Corporate cyber-awareness: Five tips your employees need to know

ProTips | October 2020

Did you know that 23 million account holders still use the password “123456”? That 97% of people are unable to identify a phishing email? Despite an exponential increase in the number of cyberattacks, awareness of how to prevent and identify threats remains low. While cybercriminals have made significant inroads, launching progressively sophisticated and damaging attacks; organizations have failed to keep pace with the latest developments. Despite the somewhat gloomy prognosis, there is still hope. Research shows that security-related risks fall by 70% when businesses invest in cybersecurity awareness and training. Read on to find out the top five cyber-awareness tips your employees need to know.

Attack vectors are evolving

Once upon a time, your desktop computer was the only cybersecurity risk you needed to worry about. Now the rise in the use of IoT devices has opened up a whole Pandora’s box full of new cyberthreats. Vishing, smishing and SIM swapping are all on the rise, aided by a lack of  awareness about the threats posed by cellphones and other devices. To stay safe, never click on any links contained in SMS or WhatsApp messages, set a PIN for your SIM and block unsolicited callers. It’s also important to turn off Bluetooth and WiFi on your cell phone when not in use.

Endpoint security is paramount

The rise in teleworking was one of the biggest trends of 2020, triggered by the spread of Covid-19 across the globe. While many relished the opportunity to WFH, the shift came with its own cybersecurity challenges. Around 80% of firms reported an increase in cyberattacks with remote workers being targeted 500% more frequently than in pre-pandemic times. To stay safe when teleworking, only use company approved devices, regularly update your software and use a secure VPN when accessing the Internet. 

Cyber-stalking is very real

Just how much personal information could somewhat find out about you by Googling your name? Do you think twice before posting on social media? With 98% of all cyberattacks involving some kind of social engineering, taking care when you share is more important than ever before. To reduce the risk, never accept friend or follower requests from users you do not know in real life, limit the amount of personal data you put online and never respond to requests for information about your employer, no matter how innocuous they may seem.

Strong passwords are vital

We all know how tempting it is to use the same password across multiple accounts. And if it’s easy to remember, all the better, right? Unfortunately, password-cracking software has advanced significantly over the past few years with the most sophisticated products able to test almost 3 billion combinations a second. To make hackers’ lives harder, use a different password for each account, enable multi-factor authentication and download a password manager. You can find some top tips on creating a strong password here.

Attackers are still phishing

If you receive an email from a Nigerian prince in dire need of funds, it’s unlikely you’d rush to transfer over the $1,000 that would help you make your fortune. Unfortunately, phishing emails are much harder to spot these days. And with 22% of data breaches in 2019 involving phishing, the ability to identify phishing emails is of paramount importance. To protect your organization’s data, enable spam filters on your email server and always be wary of unsolicited emails. You should also never click on links or attachments contained in emails unless you 100% trust the sender.

Ensure your employees are au fait with these five tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective culture of cyber-awareness within your organization. Stay safe out there!