Take safety measures

Seven top tips to prevent cyber attacks. Spring is blossoming, and so is cybercrime.

While cyber attacks continue to rise – last year was a pretty tough year for many, with the spread of ransomware, DDoS attacks and Trojans – there are also a lot of measures we could and should all be taking in order to avoid attacks.

If you insist on swimming with sharks, then at least make sure you don’t dive in while bleeding. Or better yet, stay inside a cage and there’s even less chance they’ll come to nibble at you. Now there’s a free lesson in shark diving protocols, but the same idea applies to hackers: the new-age primates who will sniff out your weaknesses from miles away.

Use protection

Pagero’s Chief IT Security Manager Christer Wejke has a few tips on what to consider to keep your business from being penetrated. At Pagero, a global service provider who deals with large transactions in sensitive material for its customers every day, the need to stay protected in the Matrix universe is of course essential.

“The increase in cyber attacks is worrying, but if you’re taking adequate measures and making it a priority as we do at Pagero, then there’s less chance of intruders hacking into your systems,” says Wejke.

Software firm strategists advise checking out online file-sharing services and making the most of the protective features that come with certain devices. “Notwithstanding the arrival of gadgets with improved security features, consumers still shouldn’t be complacent,” advises the site cio.com.

Cybercrime damages estimated at $6 trillion annually by 2021

In fact, the 2017 Cybercrime Report prepared by Cybersecurity Ventures and Herjavec Group predicts that cybercrime damages will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021. The report also states that cybercrime is the greatest threat to all companies worldwide, as well as one of the biggest problems facing mankind. It is also the fastest-growing crime in the US and in many other places in the world; a crime that is increasing in scope, sophistication and cost.

“Cybercrime costs include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm,” the report states.

Now that’s certainly alarming, and something that every company needs to take very seriously.

“Of course, anyone can be at risk today, but we’re putting a lot of time and resources into cybersecurity. Our customers can rest assured that we’re handling their files in a secure manner that is not so easily penetrated and that we are constantly making sure that our platform is secure against all types of intrusions. We’ve designed our platform, Pagero Online, with security in mind – this is ‘security by design’.”

“At Pagero, we adhere to strict standards and use external security partners who are constantly testing our systems.”

Use an external partner to test and monitor your systems

Various industries have fallen prey to cyber villains. Cio.com suggests that studying and taking a multi-faceted approach and making informed decisions can save organisations a great deal of resources, as well as eliminating a huge source of stress on IT workers.

Cyber attacks may strike and affect even established firms, and companies should look into investing in security monitoring tools.

“At Pagero, we adhere to strict standards and use external security partners who are constantly testing our systems to make sure that they are secure,” says Wejke. “In fact, our external partners are constantly trying to hack their way into our systems and we receive continuous reports of any weaknesses or findings, but they have (so far) not been able to find any way of breaching our security settings. However, we try to stay under the radar so as not to overly tempt any hackers by insisting it can’t be done.”

“Today there is no way of being completely secure but we can certainly make it extremely difficult for anyone who feels tempted to try. If you are the world’s fastest runner, chances are you’ll get fewer people challenging your running abilities if you don’t brag about it too much in the first place. Of course, at the same time, it’s important that our customers know we have a secure platform and that we’re well-equipped to keep any intruders out.”

Go over your internal routines

CEOs and IT security experts continue to underscore how perilous cyberthreats are to their organisations. They maintain that there are ways to safeguard systems and be prepared for such attacks. According to CIO.com, the best form of preparation is advance planning.

At Pagero, we regularly hold compulsory security awareness training to raise awareness of security issues.

“It’s not always external threats that pose risks to a company, so we make sure to educate our staff about how to properly handle sensitive documents. We make sure that only authorised personnel have access to sensitive material, and only to the sensitive material they need”, says Wejke.

“We also make sure that we build a safe environment in our internal platforms by using different methods while at the same time choosing smart, automated solutions so that the security issue doesn’t disrupt our existing processes. For instance, using a VPN to access websites or sensitive information makes it harder for outsiders to access your files, as well as protecting against viruses entering your systems.”

“Global spending on cybersecurity will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the next five years.”

Don’t underestimate employee training

Cybercrime has become commonplace, necessitating the planning and implementation of strategies and countermeasures. Taking concrete steps now may very well help neutralise the threat.

Training employees in how to recognise and defend against cyber attacks is the most neglected sector in the cybersecurity industry. According to Anuj Goel, co-founder of Cyware Labs, employee training may generate the best ROI for cybersecurity investment by organisations globally over the next five years.

Attacks on IT systems expected to rise in 2018 – what to do?

We can conclude that cybersecurity measures require more than just fleeting attention, and according to the independent security organisation the Information Security Forum (ISF), attacks on IT systems are expected to rise in 2018. Last year ISF predicted the rise of “crime as a service”, where cybercrime organisations pay for attacks to target even more organisations – which proved to be a growing trend in 2017 and will continue in 2018.

While cybercrime can target anyone, being up to date on the vulnerabilities that you or your organisation faces can go a long way. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be six billion internet users by 2022, and 7.5 billion internet users by 2030. “Cybercrime will never go away, as the bad guys will never stop exploiting this new medium,” says Jeremy King, president at Benchmark Executive Search. Cybersecurity Ventures go on to predict that global spending on cybersecurity will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the next five years.

Seven top tips to avoid cybercrime and secure your business

Below are seven top tips from Christer Wejke on how best to avoid cyber attacks in your organisation. In the digital era we live in, there’s no way of ever being completely safe, as is true of most other crimes. It’s like a nightmare version of Tom and Jerry in cyberspace: as security methods improve, hackers find new ways of bypassing them. However, if you go over your business’s routines and take the threat seriously, you can also take appropriate measures to protect your sensitive business material – and go surfing safely.

  1. Set requirements for your service provider! Make sure that the standards they’re adhering to are adequate and applicable in your country. There are a lot of different standards out there, and your service provider can provide you with documentation on what they use and what they’re doing to fulfil security requirements. According to Wejke, more and more customers are becoming more aware of these issues and are often stipulating strict security standards in their contracts. The customer has the power, and should use it!
  2. Use an external cybersecurity partner to monitor your organisation’s business documents and protect them from penetration.
  3. If possible, use two-step logins on computers, smartphones and wherever valuable files are being processed – both externally and internally.
  4. An organisation needs to consider both external and internal threats, says Wejke. Make sure you educate your staff in security awareness and the protection of sensitive data and ensure that only authorised users have access to delicate information. Internal training is an important and efficient step towards preventing damage. Training employees in how to recognise and react to phishing emails and cyber threats may give the best ROI, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.
  5. Make sure you use a virus program and other security measures. There are many ways to go around these of course, but they’re still a no-brainer that you’re better protected with than without.
  6. Make sure you have a well-planned emergency strategy if your company should be targeted.
  7. Regularly update your systems and be aware of what you download.

What types of attacks are we talking about? Read my previous article on cyber attacks to find out more.

Learn more about Pagero’s information security measures