We hear from concerned clients and business professionals all the time. They’re worried about the growing number of cyber threats to businesses and want to know how these criminals could potentially gain access to their seemingly secure networks. So, we thought it was time to have a quick breakdown of how hackers get into business networks and share some strategies for keeping yours on lockdown.
Is Your Company Network Safe from Hackers?
Understanding how hackers get in and what you can do to prevent it
It’s no surprise to anyone that cybercrime is on the rise. It seems there’s a new kind of hack or virus in the news every week. As such, business professionals have had to adapt and create stronger lines of defense against hackers and cybercriminals of all kinds. Whether it means reevaluating your network for flaws or partnering with a managed IT service provider, it's critical now more than ever for professionals to be proactive.
The first step in preparing you and your team is coming to understand how these cybercriminals work. Why are they targeting businesses? What are they looking for? How do they sneak past security and invade your network uninvited? Coming to answer these questions will help you better prepare your team for battle in the cyber arena.
Digital Thieves: Understanding How Hackers Infiltrate Business Networks
The truth is since the dawn of the internet hackers and cybercrime has been of concern. However, there is absolutely no denying that as technology has continued to develop, cyber threats have gotten much more common and dynamic. Even worse is that cybercriminals are getting more savvy and sophisticated than ever before – constantly finding new ways to gain unauthorized access.
Additionally, business networks are prime targets because they have multiple access points for potential hacking. Think of how many devices are used in your office – smartphones, computers, tablets, servers. In fact, as IoT continues to develop, even things like digital thermostats and security cameras can be hacked. Not to mention the email address of everyone on your team.
Let's check out the top four ways that hackers manage to sneak past security and invade business networks:
- Weak IP Addresses
This is perhaps the easiest way for hackers to quickly identify weak security networks to be hacked. By rapidly scanning through billions of IP combinations, hackers wait until a weakly secured IP address is found and then make a connection. This allows them to invade the network using the digital address of one of your organizations' machines.
- Phishing Scams
This is where the email address factor comes in. Email scams typically come in the form of a legitimate mass email from a trusted authority or organization. The email will ask readers to click an infected link and verify account data like login credentials. Once the data has been handed over, hackers have access to the account information and can further infiltrate the network from there.
- Free or Cheap Software
While it may be tempting to minimize your investment expenditures, settling for bargain basement software solutions is a recipe for disaster. While downloading a free software solution or going with a really cheap and unknown option might sound like a good idea, you’re putting your network at serious risk. These sub-par solutions could offer hackers a backdoor entrance to your network and allow them to access sensitive information or install viruses.
- Password Hacking
This last method is pretty straightforward, but for the hackers, it does require some trial and error. However, that doesn’t mean that hackers don’t have success breaking into networks by hacking weakly designed passwords. Often people rely on default passwords that are easy to look up. Others rely on easy to guess options like password123. These sub-par options make it easier for hackers to get lucky and hack accounts.
Strategies for Protection: How to Remain One Step Ahead of Hackers
So, now that we have an idea of how it happens, its critical to developing strategies for protecting you and your network from uninvited hackers. Developing strategies for protection doesn’t have to be a huge and overwhelming task, either. Stay level-headed and keep full-base coverage as your top priority.
Check out these proactive strategies for keeping your network on lockdown:
- Make Sure You Know & Protect Your IP Data at All End Points
First and foremost, make sure any and all IP addresses linked to your network are locked down securely. Even better? Make sure all points of potential access to your network have been considered and protected. By ensuring every corner of your network has been proactively considered, you reduce the chances of your network appearing as a sitting duck for hackers.
- Employee Awareness Training
The only way to truly prepare for the increasing amount of phishing schemes arriving in your employee inboxes is to inform and educate your team. Make it a priority to have security awareness training sessions with your employees. Make sure they know the warning signs to look for and make sure they know how to respond. Your employees truly are your best line of defence against phishing scammers.
- Don’t Rely on Bargain Basement Software
While tempting, saving a buck when it comes to software, the investment is worth it. Don’t settle for free downloads or cheap knock-offs that offer huge benefits – they will more than likely open your network up to increased risks of all kinds. Assess the legitimate options on the market and compare providers to select the most cost-effective and secure solution for your business network.
- Set Strict Password Protocols
Finally, develop detailed and specific password protocols. Ensure that employees aren’t relying on default passwords or poorly chosen options. Also, create a regular schedule for password changes to keep employees and hackers on their toes. It’s also a great idea to post your password policies and procedures in a common area of the office. This will make it easier to educate your team and will emphasize the importance of keeping security tight.
At the end of the day, cybercrime will unfortunately always be a concern for modern professionals. However, it doesn’t have to mean you live in constant fear – powerless to do anything about it. Use this breakdown as an informal guide and make cybersecurity a bigger priority in your office. When in doubt, never hesitate to reach out to a managed IT professional for guidance or consultation on new threats. Sometimes, an inside perspective can make all the difference.
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