyber threats because they work. Some of the most common types of cyberattack begin through one of these methods:

Phishing

Phishing occurs when a threat agent tries to acquire information they do not have a right to by pretending to be someone else. Common tactics include using an email or a chat box and pretending to be someone who needs your personal or login information to help you with some aspect of your account. Phishing can also occur on websites where unverified vendors can pretend to sell something or offer a service in exchange for payment, but after receiving your payment fail to provide the promised exchange.

Malware

Malware is software that is able to carry out an attack or information theft through computer systems. Often, malware can begin to access your computer through a person visiting a website or clicking on an ad that gives the malware an access point to your company's systems.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a specific type of malware that demands that a person pay to protect their personal information or account access. Ransomware can be designed to actually destroy data, or simply lock out a user until the ransom has been met. Often, these attacks are encountered on insecure websites.

Social engineering

Social engineering threats use manipulation techniques to trick persons into sharing access or sensitive information with an unauthorised party. A social engineering attack can be initiated when an employee begins contact with a person or chatbot that may offer to provide some sort of service to the company.

Identity theft

Identify theft has occurred when a malicious agent steals your personal information in order to gain access to your personal information or create new accounts in your name. Signing up for a website that is not legitimate or asks too many personal questions may allow you to be targeted through this type of attack.

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Staying safe online: strategies and best practices of cyber safety

Although your cybersecurity measures should be able to protect you from many of the negative consequences of malware, practising cyber safety measures such as those listed below can prevent malicious software or threat agents from gaining access to your organisation's data in the first place.

Consider implementing these best practices to protect your accounts and organisation's information.

Create strong passwords

Strong passwords that do not contain easily guessed number sequences or common words or phrases provide protection against malicious programs that are designed to infiltrate your online or company accounts. Passwords that are considered strong will contain at least 8 characters, special symbols, and non-sequential numbers.

One excellent tool that has emerged to help prevent passwords from being easily guessed or used on multiple websites is password management software. These programs allow access from one account to keep track of your usernames and passwords for your other cloud and internet logins. These passwords can be encrypted in a way that they are virtually unhackable. This security measure alone provides significant protection.

Implement two-factor authentication

Many cloud based services have expanded their safety by offering optional or mandatory two-factor authentication. This often includes a new login to an account from an unknown device to be confirmed through a verified phone number or email.

Securing social media accounts

Any social media account that is used to represent your organisation should use two-factor authentication to prevent this common source of breach from being accessible. Social media is especially prone to hacking because of the sheer number of available attack vectors. Only give access to your social media accounts to employees who are qualified to take protective measures. Two-factor authentication can prevent social media takeovers by confirming new access to an account through a verified and approved device.

Updating security software regularly

When an update becomes available for your security software, promptly implement the update. This can provide the most advanced protection from breach through accounts attached to cloud networks.

Use public Wi-Fi only when needed and with caution

Public Wi-Fi can be infected with the forced installation of malware. By agreeing to connect to a public Wi-Fi, you may be inadvertently giving permission to malware to affect your devices, which could result in your passwords being compromised, ransomware, or identity theft.

Never access banking information, sensitive work accounts, or credit card accounts on public Wi-Fi, as these are normally the sort of account access malware may be seeking. Use caution when using public Wi-Fi, or avoid it if at all possible.

Don't go to suspicious sites

If an offer or ad seems too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid suspicious websites, as clicking on anything on these types of pages may be giving malware permission to infect your device. Use verified websites, and never click on a link from an unsolicited source.

Protect and back up personal and sensitive information

Make regular backups of your personal information on secured devices. If you are threatened with ransomware, you can restore your files from your back-ups without further contact with the malicious software.

Be prepared with an incident response and recovery plan

If an incident occurs, having an automatic response and recovery plan can restore your business's most important information. Incident response plans allow you to learn from the attack and provide additional protective or preventative measures to that aspect of your accounts in the future.

Company training

Train everyone in your company in cyber safety. The more informed your employees are, the less likely they are to fall victim to phishing scams or to inadvertently leave your organisation's data unprotected by using insecure websites or Wi-Fi.

Lock devices

As often as possible, store sensitive and company information on devices that do not have USB or other types of portable storage access. This can prevent a physical copy of important data from being accessed by someone who is not authorised to log in to the device accounts.

Do not allow end-users to have administrator access

Administrator accounts should only be accessible from specific devices belonging to or being used by those with that authority. End-user devices should not have access to changing important settings or software to keep the opportunity for abuse at a minimum.

Cyber security, the best way to stay cyber safe

Having effective cybersecurity, including vulnerability management services, is the most important aspect of cyber safety. Even after taking precautions such as discussed in this article, having an expert team available to help strengthen your cybersecurity can be the difference between thwarting a cyberattack and falling victim to it. We can provide a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment, along with vulnerability management services, that will allow you to create a safe environment for your business to continue to grow.

Speak to an Expert with Canon Business Solutions ANZ today.

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