Technology advances in leaps and bounds nowadays, and while that is a good thing if you think about the entire new tech that makes our lives better, there are also some not-so-great implications to this matter. Within a world that revolves around technology, and the Internet of Things rising fast, security is now more important than ever. Unfortunately, security can’t keep up with a world where a ton of new devices get connected every day, and the result is clearly visible: cyber-attacks are now making headline news more often than ever.
What’s even worse is that such cyber-attacks are no longer targeted at companies and businesses only, as attackers figured it out that the easiest path to a company’s files is throughout its employees. Whereas the company may have plenty security measures in place, not the same can be said about the employees, which often prove to be the weakest link in the security chain of a company. An individual’s personal files are rarely the primary target of an attack; they are just the access key to something much more valuable. Here’s how a cyber-attack can affect you and the company you work for.
How it all starts
The scenario is simple and common: you take some files to work on them from home, or you just connect to the company network from your home computer, which may be already infected. Doing so automatically opens a backdoor for attackers, granting them access into your company’s network. From there onward, chaos breaks, as your company’s files fall into the wrong hands.
Implications of a security breach
While an attack on your personal computer doesn’t leave the attacker with much (maybe a few giggles when they watch your vacation pictures), breaching a company’s files gives attackers a whole lot more. Aside from possible access to financial accounts, attackers can also get a whole lot of information regarding the company’s field of work, which can be pure gold for the competition (think product design blueprints). The personal information of the employees is also at stake, as an attacker can make use of this information to steal the identity of the employees and set up complex scams or cover-ups.
Even though all these scenarios sound scary already as it is, there’s more to it: a cyber-attack on a company may cause physical destruction and can even claim human lives. Think about a manufacturing plant where the control systems for the heavy machinery get compromised, and the machinery no longer operates at its optimum parameters – the outcome can be nothing short of disastrous.
Last but not least, a cyber-attack that targets a certain network can be harmful by adjacent networks as well. Imagine a company’s branch being compromised, and then, via its internal networks, the breach reaches the main headquarters, where the amount of damage can be significantly larger.
Overall, cyber-attacks are more dangerous than ever, so it’s absolutely crucial to take all possible means to prevent them, and also have a recovery plan in place in the event an attack does take place.
Prevention is key
As you can see, cyber-attacks can be quite devastating, so why not prevent one in the first place? Companies already have strong policies in place, but as mentioned before, the employee can be the weakest link of the chain. If you’re that link, you can take some measures to prevent such attacks. Here are some quick tips to do so:
- Never access the company network form the outside, be it from your personal computer, laptop, smartphone or any other device. Even if the device itself is secure, the network it is on can be compromised, and thus lead to an unauthorized infiltration.
- Don’t use work equipment for other activities. If you have a work phone, don’t install apps and games on it, as these can be easily compromised or infected already. Same goes for a work computer; if you must connect it to a network, make sure you have a strong antivirus installed, and preferably an encryption software.
- Don’t connect outside devices to the company’s network. Sure, your new Internet-enabled sunglasses might be great, but they might also be great security holes.
Following these simple tips should allow you to prevent a catastrophic cyber-attack on yourself and your company. Stay safe.