Cyber security works a lot like public health in real life. It just takes one infected computer to cause a server-wide pandemic that will spread the infection even further. This way, hackers increase the size of their botting army which they then use for their DDoS attacks, and to corrupt even more unprotected systems. It’s not only a matter of personal security but a more general public concern as well. People don’t go to work or school if they carry a highly contagious disease. The same goes with computer viruses, if one computer in your company gets infected, others will quickly follow suit.
What are the potential threats?
Cyber threats come in various shapes and forms, and new startups are their prime targets. Annoying malware and ransomware can cost your business tons of money with information leaks that can be later sold or held for ransom. Similarly, a DDoS attack can completely stop your business in its tracks. This is why it’s important for new businesses to get acquainted with all the potential threats out there and ways of successfully preventing them in the future.
The term, malware, stands for malicious software which can be any harmful software ranging from computer viruses, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, worms and other hostile or intrusive software. These software executes unauthorized operations and can harm the whole operating system and even spread beyond. Usually, you get these by downloading suspicious files over the internet or clicking fake links in messages and emails that are sent by already infected systems. This is why it is essential to take the necessary precautions to keep your startup out of harm’s way. First of all, you need to make sure that your staff members are computer literate. If this is not the case, then you need to educate them on cyber security. Secondly, set clear rules on computer usage in your company and make sure everyone adheres to those rules at all times. Many new startups take a more leisurely approach to organization and rules, which is fine, but with cyber security, there can be no compromise. Don’t allow employees to download things which are not absolutely necessary for their work, or to install new software without permission. This way, your computer hygiene will be at an all-time high, which will minimize the risk of your startup being compromised by a cyber-attack.
A DDoS attack is short for a distributed denial-of-service attack which is used to flood the incoming traffic of the victim. These attacks originate from many different sources, and hackers often use ‘zombie bots’ (computers who were previously infected with their malware) to amplify these assaults. Attacking unsuspecting startups in such ways could be done for various different reasons, some of them being blackmail, revenge or some form of ‘activism’. For example, imagine people flooding your business’ doors and physically blocking either you or your employees, as well as clients, entry to the room. This is the most simplified version of what DDoS does to your business and it can last anywhere from a few hours to indefinitely, all depending on the strength of your cyber defenses as well as the resources the hackers have at their disposal. The best way to deal with such threats is to invest in better quality firewalls that can filter the fake, junk packets, which are flooding your servers and let in legitimate ones instead. Lowering the lag as well as the stability of your servers, firewalls are your first and last line of defense against such cyber-attacks. In order to prepare for these attacks, every business should do a ‘mock-test’ to ensure that their firewalls are capable of withstanding such brute force attacks. This is called penetration testing, where highly trained professionals seek to hack and gain access to your system. As a result of these tests, you can find the weak points in your cyber defense and then reinforce them to deny malicious hackers any vulnerabilities they can exploit.
Finally, information leakage due to successful cyber breaches could also be a big risk for your business. Valuable project and client data could be erased or stolen, and then sold to a direct competitor or held for ransom. Limiting user access on your company computers is the first line of defense against such machinations. Unimportant personnel should not have full access. Instead, only a select few should have this privilege. This way you’ll ensure that, if a computer does get infected, it cannot control the whole server. Next, you want to encrypt all the most important data you have on your computers; project data, client e-mails, passwords and so on. This way, in the case of a breach, attackers cannot get away with your valuable data. If all else fails, be sure to do weekly backups in order to recover most of the lost data and minimize the damage done as much as possible.
In conclusion, cyber-attacks can have dire consequences in the form of ‘cyber pandemics’. Businesses both big and small are susceptible to attacks, and therefore should do everything in their power to stop such attacks from ever occurring in the first place.
Author: Alex Williams
My name is Alex Williams. I am a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog “http://bizzmarkblog.com”.