As it gets easier to conduct businesses and related transactions online, the risks also multiply with cyber crimes manifesting on an alarming rate.
Even though the concept of Digital India is becoming a better-realised vision every day, Indians are far from safe from cyber crimes. When it comes to e-commerce and online business transactions, the Indian corporate and the small businesses are witnessing the highest number of cyber crimes in the absence of strict corporate data protection laws and lack of expertise among investigating agencies.
EY India’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Report stated that two-thirds of businesses were unable to detect a cyber incident in real-time due to insufficient understanding of the motive behind the attack. The report says, “Almost 89 pc of the respondents stated a need to enhance cyber laws, 55 pc laws needed to be strengthened and 34 pc called for greater clarity over these laws.” The report is based on 160 in-depth interviews with senior and mid-management of various companies. Over 50 pc of the respondents were employed in listed companies.
Here are some easy steps that you can adopt today to save your business from hackers, money mules, rogue system providers, carders, unwanted programmers and cyber thieves.
- Protect your system
The first step towards protection from cyber crimes begins with protecting the computers. It is advisable to use the latest and updated anti-virus software to guard against cyber attacks and viruses. However, for safety reasons, always keep a backup of your data on a cloud platform or an external hard disk. In addition to this, install firewalls for enhanced protection.
A firewall monitors all of the traffic entering your computer network. A two-way firewall does double duty and monitors the traffic exiting your network as well. Information is sent over networks in packets. Those packets are what the firewall investigates to determine if there’s something they contain that’s potentially hazardous to your network’s security. Without firewall security, a hacker could get a hold of your computer and make it a part of what’s called a botnet, which is a large group of computers used to conduct illicit activity, such as spreading viruses. A firewall also provides safety against Trojan horses that can affect and slow down your system.
2. Update regularly
As simple as it sounds, updating your operating system is an essential step towards preventing cyber attacks that can potentially harm your business. The Operating System (OS) on your computers are responsible for controlling the functioning of those systems, including your private and sensitive information. Software developers take the security of their users into consideration when developing OS. When you update to the latest version, it eliminates any existing bug and upgrades security vulnerability fixes. It is also important to upgrade the different software in the system regularly, just like the OS.
A software vulnerability is usually a security hole or weakness found in an operating system or software program. Hackers exploit this weakness by writing code to target a specific vulnerability, which is packaged into malware. These exploits can infect your computer with no action on your part other than viewing a website, opening a compromised message, or playing infected media.
Once it infects your computer, this malware can then steal data, allowing the attacker to gain control over your computer, and even use the software in a way that it was not originally intended. Hence, updates are very important!
3. Monitored access to sensitive information
It is very important to monitor and regulate sensitive information about your business. If such information is accessible to everyone, it increases chances of cyber theft and hacking. Password-protect sensitive information to prevent it from being accessible to everyone. Make sure that the password contains numbers, special cases and alphabets in running and capital letters and ensure that it is frequently revised. Here is an example of a strong password- A$trongPa$$word7291#
Create an internal policy, make sure that employees are taught the basics of cyber safety and follow the protocol that will prevent sensitive information from being shared among themselves or with external agents.
Employees should always be on the lookout for emails with suspicious attachments, messages that ask for personal or credit card information and emails that make requests for immediate action. Sophisticated phishing attacks, known as spear phishing, appear to come from individuals that you know, and employees should be alert about these potential threats.
With the right training, employees can effectively deal with these threats and ensure that viruses and malware are not downloaded. Where potential threats have been identified, one should ensure that everyone in the organisation is aware, to avoid others from becoming victims to the same incident.
4. Hire a security expert
It is always better to have a pro that has your back. A security expert, more fondly referred to as ‘ethical hackers’ can detect security breaches that may affect your business while finding a solution to fix those breaches. In case of an intrusion, a security expert will engage in damage control to prevent it from maximising.