Cybersecurity: Are Passwords Your Vulnerability?

Cybersecurity strategies need to take into account vulnerable areas, such as employee passwords.Don’t let employee negligence be the source of a data breach. Cybersecurity has never been more important, yet too few companies are doing what they should to protect themselves in areas that can be easily remedied with a few important steps.

According to a study by password management firm Keeper Security, 81 percent of data breaches are due to weak passwords, or passwords that were stolen or still set to default. The same study found that almost 60 percent of people use the same password for everything. What can you do to ensure your employees are practicing safe password procedures?

Cybersecurity attacks continue to become more targeted and severe, carrying heavy consequences for victims. Despite the threat, a study by the Ponemon Institute shows that instead of becoming more prepared, many companies are doing less.

The Ponemon survey found that 61 percent of respondents had reported a cyberattack, which is a six percent increase over the year prior. Almost 54 percent reported that their data had been breached, which is up from 50 percent a year earlier. A ransomware attack became a reality for 52 percent of respondents, and more than half of those said they got hit more than once.

What steps can you take to protect against a cyberattack?

·       Gain more visibility into employee password practices

·       Don’t use the same passwords for accessing multiple accounts

·       Don’t share passwords

·       Use strong passwords that are not easily compromised

·       Develop a password policy and enforce it

·       Implement a control policy regarding BYOD (bring your own device)

·       Train security staff more frequently

·       Update antivirus software and encryption software

The costs associated with stolen records are severe; enough to sink some companies, particularly when you consider the average cost of a data breach is around $1 million-plus. The ongoing lack of preparation and neglect of developing more robust password policies puts many companies at great risk, which is why it’s important to take proactive steps to remediate weaknesses.

At Focal Solutions, we’ve developed a number of processes that make telecom easy. Our team is committed to the success of your business, and that includes making sure you’re secure with robust cybersecurity solutions. We have a mission to develop long-term advocacy for our clients and know industry best practices. Contact us today to learn more.

Best Security Practices Within the Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that was coined back in 1999. However, it did not gain steam until 2008 when it truly became a technological trend. The term relates to personal devices that help connect users to the Internet. These include smartphones, tablets, PCs, gaming consoles, and other wireless and digital devices. With over 12.5 billion connected devices across the globe, it is imperative to deploy security measures to safeguard online connections, transactions, and especially searches.

 

IoT Classifications

There are basically three classifications that fall under the IoT umbrella: consumer, enterprise, and industrial. The most familiar side of IoT, of course, is our usage of everyday wireless and remote devices. Whether on a plane, in a coffee shop, or at home, users will be lost if they cannot connect to the Internet to access their preferred content. According to industry experts, there are a few major updates happening in the marketplace:

  • The industrial app economy is slated to be worth $225 billion by 2020
  • General Electric is now building sensors onto gas turbines, plane engines, and other machines
  • More devices and applications are now connected to the cloud than ever before
  • There are now more devices that there are people in the world

 

These statistics are based on data analysis and assessment by several governing bodies. The main connection between these stats and the Internet is that more people are connected to online resources than ever before. With this in mind, security is of paramount concern for many users and businesses.

IoT Security

There are benefits associated with sensors that monitor user activity and connections. These include:

  • Improved utilities, cost, and energy savings
  • Streamlined and efficient services for online users
  • Improved safety and customer experiences
  • Better handling and processing of massive amounts of data generated by user searches

With so many connections to the Internet these days, data is always at risk of being intercepted or hacked. Despite the existing security protocols in place, IoT safety can always be implemented across the board by users.

Here are a few ways to safeguard not only connections, but also online browsing and daily tasks and chores:

 

  • Deploying Security Gateways - Security gateways are instrumental in ensuring maximum security across the board. In fact, users are able to inspect, audit, and even control the communications in and out of their networks. This is essential when there is an increase in connected devices to shared or private networks.

 

  • Using Stronger Authentication - Even with certain security protocols in place, many devices are still shipped with weak default admin passwords. Users have to take it upon themselves to create passwords that are hard to decipher. This is as simple as using special characters, numbers, and a combination of letters to safeguard usernames on sites and especially online banking and financial venues.

 

  • Check SSL Settings - To avoid potential hacks and foreign intrusion, only visit websites that are validated and secure. Check this by looking at the URLs in the search bars. Secured sites will have SSL implemented, along with protocols like HTTPS and SSH. These are designed to support encryption and stronger authentication measures. Online users should periodically change their passwords as well. Another option is to clear caches daily after using the Internet. This will leave no footprint behind for potential hackers to follow.