Is Your Data In Danger?

As computer technology, fast internet, and tech knowledge become more accessible, the tech danger landscape changes.

Sure, there might be more options to be safer, but there are also a lot more bad actors with the curiosity, bad intentions, and greed to take advantage of people who only react after danger strikes.

Avoid being a victim of the more common business tech risks. Take a look at these business tech weak points to understand the unethical hacker and how you can defend your business.

New Computers Need Anti-Virus Configuration

Many businesses–especially small businesses and home offices–use standard desktops, laptops, and mobile devices as their main business technology.

The user experience for modern computers has become so seamless that configuration is nothing more than clicking “next” in many cases, and the wording on new computers sounds like a normal conversation.

Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of missed opportunities and vulnerabilities.

Because of the complexity that comes with installing multiple programs–especially anti-viruses–your new computer systems may still be vulnerable even if a “built-in” security system claims to protect your computer.

What is your anti-virus program? Are you sure that it’s an anti-virus and not a virus removal program? When was the last time it updated? Can you point at a date and time for that update?

For many computer owners, the answer to those simple questions can be shocking. Many new computers ship with a big name brand anti-virus program with maybe a year of virus protection, and the expiration can be waved away as a nuisance to handle later.

In some situations, people install virus removal programs and wonder why viruses keep appearing. The terminology is specific on purpose; virus removal simply removes viruses, while anti-virus programs are designed to detect and block virus threats.

If you’re paying for active anti-virus security, you need a program that performs both protection and removal. If nothing else, make sure that you have a strong anti-virus system and an up-to-date virus removal suite built into it. In rare circumstances, you’ll simply need to try different virus removal tools.

Check the anti-virus program for updates and take note of the date and the time. Visit the site’s official website and check for update details, and consult a business technology professional to get their opinion on whether your program is doing well in the anti-virus industry.

Social Engineering Awareness

Social engineering is one of the biggest reasons that tech security remains a problem for many companies.

Outside of people who simply don’t know how to use computers and aside from the newest and most dangerous viruses in the open internet, social engineering creates massive vulnerabilities simply by targeting the people that can take down security from the inside: you and your employees.

Not everyone is equipped to question authority and validity without training. Think about any kind of verification process where a caller or email-sender needs to provide information.

The name, address, and personal identification (PIN) number are often referenced. It’s not just to link up to your business files; this information must be used to make sure you’re talking to someone who is authorized to access information.

For customer service departments, bad verification means possibly giving your customer’s data away to undesirable people. It could be a thief trying to get into the accounts of a new target, or it could be a family member or close contact of the customer who shouldn’t have access, but knows some of the information.

Customer data isn’t the only thing at risk. Many forms of social engineering involve pretending to be a co-worker, an authority figure inside the computer, or an outside authority such as a government agent or law enforcement officer.

Social engineering experts will research a business to figure out what departments exist, which types of callers may be able to demand sensitive information, and which employees are likely to be weak points.

What if someone pretends to be an angry tax collector who is ready to take down the company? Are you sure that all of your employees are trained to see through the act? Beyond that, are any of your employees likely to crumble under pressure just because someone raises their voice?

There are other, more subtle ways to get into a company with social engineering. Here are a few popular schemes that social engineering experts use to get into companies:

Fake invoice. Accounts payable and receivable departments can get hectic. There are a lot of numbers and a lot of orders in many businesses, and it’s easy to get into a routine.

Scammers may draft a fake invoice that looks like something your business might order, or a service that needs to be paid. There could be a lot of small purchases that look like different orders and businesses, but it all adds up in the scammer’s pocket.

For this reason, invoice control through proper identification and serial number or other labels must be used.

Quid Pro Quo. This scam involves making the victim think that they’re getting something and that cooperating with the request is proper business procedure.

One example involves calling the victim and pretending to be returning a call for technical support. If the business often has technical issues, a victim may not hesitate to follow directions in order to get the problem solved.

These directions could involve installing legitimate remote access programs, which allow an illegitimate technician to get the information they need without showing signs of virus infection or what a non-technician would consider hacking.

Advance-fee scam. This is also known as the Nigerian 419 scam, named after the Nigerian Criminal Code section that outlines fraud policy. A scammer–usually through email–will pretend to be a banker, lawyer, or other person who manages a large sum of money that they promise to share with the victim for a fee.

There is no large sum of money to deliver. The scammer receives the payments at fake accounts and continues asking for more fees to see how far the victim will go.

Employee Training Is Vital

Viruses, confidence scams, and other break-ins rarely just “happen”. There is always the chance that a rival or random thief will physically break into your business and steal something or tamper with your equipment, but there are much more common and frequent risks to worry about.

The biggest vulnerability in business security is the people. If you, your employees, or even your stakeholders and investors are allowing threats into the system, any expensive defenses you implement will be weaker.

The anti-virus industry is probably one of the more user friendly, mistake-supporting industries to help you when an employee allows a threat to enter the business. A good anti-virus will block viruses that could launch because of an employee’s curiosity or lack of tech awareness, but it’s no substitute for good training.

Business security training is a lot more than telling people not to click strange links. There are many common risks that seem like common sense when discussed one-to-one, but the real life situations can get tricky.

Consider the phishing section. There are so many scenarios to cover, with many “what if” and “what about” situations that happen in every major tech training event. Instead of fielding those questions and digging through decades of tech security research, it may be better to bring in a trained expert.

To teach business technology and data security, you need more than a technician, an engineer, or a nerd. Security training experts know the best practices for tech security and training, which means knowing how to break down certain concepts in ways that people at different tech levels can understand.

A training team needs to be able to teach complete computer novices while simultaneously reigning in advanced tech users who may want to test the limits.

To harden your business technology defenses, track your tech security performance, implement a tech security training plan, and get in contact with information security training as soon as possible.

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