Cyber security means protecting your IT systems from malware.
The practice covers a range of strategies and tactics that keep computers, servers, smartphones, networks, and data safe from would-be hackers. Some people call it information technology security; others, electronic information security. No matter your preferred title, it’s now commonplace for businesses to use a cyber security company.
Keen to know more?
…Let’s dive in.
6 Types Of Cyber Security Services
The term ‘cyber security’ can apply to various contexts, covering everything from business networks to mobile computing. That said, a cyber security company will typically offer up to six different categories of service:
- Network Security: The practice of securing a computer network from potential intruders, including hackers and malware.
- Application Security: A more focused service, keeping specific software or devices safe from cyber threats.
- Information Security: Safeguarding the integrity and privacy of sensitive data, both in storage and transit.
- Operational Security: The processes for handling data protection and user permissions when accessing an IT network.
- Business Continuity: The planned response to threats, like the specific disaster recovery services used to restore operations.
- End-user Education: The process of keeping your people informed of the best cyber security practices, eliminating the upfront threat.
With upwards of 7.9 billion records exposed following data breaches in the first nine months of 2019, it’s clear that companies need to approach every category seriously. That’s because every bit of data has value, leading criminals to look for any vulnerability. And if they find a weakness, how do malicious actors then steal data?
They have a selection of tools at their disposal — here’s a rundown of the most common.
Malware is malicious software. It’s the most common cyber threat, used by hackers to disrupt or damage an end user’s device. Criminals often use email attachments or supposedly legitimate downloads to install malware on computers. Once installed, hackers can use it for all types of criminal activity with the main threats to look out for being:
- Viruses: Self-replicating software that attaches to regular files before infecting an entire system with malicious code.
- Ransomware: A virus that locks down the user’s computer, preventing access to files until someone pays a ransom.
- Spyware: Software that tracks and records a user’s actions (like inputting payment information) before relaying the details back to the cyber-criminal.
- Trojans: A little like spyware, Trojans sneak onto a device disguised as legitimate software before collecting data or causing damage.
- Botnets: A network of infected computers used to perform other cyber-crimes without the device owner’s permission.
Cyber-criminals use phishing to target people with innocent-looking emails that aim to trick the recipient into sharing sensitive information. Phishing emails often include a link to a third-party website that usually asks for bank account details or credit card numbers.
Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack
A DoS attack prevents a device from carrying out requests — like loading a website — by overwhelming a server with traffic. The overload causes the network to crash, rendering the system unusable, and bringing digital operations to a halt.
A structured language query (SQL) injection takes control of a database to steal data. Cyber-criminals use SQL injections to exploit software weaknesses by inserting malicious code, which ultimately gives the hacker access to all data.
Cyber-criminals can act as a ‘man-in-the-middle’ by exploiting weaknesses in an unsecured WiFi network, then intercept communications between two parties. The hacker can even use the connection to steal data that’s passing over the unencrypted network.
How Antivirus Software Protects Against Cyber-threats?
Despite the worrying range of malware, there are several ways to eliminate cyber-threats: with one of the best cyber security choices for a small business to deploy being end-user protection.
End-user protection focuses on preventing individuals from accidentally uploading malware to their device, typically using antivirus software. At the same time, the software encrypts emails, files, and other sensitive data to stop would-be hackers from accessing it. The best antivirus software even scans devices for potentially malicious code, quarantines anything that looks suspicious, then deletes it from the machine.
Then, there are solutions that employ behavioral analysis to monitor how programs work on an ongoing basis. Such software can spot cyber risks, like Trojans, by identifying programs that have started acting strangely before confining the threat to a ‘virtual bubble.’ If the software is indeed malicious, not only will the antivirus software delete the program.
It will learn from the event to better detect similar risks in the future.
5 Cyber Security Tips Everyone Should Follow
Security software continues to evolve at a rapid pace, as do security threats. That’s why everyone should follow cyber security best-practice to stay safe online. But what does best-practice actually mean?
In truth, it boils down to five fundamental steps:
- Use the right end-user protection: antivirus software eliminates most cyber security threats, just be sure to use a paid-for version.
- Update software regularly: whether it’s your antivirus software or your operating system, you must update them to benefit from the latest security patches.
- Pick strong passwords: it’s increasingly important to use unique passwords for every account, store them in a password manager if you need help remembering them.
- Don’t click strange links or attachments: if you receive an email or a text message from an unknown sender, do not click links or download attachments.
- Avoid using unsecured WiFi: if you’re out and about, resist the urge to log in to an unsecured WiFi network, but if you need to check your email, use a VPN.
If you need cyber security for your small business, feel free to get in touch at 207-223-7594 for some free, no-obligation advice.