How CEO Can Avoid Being A Victim Of Cyber-Attack

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We are all vulnerable to cyber attacks. No matter how safe you think you are, you can’t be safe enough. There are extremely smart cyber criminals by the millions out there who are working 24×7 to hack into your systems to steal, often, sensitive business data and frequently, seemingly innocent personal information from your machines. With the number of estimated cyber crimes in India increasing at a fast pace, we have never been more digitally exposed. The most common types of cyber attacks are through Trojans (that take you to otherwise legitimate websites), phishing (spam emails that ask for confidential information), unpatched software and network-traveling worms.

An average person uses multiple smart devices, from a laptop and PC to a tablet and smartphone, making him extremely defenseless in the face of a cyber attack. And if you are the CEO of a company, you’ve got the additional responsibility to protect sensitive company information. So, how does one identify and protect oneself from these cyber crimes? The good news is, fairly simple steps is all it takes to shield yourself and your business from these heinous crimes.

Be sure to take basic precautions to protect your home Wi-Fi, like placing the router in the middle of the house so that there’s little range available to outsiders and protect the network using WPA2 encryption and a strong password. On social networks, avoid adding people you don’t personally know and never click on shady web links, sent even by friends. Millions have been affected by clicking on links that brought their systems crashing down. Have strong passwords and do not have the same password for more than one account. It’s a hassle but one that must be endured. And of course, it’s a strict no-no to save passwords on your phone, even if your phone is password-protected. Cyber criminals don’t need to manually unlock your phone to access your data!

6 Easy steps for personal data security

- Never, ever share passwords with anyone: No legitimate company will ask you for your password for any reason whatsoever, especially your bank. As a rule, don’t use the same password for multiple services. Also, make sure that you change your passwords frequently. It’s a simple rule: anyone asking for your password can’t be your well-wisher.

Avoid using public computers: Public computers are always more vulnerable because you have no idea who all use it. Avoid them as much as you can. If you absolutely have to, make sure you wipe out the browser’s history completely and empty the trash bin before leaving.

Carefully read the permissions before installing apps: Remember all those ‘I Agree’ buttons you click without bothering to even read them? Well, they are there for a reason. Some apps ask for permission to access your contacts, email and even photos. If you blindly allow them to, they will. Be careful. Read before you agree.

Make sure a website is secure before you enter personal information: Look for 2 things, viz. a little lock on the left of the website address and an ‘https:’ instead of ‘http:’, before you enter any sensitive data like personal and banking details. If you don’t see both, don’t punch in any confidential information. As an additional step, avoid purchasing high-value items online. Restrict yourself to small-to-medium value purchases.

Back up your personal files to avoid losing them: Sometimes, despite all the precautions one takes, an attack happens. What do you do then? If you have all your data backed up, the loss is significantly reduced. So be smart and take periodical backups. One must hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Install a personal Internet security product: It the best, most assured way of securing your data. Get a good, reliable security product installed in your systems (PCs, laptops, mobile phones, tablets etc.) and make sure that they are always run before installing and downloading anything new. Keep it updated.

5 steps for business data security            

1. Keep your network secured: Hacking through the Wi-Fi is one of the most common and easiest ways to enter into your system. Once a hacker breaks the Wi-Fi code, say goodbye to all your sensitive data. Protection is easy – change your password often and do not share it with those you don’t trust.

2. Take the help of experts: There are many trained and intelligent security experts out there who know exactly how to identify the weak spots of your security system and protect them. Don’t be penny wise, pound-foolish. They are specially trained experts and will save you losses worth millions.

3. Encrypt your data: Get your company full-disk encryption tools. Turn the protection feature on and rest assured that the data is fairly safe. This isn’t a foolproof plan since it usually doesn’t work while the system is in use, but covers your safety to a large extent.

4. Install anti-virus and anti-malware and keep it updated: Hacking a network’s security is the most common way malware is installed in your system. Make sure that you have anti-malware and anti-virus installed on your PCs, laptops and even smartphones, and run it before you download anything new. Ensure that it is always updated. An out-of-date software is of little use to anyone.

5. Employee education: No matter how many precautions you take, it will amount to little if your employees do not understand the business, the risks and the safety precautions. Restrict access to personal emails and disable automatic download of attachments. Educate your employees. Win their trust. Train them and make them responsible for the security of all the information that goes through their desks.

Protecting your personal and business data is as easy as it is for hackers to break into your system. It’s a matter of who takes the first step. If you don’t, they will. Be vigilant. Be smart. There are tons of simple solutions out there!

[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Trivone Media Network's or that of CXOToday's.]