Since the technology to combat cybercriminals has become more advanced and sophisticated, people have become the potential weak link in the fight against cyber crime. Keeping businesses and individuals safe depends on people understanding the risks and protecting themselves.
It takes just one unwary employee to divulge their password or plug in an unauthorised device, and they could fall victim to a cyber crime attack. This could also compromise the entire network of the business they work for, or put their own personal home network at risk. Consequently, it’s crucial for people and businesses alike to stay smart online.
Palo Alto Networks is supporting the government’s Stay Smart Online Week 2017, which runs from 9 to 13 October. The theme is “simple steps to online safety”, with a focus on five key areas: privacy of your personal information; strong passwords; software updates; backing up important information; and avoiding online scams.
Cyber crime is on the rise; it’s estimated to cost Australians more than $1 billion per year, with around 43 per cent of cyberattacks targeting small businesses*.
Employees don’t usually want to harm the business they work for but it’s human nature to make mistakes, or to misunderstand the level of risk. Businesses need to educate employees and ensure they’re taking simple steps to stay smart online.”
There are three key factors that can introduce risk, and we have some ways to combat those factors:
In many cases an employee’s home network is nowhere near as secure as the corporate network, creating a vulnerability that hackers can exploit. This can be particularly lucrative if the employee accesses sensitive or commercially-valuable information from home. So, businesses must:
Hackers still steal people’s passwords and credentials because it remains one of the fastest and most effective ways to gain access to networks. There are three key components to blocking phishing attacks:
People will always be the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain but it is possible to reduce the amount of error. This includes:
Too many businesses still focus on threat detection and mitigation when they should be focusing on prevention. By strengthening their employees’ awareness of and commitment to cybersecurity, businesses can dramatically reduce the chances of a breach occurring at all.
The Stay Smart Online Alert Service is a free service that explains recent online threats and how to manage them. Businesses and individuals can sign up to the service at www.staysmartonline.gov.au or follow Stay Smart Online on Facebook.
Ian Raper, Regional Vice President – ANZ, Palo Alto Networks