cyber-security home rats, business, protection

Business protection blocking rats you live with

A few weeks before Trump’s election as US president, the now former president of the United States Barack Obama met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the shift toward and exponential increase of businesses based out of home, which are mostly online businesses.

The number of small and medium size companies worldwide by far exceeds the number of large corporations, and is only expected to grow. In fact, based on SBIR STTR (The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is a program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena), so according to it small businesses make up of 99.7% of U.S. employer firms (that number if you notice the date is higher now)! Usually, these people are working from home.

The list of people working from home also includes those at startups, entrepreneurs and employees of large corporations that can work from home or use their own devices – even though it is not a requirement. As you see, this episode applies to a lot of people. It does not cover the danger from attacks targeted at VIPs, politically exposed people or anyone who has a high-value profile with already established levels of protection. Having said that, your personal environment is always an opening in your protection, especially if you are working from home even for a few minutes per day with no security or loose security established. Financially speaking the “working from home” trend sounds good. No extra rent, electricity, utility bills, internet and phone line. You make huge savings, but security wise it is a completely different story. You need to cover your base literally to mitigate the risk.

Just to clarify things up front, I am not referring only to business oriented dangers but physical dangers as well.

Want a little help?

cyber-security approach, philosophy, business, protection

How can you mitigate the risk?

You need to know what are the risks, and in this episode I am going to cover the 3 major risks:

  1. Casual environment: In the conditions of a shoe string budget security is the last thing you are going to consider, simply because it’s not a priority for you and because you are not aware of the involved threats that are related to such a casual environment.
    • There is no security infrastructure: the devices in most cases are not set up properly, there are no systems and software dedicated to security,
    • In the best-case scenario you might have a remote IT occasionally to help you with software installations or when something is wrong, so you do not even patch (update) your systems on time,
    • There are no security measures i.e. no data backup ever or rarely,
    • The computer is used for both personal and business purposes,
    • You do not have any training to avoid cyber-attacks.

Overall you are not covering even the basics, which makes you a first-class target for criminals. In fact, based on statistics from IBM, 62% of attacks (about 4,000 per day) are targeting the categories of small and mid-size businesses and entrepreneurs, and that is because you are an easier target to penetrate in comparison with large corporations. Based on a 2017 case study, which was performed at the end of the year, 7 out of 10 attacks are initiated because of a human error, that is by the user, which means that attackers depend on you making a mistake.  Considering that most probably you do not have the appropriate training to avoid cyber-attacks; your level of defense should be as simple as possible and cover important bases.

  1. Blur lines between personal and business life:
  • Working from your home garage and accepting visitors at home,
  • Having your website listing your landline and personal mobile phone number and house address,
  • Having open identity links, such as your IP address (a number based code which is unique for your device and which can identify your physical location),
  • Being too open on your social media accounts, which are a continues source of free information to cyber-criminals about your behaviors and habits, and easily lead to ransomware attacks, impersonation and identity theft.

 

  1. Psychology of feeling safe: Yes, that is your greatest blind spot. Here is the thing, everything we do in the digital world leaves traces. Think about it as digital fingerprints. We must be careful of where we leave this type of fingerprints. In fact, the more careful you are in avoiding leaving fingerprints, the higher your protection levels are. However, our home comes in contradiction to this, as by default, home is considered a safe place for us and our family. This belief creates a blind spot for your protection by not allowing you to consider the case of building up your defense against attacks. If you do not consider it, you do not do it, and you stay completely vulnerable to attacks.

What can you do about it? First, be aware of the dangers and then work on ways to eliminate or at least mitigate them. You can achieve that by crafting a security strategy based on your specific needs, which includes:

  • evaluation of your threat levels,
  • examination of your physical and virtual environment, and
  • evaluation of your daily habits in order to learn how to defuse/not enable/avoid cyber-attacks that are coming your way.

Apply what you learn immediately. Download “Master your protection” free quick start guide.

cyber-security approach, philosophy, business, protection

I promise I will have another episode in the future which will give you a more detailed direction on how to succeed that.

I am now turning it over to you.

  • Are you aware about the digital traces you leave online?
  • How is this episode helping your business and personal protection?
  • What are the steps you will take to immediately decrease your threat levels?

I cannot wait to hear your comments so leave them below and let’s continue the conversation.

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