Lock fading into cyber security space

I returned to Las Vegas earlier this month to attend the Black Hat USA 2015 hacker conference where I learned about the latest and most shocking vulnerabilities discovered by security researchers from around the world. It’s fascinating to see some of the incredible security exploits being demonstrated there which I thought were possible only in sci-fi films. But that’s not the case at the Black Hat convention where top researchers revealed what was once impossible to hack is now possible. In past years researchers published their findings on how computers, mobile devices, routers, wireless access points, webcams, security systems, and smart appliances such as televisions, refrigerators, and thermostats can be made to do things that they were never designed to do once they are taken control by skilled hackers. This year, the scariest headlines focused on hacked cars and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Just imagine hackers taking complete control of cars in the middle of a busy highway and doing the unthinkable or turning printers, VoIP phones or other office devices into transmitters broadcasting decodable radio waves to send data. Attacks this sophisticated threaten the world’s economy, our daily lives and in some case, our national security. You quickly realize that even your most concealed data and individual safety are at heightened risk in today’s digitally connected world.

If you are a small business owner, how is this relevant to you? Many of these pieces of office equipment are at the core of your daily business operations. The ugly truth is that these devices are deployed and often neglected. This makes them unsecured and targets for exploitations because they are rarely patched once they are installed. Thus, many network intrusion entry points and data breaches have been known to occur through these devices unbeknownst to the company. Just because you are a small business, you may think you’re not worth breaking into. The reality is cyber-criminals know most small businesses have poor security practices, weak network defenses and vulnerable devices which makes them easy and lucrative targets for automated attacks because they have the same valuable information (e.g. personal, customer and financial) as larger organizations. CNBC recently reported that companies with less than 250 employees accounted for almost one third of cyber-attacks in 2014. With the hacking economy valued at several billion dollars annually, it’s almost certain there are plenty of malware developers out there who are bent by greed developing new hacking techniques to make their millions at the expense of small businesses.

If you are unsure about whether or not you have implemented enough security measures to protect your small business, we recommend that you immediately boost your cyber security defense posture. SonicWall Security offers the following security tips to help enhance your chance at preventing a data breach.

  1. Enforce a privacy policy if your business collects, handles or stores sensitive data including personal and financial information about your employees or your customers, you need to establish a privacy policy to ensure their information is protected and secured in compliance with legal obligations.
  2. Conduct annual security awareness training for employees social engineering, online fraud, phishing emails, fake websites and free software downloads are successful tactics commonly used by cyber-criminals to get users to inadvertently share personal or business details on social networks and voluntarily install malicious software such as fake anti-virus or computer clean-up tools that are ultimately used for nefarious purposes. Employee awareness and recognition of common security risks when accessing the Internet are the first important steps to prevent a network breach.
  3. Control access to data implement rigorous access policies where access to specific data should be granted only to those individuals who have a specific clearance and use of that data.
  4. Establish multiple layers of security
    1. Protect endpoint devices with strong password enforcement, two-factor authentication, disk encryption, anti-virus, anti-spam and web content filtering.
    2. Control network access with secure mobile access technology to identify and stop unauthorized access attempts.
    3. Combine multiple network defense capabilities including intrusion detection, firewall, web filtering, application control, and anti-malware protection to prevent unauthorized network access and stop malicious code from infecting the network.
    4. Subscribe to around-the-clock threat counter-intelligence services to receive continuous protection against new threats that emerge.
  5. Secure your Wi-Fi network – make sure your wireless access point Service Set Identifier (SSID) name is not publically broadcasted, default password is changed and access is restricted to authorized devices and users only with preset expiration dates.

For additional information about the latest network security technology and how it can help protect your business from today’s advanced cyber-attacks, download this exclusive, “Securing Your Small Business eBook“.

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Ken Dang
Product Marketing, Network Security | SonicWall
Ken Dang has well over 12 years of technology product management and product marketing experience creating and directing product development and launch strategies for new product introductions. He is specialized in the network and information security, data management, data protection, disaster recovery and storage industry. Ken is currently the Product Marketing Manager principally responsible for managing and driving the product marketing lifecycle for SonicWall’s enterprise firewall and policy and management product lines.

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