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November 22, 2017

Three Cybersecurity Tips for Thanksgiving Weekend

You and your coworkers may be getting ready to clear out for the holiday weekend, but before you do it’s important to perform a cybersecurity gut check.

Thanksgiving, after all, is a dangerous time of the year for cybercrime. Hackers will be on the prowl this weekend searching for easy targets that they can exploit — especially on Thursday afternoon when IT workers will be more likely to be home at the kitchen table than paying attention to what’s happening on their networks.

Here are three cybersecurity tips to keep your business safe this weekend:

1. Back up your data: The last thing you want to have to deal with when you return to the office on Monday is a ransomware attack, but it could happen. Just look at what happened in Sacramento this week, when a hacker used ransomware to shut down the Regional Transit’s computer system — and deleted 30 million files in the process. If you aren’t already backing up your data regularly, make sure to do this before you leave the office.

2. Change your passwords: Send out an alert to your team members and encourage them to update their account passwords before the holiday. Weak or commonly-used passwords can be easily broken by sophisticated hackers using powerful tools. Harder passwords, however, are likely to get bypassed. This is an easy and effective cybersecurity strategy that every team member can do.

3. Remind employees to shop smart: Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be coming up, and many employees will be using their work devices to do holiday shopping. Remind your employees to be smart while shopping, and to be extra cautious about clicking on advertisements and promotional emails. If you aren’t using a mobile device management strategy, you may even want to consider asking employees to avoid shopping on their work devices to minimize risks.

Here are some of the areas all organizations looking to promote a cybersecurity culture need to focus on.

1.    Cybersecurity training must be done regularly.

2.    Auditing and documentation must be performed regularly to ensure systems are secure.

3.    Anomaly detection should be running constantly to detect threats as they emerge.

4.    Penetration testing shows if systems can easily be reached from the outside. Here is a case where this test might have saved two company’s’ reputations from being destroyed.

5.    Network forensics for when a breach eventually occurs. The bad guys always seem to get in eventually.

6.    An action plan to follow when a breach does occur. Once it happens, few will have the clear heads needed to “wing it” correctly. Equifax botched it’s response in what is being called a PR catastrophe.

To ensure your organization is safe – even if you have internal IT, hire an experienced MSP or MSSP like Apex Technology Services.


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