The tech-driven nature of the modern world has forced most businesses to flock to IT tools in greater numbers than ever before. While most companies have embraced the IT revolution, relatively few of them have the tech-savviness needed to avoid major data breaches or similar IT scandals. Nevertheless, giving up digital tools for good is simply unaffordable for most businesses, which means that they should be taking active steps to secure themselves from today’s biggest internet security threats.
Here’s a breakdown of the 6 biggest internet security threats facing business, and what you can do to ensure you won’t be caught off-guard by them.
1. Phishing emails are still plentiful
Set some time aside to assure that your workforce is up to date on phishing awareness, as somebody pretending to be someone they’re not is perhaps the chief cybersecurity threat of the modern era. By pretending to be a legitimate business, brand, or individual, phishers send out seemingly-legitimate emails that are actually quite deceptive and at times full of malware. Until you understand how to train your employees to respond properly to phishing attempts, your business will never be secure from IT threats.
2. Be mindful of browser extensions
Outside of phishing emails, you should also be aware of the myriad of dangers presented by a browser extension. Browser extensions are usually minor and often harmless features added to popular web browsers like Google Chrome or Firefox, but some of them are actually quite harmful. For instance, some browser extensions may be collecting information on their users which they then sell to third parties. This means that your company’s critical information could be getting vacuumed up and sold to other people without you or the employees being victimized ever being aware of it in the first place.
An in-depth report from the Washington Post elucidates just how exactly browser extensions can collect information on users. You should ensure that every one of your employees has read this article, before doing a company-wide sweep to determine if harmful browser extensions have been installed on vital company equipment. To be clear, this isn’t to say that any and all browser extensions are illegitimate and that your company can’t permit any of them, but rather to note that you need to be cautious and constantly updating yourself when it comes to what’s been installed on company computers.
If your employees work from home, browser extensions that have been installed on their personal computers could also be jeopardizing important company information that they work with. Remember to always respect worker privacy, but don’t be afraid to ask your employees who work from home to do a private sweep of their own browser extensions to ensure their data isn’t being vacuumed up without their consent or awareness.
3. Social media oversharing
Social media platforms are more popular than ever before, and it seems that just about everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or a similar platform these days. While this is great insofar as interconnectivity is concerned, it can actually generate a slew of IT risks that many business owners are totally unaware of. Many people overshare on social media, for instance, and this means far more than posting too many vacation photos or late-night political rants. Sometimes, employees can post sensitive information on social media without being aware of what they’re divulging to the public. At times, your competitors may even be monitoring the social media feeds of your high-value employees to determine what’s on their mind, what they’re working on, or how they could go about incentivizing your workers to leave your company for greener pastures elsewhere.
Be aware of social media oversharing and pay particular attention to photos that are posted online. Sensitive information like written-down passwords or the specific hardware your company relies upon could be made public if somebody takes a picture without checking to see if it’s acceptable to post before they share it. Whenever you’re discussing internet privacy with employees, it’s crucial to understand that they must consider how their personal lives overlap with their professional careers in the midst of the digital age.
4. Personal devices leak data like a sieve
Despite Apple’s promises to guard user privacy, for instance, iPhones still widely share the personal information of their users in less-than-transparent ways. If you issued company phones to your workforce, consider the fact that you may have been inviting data tracking and invasive surveillance techniques into your place of business.
5. Passwords and access issues
Protecting yourself against privileged user abuse isn’t easy, as it demands that you take a close look at the people you should be able to trust the most – your workers. Privileged user abuse and other access issues remain very damaging to companies who ignore them, however, so don’t think you can brush this under the rug.
6. Links and installations
Finally, always be aware that not all links are legitimate. What you click on matters – installing the wrong application or visiting a webpage mistakenly can spell disaster for even the tech-savviest of companies. Ensure that your workers are making common-sense decisions when it comes to the links they click and things they download, and your business will have solved many IT dilemmas before they even appear.