How To Prepare for a Cyberattack

How US Businesses should prepare for increased cyber attacks

Internet connectivity has revolutionized our society by improving different aspects of our everyday lives. The advantages of being online aren’t limited to individuals either, as businesses have also greatly benefited from the internet. From virtually limitless online storage to allowing multiple coworkers to collaborate on a single document, the web enables companies to be more productive, efficient, and flexible. However, the net is a bit of a double-edged sword. 

Lurking on the dark side of the web are troublesome cyberthreats like ransomware and phishing scams. Although cyberthreats are something everyone should be concerned about, businesses should be extra vigilant with their cybersecurity. Companies tend to be big targets for cybercriminals and a successful cyberattack could devastate your operations. Fortunately, knowing how to prepare for a cyberattack can help your organization avoid becoming a victim.

How To Prepare for a Cyberattack

Whether your company is a retail store or a marketing agency, every industry is vulnerable to cyberattacks. However, there are sectors that are more targeted than others, like healthcare. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, our healthcare system is attacked by cyberthreats two to three times more than the average amount for other industries. But, cybersecurity should be taken seriously regardless of what sector you’re in.

One of the leading reasons why businesses are magnets for cybercrime is because most organizations fail to take the necessary steps to protect their network adequately. Just one cyberattack could result in problems like heavy fines, damage to your reputation, law suits, and more. If you want to avoid experiencing these consequences, one of the best things you can do is learn how to prepare for a cyberattack

Here’s how to reduce cybersecurity risks for your business:

Find Out What Kind of Dangers Your Business Is Facing

Cyberthreats come in a variety of forms and the way the attacks are carried out are just as diverse. Familiarizing yourself with the common cyberattacks your industry sees can help you create countermeasures for those attacks. As a result, you can be prepared for whatever comes your way. Here are just a few of the threats you should be aware of:

  • Ransomware: Some of the most infamous hacking incidents over the last year have involved ransomware. This is a type of malware that encrypts your files, applications, or even operating system (OS). It’s called ransomware because the criminal demands a ransom before they agree to decrypt your system. It’s important to know paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee decryption and only encourages the hacker to do it again. So it’s recommended you don’t pay and instead work with your managed service provider to restore your data and applications.
  • DoS and DDoS: A denial of service (DoS) attack is a malicious attempt to overwhelm your resources with traffic and render your web property unresponsive. A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is a similar type of attack, but differs in that DDoS attacks are launched from previously infected host machines that are controlled by the hacker. You can prevent these types of attacks by knowing your network’s normal traffic patterns and having servers in differ data centers.
  • Phishing: Phishing is a social engineering tactic that is specifically designed to manipulate and deceive individuals. It’s mostly carried out through fraudulent emails pretending to be authentic. The goal of this scam is to have victims reveal personal or business-related information. Looking out for suspicious attachments and links, grammar and spelling errors, and dubious email addresses can help you avoid phishing. Adjusting your inbox filters works as well.
  • Password Attack: A password attack is where a hacker steals your password and username to access your accounts. This can be done by eavesdropping on your connection to the network, through social engineering, accessing your password database, grabbing a compromised password off of the dark web, or by guessing. Creating a complex password and using multi-factor authentication can help prevent a password attack.   
  • Zero-Day Exploits: Sometimes, software and applications are released with vulnerabilities the developers missed. If cybercriminals learn about these exploitable weaknesses, they can target any organization using that software until a patch becomes available. Zero-day exploits can be defended with reliable antivirus software and staying up to date with new patch updates.
  • IoT Attacks: Internet of things (IoT) refers to everyday objects with embedded computing devices that are able to share information with other technology. At the moment, IoT devices are generally less secure than most modern operating systems, and hackers are keen to exploit their vulnerabilities. A hacker may target these devices to make them malfunction, or they could be used to launch a large-scale DDoS attack. Active monitoring, staying on top of updates, and remaining aware of what devices are connected to your network can help you stave off IoT attacks.

Perform a Vulnerability Assessment

A great way to prepare for a cyberattack is to perform what’s known as a vulnerability test. Security gaps can be easy to miss and if a malicious actor discovers weakness in your infrastructure, they could invade your network without your knowledge. Vulnerability assessments are designed to identify and alert you to any potential exploits.

Vulnerability testing from The Millennium Group works by analyzing your IT for over 50,000 potentialities for attack or intrusion. This can be done manually or by automated scans that run on a constant schedule. If a vulnerability is found, you can take steps to rectify the issue before any problems occur.

Create a Disaster Recovery Plan

You never know what’s in-store for the future. A ransomware attack could happen at any moment and lock you out of your folders, applications, or system. That’s why any good preventive IT maintenance plan should include disaster recovery. This is a strategy that’s designed to help your organization recover from a disaster by mitigating the effects of data loss.  

If you need to know how to prepare a disaster recovery plan, get in contact with a managed service provider, like The Millennium Group. We can backup all your information and keep it safe until you need it. Our team also helps you restore what you lost so you can keep your business running.

Try To Avoid Public Wi-Fi and Use VPNs

Public Wi-Fi is convenient as it allows you to work in places outside the office. But this type of network can be accessed by anyone, including cybercriminals. If you’re using a public Wi-Fi network, any tech-savvy individual can invade your privacy. It’s best to stay away from public Wi-Fi if you can.

If you don’t have a choice, make sure you are using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN grants online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network on the public internet connection. When activated, the VPN masks the user’s internet protocol (IP) address so their online actions are virtually untraceable. With a VPN, it’s a lot harder for hackers to gain access to sensitive data.

Perform Regular Operating System Updates

Your operating system (OS) works hard to fend off attacks, but its ability to do so decreases over time. The drop in effectiveness is related to the fact that cyberattacks are a constantly evolving threat. New OS updates are pushed out frequently to fix any security deficiencies. Keeping your OS updated with the latest security patches is a crucial step in staying safe.

Talk With a Security Expert

If the pipes in your building sprung a serious leak, would you try to fix them yourself? You would likely hire an expert to deal with the problem because they know what they’re doing. You should apply the same thought process to your cybersecurity. 

Managed IT providers, like The Millennium Group, specialize in cybersecurity solutions and can provide the advice you need to enhance your protection. In addition to consultation, we offer comprehensive services specifically geared toward proactively fighting against security breaches.

Educate and Train Your Staff

Most cyberattacks are created to trick people into inviting malware into your network. So while your staff may not be trying to compromise your IT, their lack of knowledge could lead to them accidentally exposing it to danger. That’s why employees are often considered the biggest vulnerability to cybersecurity efforts. Properly educating your team on how to stay secure and testing their knowledge can dramatically improve your overall security.

Let Us Help You Prepare for a Cyberattack

The Millennium Group offers a variety of cybersecurity solutions to protect your business from cyberthreats. From consultation to threat remediation, we have you covered from all angles. With us by your side, you can rest easy knowing your technology is in good hands.

Contact us today to learn more.