Are You Making Yourself Hack-able?

If you think you or your small business is safe from hackers because your small, think again! Hackers are always looking for credit card or bank account numbers to exploit. Small businesses are an attractive target for hackers since they posses and manage sensitive consumer data. And they have fewer security protocols in place than larger companies. You as an individual, still have your own personal sensitive data, are you making sure it's safe?

Rather than leaving yourself open to data breaches, consider following suggestions from the to protect against hackers.

1. Have you considered social engineering awareness?
Social engineering involves manipulating individuals to voluntarily give up information or access.

Here’s how social engineering works: A social engineer may call the new guy in your office and pose as an IT guy who is ‘testing the system’ to trick you into willingly giving up your password. Social engineers rely on the fact that most individuals don’t realize the value of the information they possess so they are lax in protecting it.

It's important to be aware of social engineering and avoid the following:

  • Do not click on unsolicited e-mail attachments, or links that are embedded in e-mails.
  • Do not give out sensitive information to phone callers without first verifying their identity.
  • Refrain from using USB drives that are left out in the open. They are often left by hackers. Once the device is used, the computer becomes infected with malicious software that allows the hacker to advance into your system.

Failing to address the threat posed by social engineering is somewhat like buying a high tech security system and then leaving your front door unlocked.

2) Are you being proactive when it comes to security?
Before spending money on security software, you should assess what you really need, and designate time to perform regular updates. It’s easier to have a plan in place than to try to recover from a cyber attack.

It's easy to buy items you think you need but don't fully understand. But additional spending doesn’t ensure additional security if you don’t have the time to implement the software properly or keep it up to date.

Instead look at how and when do you back up your data? Is the backup encrypted? How do you protect information on your mobile devices? Answering these questions will go a long way in securing your information.

3) Are your passwords robust and changed frequently?
In addition to avoiding bad password choices, make sure your passwords are as strong as possible.

  • Change your passwords frequently. Once a month is a good rule of thumb.
  • Use passwords that are at least 13 characters long and includes symbols, letters and numbers (but no words).
  • Don't use the same password for everything. Should someone guess your password they would have access to everything. Separate passwords limit the damage if one of them is compromised.
  • Consider using a password manager that can help secure your identity and increase the strength of passwords that protect your online accounts without requiring you to memorize a string of characters.

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