Imagine waking up one day only to realize that the company you work for has been hacked. Your files are missing, bank accounts are hijacked, and sensitive information is on the loose. Although this sounds like a rare situation, it has become more prevalent in this day and age. While there are some solutions to catching hijackers and cybercriminals, the damage done can be quite extensive. Furthermore, cyber attackers can now attack a company from many different angles. This is why, today more than ever, it is extremely important to understand cybersecurity best practices and to make sure you’re staying as protected as possible. However, cybersecurity isn’t only about protecting your infrastructure and device endpoints. There are other assets that cyber attackers have been focused on — employees. While there are many employees trained in cybersecurity best practices, many employees act carelessly when it comes to staying protected. Employees may not care about protecting the company or they may not know how to best protect their information. Whatever the case may be, ensuring top-notch cyber protection at the workplace can help prevent a disaster. Not only can a hijacking lead to the release of confidential information, but it can also result in the termination of an employee. In this post, we’ll discuss 5 cybersecurity tips for employees.
Keep an Eye on Your Devices
A top method for a cyber attack starts with the theft of important devices. Whether it’s a phone, computer, tablet, or even a notebook, these all can contain valuable information that might be used for a cyberattack. No matter how small your business is, keeping your devices safe is a best practice to follow. Devices such as laptops are very important to keep an eye on, as these can be used to stir up a great deal of confidential information. In addition, if you don’t need a password to enter into your device, it makes it that much easier for a cyberattacker to access very important material. Therefore, it’s always best to keep a close eye on your devices. If you have your devices in a public place, always have them in an arms reach. If you have to step away for a few minutes, take your devices with you. However, watching your stuff doesn’t only pertain to being in public. Even at the workplace, things get stolen and devices get hijacked. Always keep a close eye on your phone, laptop, and other devices. While this mostly pertains to large companies with many employees, small businesses too are also at risk. It’s best practice not to get careless with your devices and to always know where they are.
Practice Proper Web Browsing Techniques
Another popular way for cyberattackers to make their money happens when employees carelessly use the web. While an employee may feel that they’re doing nothing wrong, an attacker may take advantage of their careless mistakes. While there are some obvious threats that you know not to fall for, other threats aren’t so apparent. Keep reading to find out some common threats to be aware of while browsing the web.
This threat is a type of malicious code that distributes malware through online advertising. This can be hidden within an ad, included with software downloads, or embedded on a web page. What makes this so threatening is that maladvertising can be displayed on any website, even ones thought to be trustworthy.
Social Media Scams
With the explosion of social media in the last 10 years, cyberattackers have been hard at work developing scamming techniques. Whether it’s through click-jacking, phishing techniques, fake pages, or rogue applications, hackers have been very successful with these social media scams. While Facebook is a common platform used for hacking, Twitter also poses many threats. This is because Twitter is both a microblogging site and also a search engine.
Web Browsing Tips
- Don’t click on any ads or links that seem fishy
- Don’t click on links in emails
- Only interact with well-known sites
- Confirm you’re using non-fraudulent sites
- Be cautious with online downloads
Keep Mobile Devices Secure
While you might think that the biggest threat to cyberattacks involves the use of your computer, your mobile devices are also something to pay attention to. With the growing sophistication of cell phones, tablets, and laptops, hackers are chomping at the bit trying to get their hands on any of these devices. Cell phones are basically a mini-computer nowadays and tons of confidential information can be easily assessable on them. This is why mobile security is more important than ever. However, given the small size of these devices, it poses many challenges to stay safe. Since laptops and phones are getting smaller by the day, it’s now harder to keep an eye on these devices, in addition to trying not to lose them. However, there are multiple security measures you can take to ensure that your mobile devices are secure. From security apps to creative passwords, there are numerous things you can do to keep these cyberattackers at bay. Take a look at a few of these solutions below:
- Keep Devices Clean — As with most things in life, a good cleaning is usually beneficial. Same goes for your mobile devices. With so much information on such a small device, it’s vital that you clean up your device from time to time by deleting files and using an antivirus program.
- Setup a Passcode — Sometimes all it takes to stay protected from a cyberattacker is a strong password. This is the first thing that the attacker has to crack, so this is your first line of defense. Make the password unique and difficult to guess.
Keep a Clean Desk
Another tip for staying safe in the workplace involves cleaning your desk. It may sound so simple, but a messy desk has a strong chance of obtaining some important information. Remember that note you got from your boss last month? How about those files that were put on your desk last Tuesday? If you forget about these materials and they contain some confidential information, you could risk a cyberattack. Furthermore, if someone steals something from your messy desk, it can be very difficult to notice. Sometimes days or even months go by before you notice that note is missing or that folder isn’t there anymore. While you’ve gone a long period of time without even knowing these materials went missing, you could already be a victim of a cyberattack. Here are some other common mistakes to avoid:
- Leaving USB drives or phones out in the open
- Writing down usernames and passwords and leaving them on your desk
- Leaving credit cards out in the open
- Forgetting to erase notes
- Leaving confidential papers on your desk for extended periods of time
- Forgetting to lock a cabinet or drawer
Be sure to avoid these mistakes as they can make it that much easier for a cyberattacker to access your important information.
Beware of Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a fraudulent practice that involves emails being sent to entities to induce the exposure of credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, or other valuable information. Attackers may pose to be friends, family, or trusted businesses in order to gain information from an employee. Another tactic that makes these attackers successful is the appearance of authority. They may mention something requested by the CEO or something that involves some of the higher-ups. Since employees never want to disappoint the CEO, falling victim to these attacks is common. While it’s very common for an attacker to try to impersonate someone else, they might take another approach. Sometimes links are embedded into emails that will redirect the employee to a fraudulent web page, or sometimes the attacker might attach a file that can expose confidential information if downloaded. Understanding these different methods used by hijackers can help protect you from a cyber disaster. Take a look at a few other best practices below:
- Verify suspicious email requests by contacting them directly
- Utilize malware and antivirus protection programs
- Check the security of websites
- NEVER reveal personal or financial information via email
While phishing is a common technique used by cyberattackers, understanding how to protect yourself can make you well-prepared for anything that comes your way.
Say Goodbye to Cyberattackers!
Even with the many methods of attack for these cyber-hijackers, there are many things you can do to ensure you’re staying protected. While following the list above will get you well on your way to staying educated on the topic, your employers should also consider training their employees on best practices. Even if it’s done once a year, cyberattack trainings can go a very long way. Try talking to your boss about it in the next meeting or go the extra mile and talk to your whole team about it in a group discussion. Another method of protection involves hiring a company that specializes in cybersecurity. These companies are growing by the second and there are many services available for both large and small businesses. Whether you seek external resources for your cybersecurity efforts or you prefer an in-house approach, cybersecurity is something not to shy away from. Not only can a cyberattack lead to lost revenue and the exposure of confidential information, but it can also send a company burning to the ground. By using the five tips mentioned above, employees can stay safe from the trickery of cyberattackers.
LI Tech Advisors is a Long Island, New York-based Managed IT service company. When you partner with LI Tech Advisors as your next IT services company, you’ll have a partner who has over 30 years of experience working with organizations across Long Island.