Ask Tech Effect: Am I Really At Risk?
Cybersecurity seems to be the first thing on every technology expert’s mind, and the last thing on a customer’s list of top priorities.
Despite the number of high profile attacks that companies encounter, and the growing trend of ransomware, security still remains a low priority in the eyes of people.
This leads to a lot of unawareness and wilful ignorance about the effects of not having good security. A lack of security is a great way to encourage cybercrime to grow, and yet many people don’t think of themselves to be at risk of an attack.
With such a high number of users in the world, security solutions being touted everywhere and growing education about basic security, people think they are protected from the threat, or that it won’t affect them.
Unfortunately, criminals are still doing their best to target people, and it won’t stop.
People might have heard about webcams that are used by hackers even when they are not turned off, and even information hacks that have put even ordinary people’s information into the hands of criminals with poor intent.
We’ve written about greater awareness for security before, but it is worth mentioning again because it is important for business owners, employees and even regular home users to remember.
IT security is important, and even the basic steps provide a good foundation that will prevent your data from being at risk.
For Home Users: Information You Don’t Want Others To See
Home users don’t think of themselves as the target for hackers. After all, there’s not much in terms of multi-million dollar data or information that would be sitting on their home computer.
Most individuals don’t have lots of money lying around or have information worth stealing. After all, the worst you could probably steal is a family photo that’s already on Facebook.
Unfortunately, it is BECAUSE people don’t think that they don’t have anything valuable that makes them good targets.
The phrase “You never know how valuable something is until you lose it” is somewhat relevant here.
People don’t understand how valuable their own personal information can be until it’s stolen by hackers.
But in the case of home users, it’s not often that you will see people stealing your information from your computer.
Instead, they will be looking for other things, such as webcams that you don’t cover, or private texts/images that you send to people.
Are these valuable? At first glance they seem like things that you would only have personal value for. Unfortunately, they are often things that you don’t want others to see.
It happens a lot, when we take pictures or record videos that are seemingly private that may contain images or footage of you doing silly things, and you think no one else can see this.
Hackers are on the prowl for unsuspecting people, and are able to capture those media files. They then contact you, saying they have footage of you and will upload it for everyone to see unless you do something.
Then you start to realize how much money you have, and the value of the media that you thought you didn’t want people to see.
Blackmail cases like this are not uncommon. You have occasionally seen stories like this on the Internet or on local news, and if you have ever seen a victim talk about it, it is crushing and depressing.
You might not have even done anything, but still get texts or messages from people that say that you have done something and you need to see it.
Thankfully, the attacks don’t have to devolve into something major. While the advice “don’t post what you wouldn’t want others seeing” comes into mind, that doesn’t address cases where media was captured without your permission, nor will it really change anyone’s behaviour.
Basic security tips such as covering your webcam (especially if it inbuilt), having good file management and knowledge of basic Internet security can be enough to stop a lot of threats.
A good anti-virus program and routine computer check-ups will address anything else that can’t be covered by poor media such as virus attacks.
For Employees: Falling Victim To Unintentional Traps
Companies are known for having very strong IT security, set up by their IT support or IT department. Going up against these systems is not a winning strategy for hackers or cybercriminals, as their attempts will often be blocked off.
In order to get past these systems, as well as IT support monitoring, hackers will resort to looking at employees to give them the opening they need.
This sounds rather counter-intuitive, as employees wouldn’t want to jeopardize their company or their job on purpose.
However, hackers know how to reach out to employees with emails and documents that look official, but come attached with software that runs to get access to the system. All this happens without the employee knowing, otherwise they’d react.
You would think it sounds silly, or that people wouldn’t let this happen.
These tactics succeed because people don’t pay close attention. They unwillingly interact with these files, which allows hackers to gain access to the system and get files that they want.
For companies, it helps to have IT support teach employees about basic security checks, and how to identify suspicious emails.
Will this sound patronizing at first? Most likely.
However, if you weigh up the cost of a simple lesson to an accidental compromise of a system that you invested a lot of money and time into, it is worth teaching employees how to avoid suspicious files.
For Companies: Not Investing In IT Security
Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs. It’s not a bad thing, as companies should try to avoid unnecessary costs.
This may extend to IT, as companies are just looking for basic IT support from a company. They might not be interested in solutions or projects that could help boost employee productivity and protect their files.
Owners might think it is an unnecessary expense for a threat that isn’t likely to happen.
Unfortunately, this is wilful ignorance, as you are aware of a threat and are not willing to do anything about it, believing that you wouldn’t have anything worth taking.
Your customers might not agree with you.
In an age where a majority of our interactions will be online, it is important that people have their information protected. If a company was constantly subject to or falling victim to information theft, the level of trust can rapidly decline.
All you have to do is look at large companies who have been hit with attacks and the level of trust afterwards to see what one simple attack can do to your business.
There is a way to prevent this from happening, and that’s getting good quality IT support.
Whether you choose to outsource it to a managed IT services company, hire your own team or bring on a larger company, you will have access to experts who do their best to ensure that your company is protected, as well as shielded against any future threats.
You will have teams of experts who are trained to protect you and your company so that you don’t have to worry about security and can focus on what you do best.
Providing the best products/services to the population to improve their lives.
The Risk Is Real, But So Are The Solutions
It is not a fact that many people want to admit, but IT security is something that people really need to be concerned about.
The level of threats is only going to grow, and you shouldn’t think that you can’t be a potential target. As more technology is used, there are more ways for criminals to access information that they need to blackmail you.
That doesn’t mean you have to remain helpless. There is always something that you can do to protect yourself, whether it is at home, as an employee or as a business owner.
It doesn’t have to require a lot of effort, and the investment is almost always worth it.
But you have to realize the truth now and act, before it hits you and you are unprepared.