Cyber security is a very serious issue which should be looked at by every person and firm who is connected to the internet. Cyber attacks can happen to anyone but the weaker your network the easier you will be to target.
The result of a cyber attack can be simple disruption, harmful and malignant use of your data and resources or your data can be stolen, allowing identity theft to occur.
To help mitigate your risk of cyber attack it is important to be aware of the ten most common cyber security myths.
- Cyber Risk Needs to be Dealt With on its Own
Many firms and experts will tell you that cyber risk is a specialized and unique form of risk. You will need to address it in its own right and develop policies specific to the cyber risk your face.
This is simply not the case! Cyber risk covers all the risks you face, every time you go online and even when you don’t; if your systems are still connected. The right approach to cyber risk is to include it with all the risks you face. Deal with them all by creating a strong defense network and staying watchful.
- Your IT Team Will Deal With Cyber Security
This is the easiest approach for many people. They use the computer everyday but do not deal with viruses or malware; that is the job of the IT department. The same attitude often prevails when people are talking about cyber security. The assumption is that the IT department will take care of it.
Whilst it is certainly true that a good IT department will work hard to create good cyber defenses; they cannot succeed by themselves. A good defense system; against all online threats must involve every member of staff. It only takes one click on a dubious link by one member of staff to let a cyber attacker into your system! Every member of staff is responsible for cyber security.
- Physical Security is Unrelated to Cyber Security
In the past this statement was largely true. However, the smart world is taking over. Now, virtually everything can be connected to your network. The lift can be coded to your fingerprint, voice or even your iris. Even the photocopier is linked to the network.
The result is that a cyber attack could arrive from any of these destinations. They will always target the weakest spot and this is usually when people are away from their desks. Leaving your computer does not mean you are not still connected to the network and should take the right precautions!
- Return to Paper
There are those that argue a paper society would never be under cyber attack. Aside from the fact that the connectivity between businesses and customers would be severely damaged, this is actually not true!
Paper copies are easier to borrow or steal than information stored on a computer. You will also need to log on from time to time to update essential information. Sporadic network access has been linked with a decrease in updates and general cyber security; leaving you more open to attack than if you were using the systems all the time!
- Blocking the hackers is Enough
Whilst this theory may sound good it is not actually sufficient to focus on blocking the hackers from your system. The sheer number of hackers online and the vulnerabilities in your system means that a hack will be inevitable if you only ever defend against them.
This is because your defense responds to known issues; a hacker will simply create a new route to get past your cyber security. Instead, you should focus on being pro-active. Your system should be designed to locate any unauthorized activity the moment it happens and then take action to prevent it from doing harm.
- Small Businesses are not a Target
You will have heard of some of the large scale hacks which have happened in recent years; this is because they are exceptionally newsworthy. Unfortunately this makes it easy to believe that cyber security is something for big businesses to worry about.
However, for every large scale attack there are hundreds of small scale ones. These are aimed at small businesses which hackers generally believe do not have satisfactory cyber defense. The result is ransomware and a small fee to release your data. This is a good earner for the hacker and barely worth reporting for the small business.
- Computer Manufacturers Should Secure Their Devices
It would seem like a simple solution; every manufacturer creates a product which cannot be hacked; allowing you to roam the internet to your heart’s content. However, there is a problem with this approach to cyber security.
Whilst large organizations, such as Microsoft, do everything they can to ensure their products are secure; they cannot control what individuals do after they have taken the software.
Any user can load additional apps or even adjust the software and make it more vulnerable. In addition cyber attackers are generally evolving and adapting so that you would need new software every week to stay ahead of them!
- My data is not Worth Stealing
This is one of the most common cyber security myths. Individuals and small businesses believe they are inconsequential in the scheme of things. After all, what data do you have that a cyber attacker could possibly want?
The fact is that your personal data is valuable. A cyber attacker can obtain access to your systems and your finances. However, in reality it is easier for them to take your personal details and obtain credit in your name. By the time you or the credit company has realized what has happened they have go the funds and vanished; leaving you with a large headache.
Small businesses targeted in this way can actually be crippled!
- I Use Anti-Virus protection
Whilst it is good to have anti-virus software on your device it is not enough by itself. Unfortunately many anti-virus software packages have been corrupted by cyber attackers. In some cases their codes have been left within the software for up to six months. During that time they gain access to your computer and can insert ransomware which you will have to pay them to remove.
The only way to defend against these types of attacks is to have a fast response and a vigilant outlook. This will allow you to avoid most attacks and solve any that do get through before they cause any damage.
- Data is the Target
Many firms spend hours locking up their data to ensure that no cyber attacker can access it. This is because people traditionally see any attack as an attempt to get the data and use it for their own means.
However, this is not always the case. A cyber attack can simply insert malware known as a denial of service. The result is not stolen data, but data that no one can access.
This can be done simply to be nasty or to damage your business whilst another profits.
It is important to note that there will always be myths regarding cyber security. However, the best approach is to stay vigilant and be proactive. Constantly looking for weaknesses I your system and being aware of the latest line of attacks will help you to stay safe.