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The European Convention of Cybercrime details numerous computer-related crimes or cybercrimes. These include:

  • Intercepting or stealing data without permission.
  • Interfering with systems to compromise a network.
  • Stealing intellectual property or otherwise infringing.
  • Gambling not authorized by relevant personnel.
  • Sale of illegal items online.
  • Soliciting, producing or possessing child pornography.

And despite the admittedly wide net it casts; it only scratches the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cybercrimes. Truth is, cybercrimes are as diverse as there are criminals. It’s much more fun (and easier to get creative) with breaking the rules than it is to protecting assets. Your attacker could be a classmate just hacking his/ her way to your system to pull a prank or it could be an organized syndicate from a different country targeting your organization for extortion.

Cybercrimes have evolved much beyond the days when a basic anti-virus/ anti-malware program could be enough to keep your system protected. And the only way to stay safe these days is to constantly educate yourself on the new trends, learn to recognize patterns in cyber threats (malicious mails, spoofed websites etc.) and always keep your data protected. 

What is Cybercrime? 

Any criminal activity that takes place primarily online or using online resources can be labelled as a cybercrime. Cybercriminals can either target systems or use systems to carry out malicious activities against individuals or businesses. These can include anything from security breaches, impersonation, anonymous threats or emotional harassment, personal information theft, extortion, planning or carrying out illegal sales or, terrorist activities and more.

Given the range of evolving cyber security threats, how do you keep your systems and networks protected from breaches?

Here are our top 10 ways to protect your business data:  

1. Use a full-service Internet security suite – Real-time protection makes a lot of difference in blocking you against a major chunk of all emerging malware and helps secure connections when you send sensitive information using the Internet, such as, financial and identity details and more. 

2. Educate your co-workers: With almost all workers going exclusively remote, it is more important than ever to make them aware of the persistent threats of the Internet. Please include regular drills and friendly reminders about not opening links unless they are absolutely sure of its authenticity, not opening attachments in bulk or spam emails and more. 

3. Keep your software and operating system updated – Most of the times criminals don’t need to find a way to enter a network – they simply emploit existing vulnerabilities. Your best bet for protection in these cases is to simply keep all company software and OS updated. 

4. Always update patches on time – With the rising rate of security incidences growing every day, you cannot afford to keep patches open anymore. Automating patch management or contracting a third-party provider to take care of end-to-end patch management can be a good way to stay ahead of the endless patching cycles.  

5. Implement email security solutions and phishing simulations – Anti-spam filters embedded in email platforms or antivirus programs are no longer enough to protect your sensitive information. This can be seen in the increasing numbers of business email compromises, phishing, spoofed website links and various other threats that all originate with emails. To protect your business, you should consider looking into third-party solutions, such as, anti phishing platforms and email signing certificates.

Anti phishing platforms automatically parses through incoming emails and can identify and/ or quarantine emails with potentially harmful content. On the other hand, email signing certificates allow users to verify senders with their digitally signed and encrypted email content to prevent eavesdropping and the chance of email tampering. 

6. Block fake websites and report them – While phishing emails have always been used for illegally obtaining sensitive information such as login details for bank accounts and more, the pandemic threw open another lucrative opportunity for criminals – appeals for charity and donations apparently sent by trusted sources such as, the business leaders at your organization!

If you click on these links, you will land on spoofed websites that look like an exact replica of highly trusted charitable institutions, such as, Red Cross, Amnesty International etc. The only way to act against these fraudulent websites is to block them as soon as you become aware of their existence and alert your regional/ national cybercrime agencies. 

7. Conduct regular penetration testing – Rigorous and regular penetration testing is the only way to protect your business data from becoming vulnerable. Thorough testing can help you understand your systemic vulnerabilities and stay ahead of them before hackers get a chance to exploit the same.

8. Secure your endpoint mobile devices – With employees on remote work for the foreseeable future, it’s incredibly important to secure all portable mobile devices that act as endpoints for your office network. Irrespective of personal or business ownership, these devices must always be updated with the latest endpoint protection systems and all applicable security patches. Deny access entry to all devices without the requisite security signoffs and patches to access sensitive company information. Implementing a zero trust approach towards network access can be very helpful in ensuring endpoint security.

9. The right SecOps strategies can safeguard you – With the evolving threat landscape, you have to constantly review your existing security and operations practices to make sure they are updated enough to stand up to the complexities of the security challenges facing us. Automation can be your best friend in protecting against the rising incidence of attacks and the propensity of human error in judgment.  

10. Restrict/ control app usage in office – It maybe an unpopular step with employees, but the security payoffs of controlling usage of all applications in an office environment is huge. Routine asset management practices should include checking the security credentials of all services and reveal the apps that don’t meet your stated security, privacy, and data integrity requirements. 

PennComp is a pioneer in IT Security Houston and can help you review your security practices and implement stricter policy control and technological implementation. Over the years, we have helped over 500 clients achieve a near-zero track record of cyber security incidents. We can help you do the same.

 

Scott Young

Scott Young

Scott Young, is the president of PennComp LLC, an IT Support Houston company. Being a CPA, Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, Change Management Certified and Myers Briggs Qualified, Scott’s expertise is reflected in PennComp as a leading IT company for computer services and network integration. PennComp utilizes Six Sigma methodologies and practices in their service delivery and offers state-of-the-art monitoring and management tools to their clients.