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The Digital Jungle: Trekking Through Online Spaces Safely as a Corporation

As the pandemic forces companies large and small to integrate more fully with technologies that will allow them to operate remotely, companies with less experience in digital spaces are more likely to be easy prey for cybercriminals and other individuals of malicious intent.

With technology getting more sophisticated and allowing for an even greater level of connectivity between consumers, institutions, and businesses looking to make their mark, cybercriminals are also getting more creative; and the price of not adequately preparing your company to meet the threat of cybercrime, more costly.

Every 39 seconds, a hacker tries to break into a vulnerable system, taking control of it and operating it remotely to steal data, launder money, conduct identity theft, or any other number of illegal actions. With cybercrime being responsible for millions of dollars of data lost, and with cybercrime projected to be a massive source of lost revenue as the years go on, it’s on every business to find ways to protect themselves from hostile incursions on their systems.

In order to do that, however, you must have an idea of how hackers are likely to try and get into your system, as well as the proper tools to protect your data. At a bare minimum, your company should have access to a reliable virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your activity and prevent hackers from tracking your system, as well as thorough antivirus software that will screen incoming downloads for malware. However, even with those tools, you are still vulnerable if you don’t know about some of the most common cybersecurity threats, being thusly unable to avoid them.

We want to keep that from happening. So, for your edification, here are some frequently used cyberattacks that you should keep an eye out for.

Hackers Like to Go Phishing

Phishing is one of the most common ways data is compromised, and therefore all of your employees should be trained on how to recognize and avoid phishing attacks. Phishing is when an email, text, or other message is sent to one or more of your employees containing links that, when clicked on, will proceed to compromise your information, allowing the hacker into your system. These messages often appear legitimate, posing as requests for information from massive corporations, or even from your own company; However, any message from any party that requests sensitive information or is geared toward clicking on a shady-looking link should be disregarded and treated as a phishing attempt. This rule applies to every medium. If one of your employees gets a text from “the CEO” with a link attached, make sure they know they are not to click that link until its veracity can be verified.

Watch What You Download

Malware is the second most significant way computers are compromised, incorporating and installing malicious software onto your computer, which can slow down your computer (sometimes making it crash), result in a significant data leak, or allow hackers to access your corporation’s finances. The installation of malware is almost never deliberate, being the result of your workers clicking on shady links, clicking on a pop-up ad, or downloading unknown files or attachments from third-party sites or senders.

Employees should be taught to screen every page they visit, avoid clicking on unnecessary links, and follow the guidance of your antivirus software. A helpful tip to avoid malware is that if your antivirus software flags a page as risky, avoid it at all costs.

Change Your Passwords Frequently

Your passwords are quite literally the keys to your kingdom, and should thus be as unpredictable and fluid as possible. The longer you keep your passwords the same, the more likely it is that a hacker will be able to obtain it, or a current or former employee will somehow accidentally leak it. While constant change is a bit of a hassle for your employees, it’s one of the only ways to ensure that information stays secret and safe.

While it is absolutely essential that your employees are all trained on how to recognize cybersecurity threats, even best practices can only take you so far on their own. Equip yourself with the tools needed to navigate the net in 2021, and you will be more than capable of surviving in a dog-eat-dog digital environment.

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