10 STEPS TOWARDS A CYBER SMART FUTURE
You have all the crucial information in the world online. But is it secure? Are you confident that there is no loophole in your security system? With governments and businesses shifting online at a faster pace than ever before- thanks to the pandemic- the need for awareness and education on cyber security has increased. We need to be cautious in designing a framework for a future- a cyber smart one.
Let’s understand this step by step.
What is cyberspace?
In layman’s terms, cyberspace is the virtual space created by computers. Interaction via cyberspace happens virtually. Anyone using the internet is a participant in cyberspace.
Challenges of cyberspace
Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore technology! The way technology has been shaping the world around us is phenomenal. You would be living in a fool’s paradise if you believed cyberspace to be a safe zone. With increased access to the internet, cybercriminals are having a field day. Cyber thefts and frauds are a common story now. In this era of IoT (Internet of Things) where companies and brands try to make optimum utilization of the existing technologies, we must know the threats and challenges that cyberspace poses.
Get an insight into the challenges posed by cyberspace:
• Disruption: A technique used by cybercriminals to distract you, can cost your business time and money. They might try disrupting your business through internet outages or through ransomware which has been on a rise recently.
• Distortion: Hackers may try distorting data put out on your website. The distorted data might cause your customers to be cheated.
• Cloud jacking: Cloud services are used by many businesses these days. Cloud jacking is when a third party infiltrates your cloud service. Hacking cloud platforms is one of the challenges in cyber security for businesses. Carrying out such an attack on the enterprise data could pose a massive threat to the organization.
• IoT Attacks: IoT devices are devices used in computing, digital, and mechanical systems, which autonomously transmit data over a network. Many everyday devices like some in-car apps, fitness trackers, etc make use of IoT. Cyber security threats are looming large with the use of IoT devices is increasing regularly. Sensitive data finds its way into the hands of attackers if IoT devices as attacked.
• Insider threats: Extra precautions are required to be taken by businesses to prevent insider threats posed by employees to cause harm to the company. There are tools available that can detect and respond to insider threats. Businesses can make use of them to safeguard valuable information.
• Deepfakes: A deepfake uses artificial intelligence to take an image, video, etc, and manipulate someone’s image or video with malicious intent. Deepfakes are increasingly being used during elections by political parties. Cybercriminals use deepfakes to impersonate owners/partners of the business to gain access to important data.
• Cryptocurrency and blockchain attacks: Many organizations have started exploring the possibilities of Blockchain and cryptocurrency. Thus, attacking these frameworks can compromise the data of the business and its consumers. Organizations need to be vigilant to close all loopholes that come with using these technologies.
• Vulnerabilities of software: As the saying goes, ‘There is nothing perfect,’ even the most advanced software is vulnerable to attacks. By being late to update their software, businesses might be at risk of inviting major challenges. Hence it should be considered a priority.
• AI and Machine Learning: These high–end technologies can be used to identify targets. Lack of cyber security would be an added disadvantage leading to making the target easy catches.
Well, now you know the challenges in the cyber world, let’s look at what can be done to overcome them.
What does being Cyber Smart mean? Here are a few tips for a cyber smart future:
• Backing up data: In the event of a cyber attack, backed up data and the website of your business can help you recover information. Employing multiple backup methods is a great idea. Checking and testing that data can be restored from the backup is also essential. You can back up the data in an external device like a USB or make use of cloud storage.
• Secure devices and network: This involves updating software, setting up a firewall, installing security software that has anti-virus, anti-spyware filters, etc. Updating these periodically goes a long way in keeping your business cyber safe.
• Encrypting essential information: Turning on encryption would convert data into a secret code before it is sent to the internet. This way, the events of tampering or theft can be checked and prevented.
• Ensure you use multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA is a security process that asks for two or more identity proofs before you access the account. This provides an additional layer of security for your account.
• Monitor use of computer systems: Better monitoring is the need of the hour. In the absence of a unified monitoring system, businesses turn vulnerable. Keeping an eye on computer equipment and systems used by your business, keeping a record of them, and ensuring they are secure at regular intervals would be useful in building resilience against cyber attacks. It is better to remove any system that is no longer in use.
• Put the right policies and training in place: A clear cyber security policy for your business keeps the employees reminded of the best practices. Through this, they get to know what needs to be remembered when they share data, files, or emails.
• Train your staff to be safe online: Your staff is the first line of defense in the scenario of cyber threats. It’s important to educate the staff on the threats they can face and their role in safeguarding the business. Similarly, training them in identifying cyber threats, reporting one if confronted, etc is also a good option.
• Protect your customers: Since the customer is the king in any business, ensure that your customers’ information is in safe hands. Investing in securing your customers’ data by providing a safe environment for online transactions should be the top priority for any business.
• Cyber security insurance: Cyber liability insurance is a great choice to cover costs for your business in the case of a cyber-attack. Since not merely database repair is caused by a cyberattack, it is suggested that businesses consider cyber security insurance.
• Get advice on cyber security: There are many experts in the field of cyber security. It is best to prepare for adversity than experiencing it first-hand. Hence, taking advice from the right channels helps businesses prepare for and respond to cyber threats
With the cloud hovering over our lives with all our data it is imperative to protect our cloud space. The Digital India program is making more businesses shift gear to the digital route. This opens the door for cyber mishaps. Large technology firms should collaborate and create solutions to increase security for their customers. Developing robust, community-based cyberculture would be key in preventing such untoward instances.