Data Protection: 8 Mistakes That can Lead to Cyberattacks

Cybercrimes are on the rise, and it seems that it’s not stopping anytime soon. Since businesses handle huge amounts of data, they are perfect targets of cybersecurity attacks. 

Whether you’re a large business or a small one, you’re not immune to these attacks. Last 2020, Twitter faced a security breach caused by social engineering. Even with sophisticated softwares, an attack is still possible. And this is largely due to human error.

To prepare for an attack, you and your employees need to understand what cybersecurity is. Alongside this, it also helps to know some of the cybersecurity mistakes businesses make. By doing so, you can create a plan to fight against cyberattacks.

Understanding Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is how an organization secures its network and systems from a cyberattack. It makes use of the latest technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

It also pertains to the techniques and processes implemented within the company. More importantly, it includes a detailed plan that follows a certain framework.

According to NIS Directive Compliance, every organization must have a plan to:

  • Detect cybersecurity risks and threats
  • Protect the system against the attacks
  • Minimize damages of the attacks, and
  • Manage the risks

Noncompliance with the directives can lead to penalties. And this varies among different countries. It’s important that every business owner take cybersecurity seriously.

Investing in cybersecurity measures can be expensive at first. However, being a victim of cybercrime poses larger threats to your business. One of these includes losing $7.2 million per minute.

That’s huge, especially for small businesses. At this rate, they can go bankrupt and shut down permanently.

8 Most Common Cybersecurity Mistakes

1. Thinking You’re Immune to the Attacks

One of the most popular myths is that only large enterprises get attacked. However, recent events showed otherwise.

According to the statistics, 43% of small businesses have fallen victim to these attacks. And it’s alarming to think that only 14% of them are prepared against cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity attacks are getting creative each year. While technology is advancing, cybercriminals are getting more opportunities to attack.

Surviving an attack last year doesn’t mean becoming immune to it. It only means you need to invest more in your company’s cybersecurity.

While high-end technology helps, it’s not enough to think an attack will never happen. Even the most sophisticated AI technology gets hacked.

You need to keep in mind that it’s not a one-time deal. You can’t just set it and forget about it. It’s a continuous process of using the best cybersecurity measures that your company needs.

2. Believing the Attacks Only Comes From the Outside

Cybersecurity measures are usually designed for threats outside of the company. However, insider threats are one of the most common causes of data breaches. According to Forbes, 22% of cybersecurity attacks are insider attacks.

It is important to understand that insider threats are not always intentional. Employees and staff who are negligent are often the sources of an attack.

In fact, 60% of all cases are because of employee negligence. In comparison, intentional or malicious insider attacks only account for 7% of all cases.

Intentional insider threats are done mostly because of financial gain. However, these threats can also be motivated by other factors. Some people leak company data to spy, steal data, or sabotage the company. 

As an example, Cisco discovered an ex-employee had deleted 16,000 user accounts. This caused the company $2.4 million dollars for the damages.

3. Skipping Cybersecurity Awareness Training

IT personnel aren’t the only ones who should be concerned with cybersecurity. Every employee, including yourself, should also understand what it’s about.

While you and your IT team can determine what a cyber threat is, your employees can’t. Human error accounts for 88% of data breaches.

Anyone from your staff can receive a phishing email and click on it. What’s worse is that they are completely unaware of how much damage this will cost.

Training is an important process that ensures that all of your workers are on the same page. What’s more, they are given the information and abilities required to do their jobs better. 

It’s important to have the right kind of training for the right team. This will make sure that your resources are being spent effectively. Not only that but you will get the best results possible. 

Understanding the importance of cybersecurity is the first step in awareness training. They need to realize how cybersecurity affects not only the company but also themselves. By doing so, you’ll be able to mitigate cybersecurity risks.

A culture of cybersecurity is important in every company. To create one, employees should be trained about the different types of cyberattacks. Aside from this, they also need to know about safe online computing. They are, after all, your first line of defense.

4. Having Too Many Users With Unrestricted Rights to Network

Ignoring the security threats provided by human users can be costly for a company. Users with admin privileges can make major modifications to the operating system’s configuration. Not only that but they can also gain access to sensitive data. 

That’s why giving away network privileges to temporary workers can result in data breaches. Proper user privilege management practices should always be implemented.

What you can do is to:

  • Choose the right and appropriate people to have admin privileges
  • Assign high-risk tasks such as account deletion only to admin users
  • Remove users after they resign from the company

5. Failure to Update Network, Applications, and Systems

An outdated security system is usually the target of cyberattacks. Cybercriminals are more likely familiar with how old versions of security systems work. And yet, 95% of websites on the internet use outdated software. 

When vulnerabilities are found, there won’t be security patches to work on it. As a result, the whole security system for the website shuts down. And when that happens, cybercriminals can easily hack into the system and achieve their goals.

It’s not possible to avoid every cybersecurity attack. Although, you can avoid some of these by following the best practices to keep your system updated. When there is a new update, never think twice about getting the new version. 

6. Leaving Your Wi-Fi Networks Unsecured

Free public Wi-Fi is a popular feature of shops and airports these days. However, it usually poses a threat to the company’s cybersecurity systems.

For a variety of reasons, public Wi-Fi can put your business at risk. Failure to secure your Wi-Fi network often results in man-in-the-middle attacks. What happens is that a hacker will intercept data. Once they do, they can get access to personal information and risk being stolen.

To prevent such attacks, you can:
how to protect wi-fi networks

  • Inform your employees never to use public Wi-Fi when logging in to company accounts
  • Use VPN to hide online activities while browsing with public Wi-Fi connections
  • Encrypt your Wi-Fi password with WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
  • Fix bugs by updating your router’s firmware once a year
  • Limit file sharing only on file servers

7. Forgetting to Secure Company Devices

Some mobile devices seemed harmless. However, when it gets connected to your network, there may be issues regarding it. Most business owners never think twice about securing these devices. This often leads to cybersecurity attacks.

You should know how to secure the devices that connect to your company network. Here are some things that you can do to secure company devices:

  • Lock your devices with a strong password
  • Deactivate the device immediately once it gets stolen or goes missing
  • Inform employees never to use public Wi-Fi when connecting to the internet
  • Have a cybersecurity solution that allows you to control it remotely

8. Unaware of Proper Password Management

Having weak passwords for your accounts is the leading cause of a cyberattack. In fact, it accounts for 30% of ransomware infections.

Coming up and remembering a complicated password for each account can be hard. Using basic and weak passwords, on the other hand, leads to more data breaches.

In 2018, Magneto’s user accounts experienced brute force attacks. After researching it, the main cause was using weak and predictable passwords.

That’s why it is important that you take extra precautions in creating your password. To strengthen your password, you have to:Proper Password Management

  • Use both the alphabet and numbers, together with special characters
  • Enable 2-Factor Authentication for every password
  • Resist reusing old passwords for multiple accounts
  • Stop writing your password on a piece of paper
  • Change your password from time to time

Conclusion

Letting these mistakes slide can lead to serious damages to your company. Some businesses even fail to recover from these damages.

It’s important that you keep an eye on your operations and ensure that everyone understands cybersecurity. Take a look at your countermeasure to check if you have missed anything.

You should understand that cybercrimes will never go away. That’s why your company should always be proactive rather than reactive.

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