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You Can’t Afford To Be Complacent About Cybersecurity

Cybercriminals are targeting everything from networks to inboxes as they fine-tune their instruments of disruption and destruction.

How strong are your defences?

In last week’s blog post, we looked at digital identity management and why it’s essential to control access to your important assets and sensitive data. Compromised or stolen user credentials (including login names and passwords) are sometimes the only things required for hackers to penetrate business systems. But the most efficient villains in cyberspace are arguably the ones expanding their toolsets, refining their methods, and adapting their strategies. To combat their efforts, you must do the same – and more.

How many times have you seen the words “hacked” and “breached” in news headlines this year? Two industry studies – Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report and Cisco’s Annual Cybersecurity Report – recently documented the most prevalent threats in the digital domain. Malware was highlighted as a growing problem.

A menace in the virtual world

Malware is the term for any kind of malicious software that’s designed to disrupt, harm or gain unauthorised access to a computer system. From the intrusive to the blatantly hostile, malware can take the form of a computer virus or worm, a Trojan horse, or even a piece of ransomware. The program code is created for a specific, nefarious purpose.

Computer viruses and worms were some of the earliest forms of malware. Viruses delete, corrupt, or steal data, and are capable of spreading from one infected computer to another. Worms spread copies of themselves from machine to machine, without any human involvement, and leverage networks to replicate rapidly.

Trojan horse malware masquerades as something else, much like its wooden namesake from Greek mythology. Computers become infected when people download insidious programs or applications disguised as legitimate resources. Trojan horses can be exploited to give hackers remote access to impaired computers, or to record sensitive data through keystroke logging.

Ransomware is an apt name for the type of malware that effectively limits or blocks access to files, folders, or systems until a ransom is paid. In some of the most prominent cases last year, cybercriminals encrypted, stole, or threatened to publish sensitive data belonging to banks, law enforcement agencies and corporate institutions unless they received hefty sums of money.

Malware is a formidable weapon in an attacker’s arsenal, but it’s certainly not the only one. Have you done enough to protect your network from sophisticated security threats?

Effective security is a team sport

You’ve heard that proverb about chains and weak links, right? We’d argue that the same applies for networks and people… The security of your network depends, in part, on the people connected to it. And if those people are ignorant about best practice, or complacent about passwords, or nonchalant about the perils of cyberspace, then your system could be vulnerable.

In modern enterprises, networks are often the foundations of all digital architecture. From enabling communication to supporting software and applications, networks are critical pathways for productivity. And that means they need to be protected – from internal and external threats. Creating a culture of awareness within your organisation is an important step. Get your employees involved by educating them about the latest cyber threats (especially those associated with the tools they use every day, like email) and the importance of people-centric enhanced security measures (like multi-factor authentication for account logins).

If your people are informed and aware, then they’ll be better equipped to identify and report any unusual or suspicious network activity. Early detection is critical in any threat scenario, and your IT staff would likely welcome business-wide vigilance.

Is your business challenged around cyber security and identity management? BUI’s experts have in-depth knowledge and experience across several next-generation solutions that are redefining the way the world looks at information security. Ask us about cyber security consulting, penetration testing, and vulnerability scanning. We’ll help you strengthen your security posture.

BUI is an official Microsoft Partner in South Africa, and an award-winning leader in identity and security solutions.

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