Since the start of the COVID pandemic the need for cybersecurity has grown exponentially, owing in part to remote working conditions. As the number of known threats increased and new, more sophisticated blended attacks emerged, cybercrime cost businesses millions more in 2021 than it did in 2020.
What cyberthreats do you need to worry about, and how can you protect yourself?
Recent cyberthreat trends
According to the Acronis Cyberthreats Report for 2022, in the last quarter of 2021 ransomware was the number one threat to big and medium sized businesses, including government, healthcare, and other critical organisations. Attacks occurred regardless of whether the company was in construction, manufacturing, academia, information technology, transportation, or any other sector.
Essentially ransomware is a type of malicious software, also known as malware, designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. It gains access to your computer via infected websites, email attachments, links sent in emails, software downloads, torrent downloads and in documents.
Phishing and malicious emails remain the main infection vector according to the Acronis Cyberthreats Report for 2022. The global network of Acronis Cyber Protection Operation Centres (CPOCs) work around the clock to proactively detect and defend against the latest threats. In October 2021, CPOCs blocked 376,000 phishing and malicious URLs. This represents a massive increase over the previous quarter’s average of 58,000 per month.
There has been an increase in cyberthreats relating to crytopcurrencies, such as cryptojacking – the unauthorised use of someone else’s computer resources to mine cryptocurrency, and malware or phishing that swaps wallet addresses. Fortunately, Acronis Cyber Protect’s Active Protection recognises the malicious behaviours endemic to cryptojacking and stops them in their tracks.
5 steps you can take to protect your data at home, work, or school
1. Secure your accounts with a strong password
One of the first and easiest steps you can take to secure your data is to use a strong password, and if possible, a password manager. Many of us are guilty of using the same, simple password across all our accounts. Not the best idea. As soon as someone gains access and figures out your one password, they will then have access to all your data on multiple platforms. A strong and preferred password is one that takes hackers many attempts to crack, it is long and completely random. A strong password has at least 12 characters (the more characters, the better), a mixture of both uppercase and lowercase letters, a mixture of letters and numbers, and the inclusion of at least one special character, such as !@#?. The more complex your password the less likely a hacker will be able to work it out, but that said it also becomes difficult for you to remember. That’s where a password manager can help. It can help to create long, random passwords for you and store all the information as well.
Along with ensuring your online presence is protected with passwords, your devices should also be equally secured. Cell phones, laptops, and tablets are easily misplaced or stolen, and if you don’t use a password to log in, the thief has immediate access to all your data. Ensure all your devices are secured and require biometric or unique passwords to gain access.
Adding another layer of protection to access your accounts will make them even safer. Multi-factor authentication can be frustrating as it takes you longer to get into all your accounts, but it is definitely needed to protect your data. Be sure to enable two-factor authentication whenever it is available for your accounts.
One method of protection is RADSPY Data Protection. The software protects your company and customers with account takeover and fraud prevention solutions. Employee Account Takeover Prevention detects compromised passwords early and resets them before criminals have a chance to use them. This enables you to stay ahead of account takeover and targeted attacks like ransomware.
2. Protect your Web browsing
Browsing on the internet can come with a host of hidden dangers, which can be compounded if you use an open Wi-Fi connection at an internet café for example. It is highly recommended that you use antivirus software on your computer. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is not only an award-winning antivirus it also provides an integrated backup, disaster recovery, anti-malware, email security, URL filtering services, and endpoint protection management capabilities. With Acronis you can stop viruses and other cyberattacks in real-time and recover automatically.
You may also want to consider using a VPN when browsing the internet on your laptop, tablet, and phone. It protects and encrypts internet browsing data making your online presence anonymous. As a result, you can send and receive data across shared or public networks while keeping your data private from prying internet eyes. You should use a VPN alongside a comprehensive anti-virus software to guarantee maximum security.
Make sure the websites you visit have HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). This is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site. When users transmit sensitive data, such as when logging into a bank account, email service, or health insurance provider, HTTPS is especially important. Any website, especially those that require login credentials, should use HTTPS. Your web browser may display HTTPS as a locked padlock in the URL bar to signify the webpage is secure.
3. Protect your Emails
Spoofing occurs when a hacker impersonates someone you know by falsifying data to gain an unfair advantage and access to your private and sensitive information. You can protect your company against these forms of cyberattacks by protecting your domains with RADMARC. RADMARC uses Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC), which is an email authentication and validation system or technology. It serves as a security layer, a protocol that verifies and provides information about the origin and destination of communications. As a result, DMARC prevents the company’s domain from being used to send emails related to phishing, social engineering, spoofing, spam, and other forms of fraud.
According to the Acronis Cyberthreats Report for 2022, Acronis Advanced Email Security saw an increase of 23% in the number of phishing emails being blocked in Q3 as compared to Q2. In the third quarter of 2022, there was also an increase of 40% in the number of malware emails.
4. Update your software and devices
We’re all pretty busy and updating our phones or computers to the latest software takes up valuable time. So, we snooze the updates or simply ignore them, telling ourselves that we’ll get the next one. What you should do is run that update as soon as possible. It could include a critical security fix or a patch for a security flaw. As hackers alter their tactics, developers may update certain features to avoid an attack. So, the next time you get an update, install it.
5. Regularly back up your data
One very important step to take to ensure the safety of your data is to back it up, and to do so often. Acronis states that 40% of companies that do not have proper backup plans do not survive a disaster. Your data is the lifeblood of your business and as such requires security measures to ensure it isn’t lost. With Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud you can back up your system, emails, files, and folders. The backups run in the background without affecting your computer’s performance. It also operates across physical, virtual, cloud and mobile environments.
Acronis’ backup and recovery feature also prevents infected files from backups with built-in malware scanning. Ensuring that when you restore your data it is clean and malware-free.
The team at GPS Online are dedicated to getting your company online and offering you the protection you need when there. Drop us a line if you would like to learn more about our cybersecurity offerings.