Whether you are considering a personal network or your business’s corporate network, failing to secure it can have serious repercussions. You only need to know a few basic principles to be able to keep any network clean and safe from intruders. Here are some tips that can help.
Everyone is a Target
This is one of the most important pieces of cybersecurity advice that anybody can give you today. One of the main reasons that people and businesses fall victim to cyberattacks and scams is that they operate under the erroneous belief that they are somehow exempt from the same threats that face everyone else. It’s true that cyberattacks used to be highly-targeted and wouldn’t have been directed at most people.
However, things have changed a lot in recent years, and none of us is exempt from the threat of cybercriminals today. Even Joe Average is likely using their personal network for online banking, and their corporate network to transmit all kinds of sensitive, juicy data. In either case, for those that know what they’re doing, there’s money to be made from other people’s private data.
Before you start considering exactly how you will keep your network safe from intruders, you need to first come to terms with the fact that you and your network can come under attack. None of us is immune from the threat of cyberattacks, and complacency will make you vulnerable.
Practice Good Password Management
What makes a good password? It’s probably not something that you’ve thought too much about before, but it is an important question at the heart of cybersecurity. Most websites now force you to use upper- and lower-case letters in combination with at least one number, and sometimes a special character as well.
Mixing up letters, numbers, and special characters makes it difficult for a would-be attacker to guess your password or to launch a brute force attack to crack it. A brute force attack essentially involves trying different passwords until one works. If the password is a simple dictionary word, correctly spelled, it will be cracked relatively quickly.
Never Leave a Gate Open
Passwords exist for a reason – password protecting systems and data is like securing them with a physical lock. Conversely, if you have a system or network that doesn’t have any security protecting it, this is akin to leaving a door unlocked so that anyone can walk through it at will.
You should also remember that if you leave a password-protected system logged in and unattended, you are essentially leaving a gate into your network wide open for anyone to use. All it takes is one machine left logged in when not in use and an attacker who knows what they are doing can grant themselves limitless access to your network.
Know Your Systems
In order to keep any machine or network secure, you need to know how it works. Different software and hardware will be vulnerable to different attack vectors. In order to avoid undermining your own security setup, you need to understand how your system settings work and how much control you have over security settings.
Naturally, some systems are more secure than others. If you have multiple different devices and operating systems on your network, then you need to know the specifics of each one. For example, learning Linux cybersecurity techniques is very different to working with Windows. This webinar from St Bonaventure University goes into great depth on the subject of Linux cybersecurity, so it is worth checking out.
Back it Up
No matter how careful you are, data loss is something that affects most of us at some point or another. Losing the wrong piece of data at the wrong time can have serious repercussions for your business and for the individuals who the data concerns.
Making regular backups of your data isn’t difficult or expensive. In fact, cloud technologies have made it easier than ever to automatically back up your data. Once you have set a backup schedule and designated a storage system, you don’t need to do anything else.
Don’t Overlook Your Physical Security
With a few exceptions, most cyberattacks are executed from afar and don’t require any physical access to a system or network. However, there are also a significant number of attack vectors that become a much larger threat when the attacker has physical access to the system they want to attack.
In fact, in some cases, gaining physical access to a device or network can make accessing it without permission trivially easy. We mentioned earlier the importance of making sure that you don’t leave any devices unattended while they are logged in to your network.
If you don’t take steps to ensure the security of your networks, you will eventually pay the price for it. Given how easy it is to add some security to your network, there really is no reason not to. The 6 tips above will get you started, but there is always more you can do.