Here are few ways to ensure your mobile phone and its valuable data is protected against hackers and malware:
1. Update your phone.
Most of us are guilty of ignoring operating system updates on our business mobile phones. However, the longer you wait to update your phone, the more out of date your systems are, making you an easier target for hackers who can easily identify and exploit system vulnerabilities.
2. Lock your device.
If your business mobile phone contains private information about you or your business, it is important to always engage the four- or six-digit passcode on your device. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts and be sure to change your password occasionally for good measure.
3. Manage app permissions.
On your mobile phone, you can grant apps permissions, like access to the camera, microphone, your contacts, your location, your pictures, and more. Be sure to keep track of which permissions you’ve given to which apps, and revoke permissions that are not completely necessary.
4. Back up your data.
Things happen, but you can always be prepared. When you back up the data on business mobile phones, you are able to protect your important documents and images in case of any loss.
5. Ignore spam and phishing emails.
One of the easiest ways for hackers to access your information is through email. Be sure you don’t click on links in promotional emails, open suspicious attachments or run updates that are promoted through emails. If you need to access sensitive information, report directly to the organization’s website to login.
Connecting the dots with business mobile phones can be confusing, time consuming and costly. For a reliable business mobile phone provider in Houston, contact the experts at WesTec today.
Follow Current Encryption PracticesEncryption practices change regularly to evolve and combat cybercriminals. Often, organizations who failed to stay up-to-date with the latest data protection trends fall victim to cyberattacks. To help protect customer data, create a recurring reminder to analyze your company’s security practices and make updates as necessary.
Limit Access to Customer InformationFor additional protection, limit who within your business can view customer data. Not every employee needs access to customers’ personal information. When only necessary employees have access to customer information, hackers have a harder time finding a weak point to break into company databases.
Don’t Ask for Unnecessary InformationAs a company, it is important to only collect the information you need to complete a transaction or service to your customer. Customers get weary when a business asks for unnecessary information. By only collecting necessary information, there is less for a hacker to steal. This protects customers and their livelihoods.
Educate All Employees on Security PolicyWhile you may limit who can view customer data, make sure every employee knows and understands the company security policy. Even though an employee may not have access to the customer database, their actions could affect the privacy of customers. For example, if someone were to take a company laptop to a coffee shop and used the open wifi, a nearby hacker could potentially break into the company’s database through the network and steal personal information.
What is Phishing?Here’s an analogy to better understand: Imagine a fisherman baiting a hook and tossing it into a lake in hopes of getting a bite. If a fish bites, the fisherman reels it in. But, if it doesn’t, the fisherman fails and the fish keeps swimming. Phishing is the same way. A cybercriminal can only gain access to your accounts or information if you fall for the bait. For example, a hacker might design an email disguised as your bank telling you your account has been compromised. They ask you to click on a link to verify your identity. If you click on the link and fill out the information, you have now provided them with the information to access your finances.
Types of PhishingHackers attempt to get victims to do one of two things to get what they want. Some cybercriminals try to trick you into giving up your information. This is similar to the bank example above. Other hackers prefer to have you download malware. Often, these types of emails will include a download attachment, often a .zip file or Microsoft document, embedded with malicious code.
How to Prevent Phishing AttacksIf you know how to spot a phishing attempt, you can avoid compromising your data and report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Here are the steps you can follow to confirm the identity of an email sender:
- Always check the spelling of URLs in email links before you click
- Watch out for URL redirects, where hackers sent you to a different website with identical design
- If you receive a suspicious email from a source you know, contact them with a new email, rather than replying
Analyze Email Advertisements and DealsMost attacks are a result of commodity malware. Scammers send phishing emails, often posing as your favorite brand, to try and steal your financial information. These emails often include misspelled words and misused grammar. If you suspect any email you receive is a scam, avoid clicking any URLs. This is how scammers steal your data or install malware on your computer. Instead, to verify the email came from the true brand, visit their website and see if they are offering the same deal.
Shop from Established BrandsSometimes deals look too good to pass up. If an unknown website is offering a seemingly impossible deal, you could be looking at an online scam designed to steal your credit card information. Shoppers can look for the https in a retailer’s site URL, compared to http. The ‘s’ stands for secure and ensures all communications between the browser and website are encrypted.
Avoid Public WiFiIf you plan to shop online, avoid purchasing on public WiFi. These networks are often unsecured, meaning anyone with a computer acumen can view what you are browsing and steal your personal information.
Use a Credit CardPay with a credit card when making gift purchases. A credit card offers the best liability protection against potential fraud, unlike debit cards. If scammers gained access to your debit card information, they could drain your accounts.
Make Sure All Passwords are UniqueIt’s easier to use the same password for all accounts. But is it safer? If a hacker discovered your login credentials, they could easily hack into other accounts and steal your information. To best protect yourself, your data, and your financial information, make sure each account has a random and unique password. For more information about password security, visit our recent blog post. With the holiday season quickly approaching, be proactive in identifying online scams. For more information about cybersecurity and avoiding attacks from scammers, contact us.
How Hackers Get Your PasswordsBefore you can better protect your accounts, you must understand how cybercriminals access steal your information. Typically, a hacker will compromise your account in one of three ways.
- Personal attack: Hackers target your account specifically. They will typically guess your email password and use password recovery options to access other accounts.
- Brute-Force attack: Hackers systematically check all possible passwords until the correct one is found.
- Data Breach: Hackers attack large companies, resulting in millions of compromised accounts.
What Makes a Good Password?Ideally, your password should be at least 16 letters and contain a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters. Passwords should not include any repetition, dictionary words, usernames, pronouns or IDs. Make a strong password by thinking of a phrase and then use the initials of each word, as well as the numbers and symbols, to combat potential attacks. For example, if your phrase is “Do you think a hacker will guess my 16 character password for Facebook?!”, your password might be: Dytahwgm16cp4F?!
Enable Two-Step Authentication When PossibleIf any sites or accounts offer two-factor authentication, take advantage of it. This system works to limit hacking attempts by making a user authenticate their identity with a second method of verification. Check out our recent blog post about two-factor authentication for more information.
Use a Password ManagerThe best thing you can do for your accounts is have a different password for each one. However, if you follow this one cardinal rule of password security, keeping up with all passwords can be difficult. Using a password manager allows you to save all of your passwords in a secure spot with a strong master password. WesTec offers consulting for any individuals or businesses wanting more information about password security, network installation, or managed IT services. Contact us for more information.
Improved SecurityWith a second form of identification needed for verification, two-factor authentication makes it harder for an attacker to impersonate a user. In the event a cybercriminal gains password access, they can’t produce the additional element required to authenticate.
Increased Productivity and FlexibilityEmployees can work remotely when their employers implement a second factor of authentication. They can securely access important applications, data, documents and back-office systems from any device or location with little risk.
Lower Security Management CostsApproximately 40% of all help desk calls are related to password resets. With secondary authentication, businesses can expect less of the budget to be spent on security needs. It provides a safe way for employees or consumers to reset their account password by using the additional element to prove their identity, meaning they can handle the issue without contacting an IT professional.
Reduce FraudIdentity theft is a common goal of cybercriminals. With two-factor authentication, businesses add extra mobile protection for customers, the site and the transaction. Adding a second element in your authentication process builds a sure brand consumers trust. Ready to add two-factor authentication to your website? Contact your Houston IT experts.
Customizable AccessAn access control system can be customized to fit the needs of a business. For example, you can restrict access to certain areas to specific employees. A company can also restrict the times employees enter the building, but give 24/7 access to necessary personnel. Systems can also track an employee’s hours by recording when he or she clocks in and out.
Protection From IntrudersAccess control systems make it difficult for unauthorized individuals from entering a space. With the right hardware, including video monitoring, management can monitor a door when an intruder forces it open.
Data SecurityIf you store expensive equipment, sensitive data or financial information on-site, consider installing an access control system. WesTec employees can set up two-factor authentication for added security. With an additional authentication measure, such as a fingerprint scanner or pin code, there is no risk of an intruder entering with a keycard.
Employee SafetyToday’s society becomes more violent with each passing day. In a world where threats could be anywhere, it is important employees feel protected. Door access control guarantees the only individuals in a space are the ones meant to be there. WesTec offers a variety of access control systems from leading manufacturers. To find the perfect access control system for your business, contact WesTec Services’ highly trained personnel.
- Protect Assets – As a business, valuable assets include the property itself, equipment, and private information. Businesses with security systems intact are less likely to have theft take place than those with none.
- Detect Criminal Behavior – With cameras, crime is less likely to occur because most criminals are deterred by security. However, if in the case it doesn’t, criminals can be caught sooner and are more likely to be identified with cameras in place.
- Preventative Measures – CCTV systems include access control systems and intruder alarm systems to alert authorities of suspicious activity. If a criminal appears at a business and notices cameras, it could prevent the crime from occurring altogether.
- Save on Insurance – If businesses invest in security systems for their property, they may be qualified to receive insurance discounts depending on their provider.
- Safeguard Staff – A business owner has the responsibility of protecting all work personnel. Installing high-tech cameras on the property can reduce liability risks and allow employees to feel comfortable and safe in the workplace.
4 BYOD security risks you should prepare for
Personal computing is with us wherever we go. Thanks to the rise of the mobile industry, smartphones and tablets allow us to take work home with us. And with the bring your own device (BYOD) strategy, businesses have never been so productive. However, BYOD can pose a number of security risks if you’re not careful. Here are some BYOD security issues you should know before implementing it.
The biggest reason businesses are wary of implementing a BYOD strategy is because it can leave the company’s system vulnerable to data breaches. Personal devices are not part of your business’s IT infrastructure, which means that these devices are not protected by company firewalls and security systems.
Employees might also take work with them to places outside of your company premises that don’t have adequate security settings, thus leaving your system vulnerable to inherent security risks.
Another risk your company has to deal with is the possibility that employees will lose their personal devices. If devices with sensitive business information get lost and fall into the wrong hands, anyone can gain unauthorized access to valuable company data stored in that particular device. Therefore, you should consider countermeasures and protocols for lost devices, like remotely wiping a device of information as soon as an employee reports it missing or stolen.
Personal devices tend to lack adequate data encryption to keep other people from snooping on private information. On top of this, your employees might not regularly update their devices’ software, rendering their devices and your IT infrastructure susceptible to infiltration.
Connecting to open WiFi spots in public places also makes your company vulnerable and open to hackers, because hackers may have created those hotspots to trick people into connecting. Once the device owner has connected to a malicious hotspot, attackers can see your web activity, usernames, and passwords in plain text
Vulnerability to malware
Viruses are also a big problem when implementing BYOD strategies. If your employees use their personal devices, they can access sites or download mobile apps that your business would normally restrict to protect your system.
As your employees have the freedom to choose whatever device they want to work with, the process of keeping track of vulnerabilities and updates is considerably harder. So if you’re thinking about implementing BYOD strategies, make sure your IT department is prepared for an array of potential malware attacks on different devices.
BYOD will help your business grow, but it comes with IT security risks that you should be prepared to handle.
Need help mitigating these BYOD risks? Call us today, and let’s find the best IT security solutions for your company.