6 Ways to Prevent a Cyber Attack Today

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image depicting a hacker using a laptop


In today’s economy, where working from home is quickly becoming the norm, and businesses rely on the Internet, you’d be right to think that the Internet helps us be more connected and competitive than ever before. 


Unfortunately, it also means that it’s never been easier for cybercriminals to get a hold of our private information, steal our customers’ details, or hold our systems hostage.


At F12, we’ve been working with small and medium businesses for decades, helping them stay safe in an increasingly hostile Internet environment. Here are our top tips for protecting your business against a cyber-attack. 


1. Strengthen Your Login Details

With an estimated 81% of adults using the same password for everything, it makes it remarkably easy for cybercriminals to brute force their way into any online account. 


To counter this, make sure that your essential passwords don’t contain any information that could be easily discovered – such as your street address or age. The longer the password, the better. So, try using a phrase rather than a word. Make it memorable, so you don’t need to write it down.


           OK Password: D0llhous3

           Better password: *My Dollhouse was blue!


If you must use a short password on some website or service, then, by all means, add in special characters and numbers. Also, email that company requesting it improve its security practices.


Most importantly, make sure not to use the same password across sites and services. Change your critical passwords often and whenever you suspect anyone else knows it. If you have employees with online access, train them on this policy. 


We strongly urge using two-factor authentication on your work accounts to make them even more secure. Go further, use two-factor authentication wherever possible in your personal and professional life.


2. Compartmentalize Data

If you have employees who work online, ask yourself what data they need access to and for what purposes. By controlling who can access what information, you’re effectively managing the risk of that data being lost, mishandled, or compromised. 


With that in mind, when you onboard a new employee, take time to make sure that they only have access to the data they need. You should also set up your IT so that only people who need administrative access have it. 


3. Use Trusted Antivirus Software

Antivirus software, mainly free versions, can be ineffective in preventing modern attacks. With that in mind, you need to make sure that you download a trusted antivirus software package from a well-known provider. Some legitimate cybersecurity software providers do have free versions of their antivirus software, so you can still protect your company on a budget. 


For businesses, you should have managed antivirus deployed on all our endpoint devices. With managed antivirus, a service provider makes sure the antivirus is up to date and functioning. 


4. Use HTTPS 

If you handle customer data through your website, then you must install an SSL certificate to your website. This will upgrade your domain to HTTPS, signifying that a customer’s connection with your server is secure. An SSL certificate ensures that all information that a customer submits is encrypted before it leaves their device, preventing hackers from intercepting and reading their data. 


5. Train Your Employees

According to ComputerWeekly.com, 84% of cybercrime victims attribute the attack, at least in part, to human error. That’s why it’s vital to train any employee who uses the Internet while at work to do so safely and to continuously re-train those employees, so they don’t slip up. 


This training should involve:

● How to recognize fraudulent emails

● How to recognize potential malware links in emails or other online correspondence, 

● Two-factor authentication, 

● Creating and maintaining strong password protections, 

● The importance of locking computers when away from your desk


6. Hire an IT Professional

Paying for an IT consultant or representative is one of the best things you can do to prevent a cyber-attack. While you may not have the budget to hire an in-house IT professional or team, a Managed Service Provider can inspect your systems and processes and suggest areas for you to improve. 


Not only that, but they’ll have a better knowledge of the current digital landscape and trends, and they’ll be able to advise you on how to stay safe against the newest threats. 


At F12, we have over 25 years of experience helping small businesses like yours secure themselves against cyber-attacks. Whether you need a security audit or want a fully managed IT service, our friendly experts will be on hand to help you with every aspect of your digital security and growth.