Avoiding basic cybersecurity errors
Even with the best intentions to stay safe, it’s easy to make the same cybersecurity mistakes. As the digital threat climate constantly shifts, remaining aware of good practices is important. Therefore, this list will cover X common cybersecurity errors you’re still making while offering different solutions for each.
1 – Using the Same Password
This one we’re all guilty of. After all, using a simple, memorable login is easy and makes navigating the internet a smoother experience. With most services, apps, and websites requesting a “login” of some kind, we gravitate to what we remember.
The problem is, that a single login – one that’s too simple – can invite doom to your digital world. That’s because website and network breaches are exceedingly common. Imagine you have a login on a website you forgot about from months ago and it’s breached by a malicious party. The info stolen includes login details, and attackers can try to brute force other accounts with what they steal. So, if you use one login for many sites, like bank ones, you can see the problem.
To address this, you can take advantage of password managers if you need to use a variety of complex logins.
2 – Using Outdated Apps/Software
Another common but dangerous mistake is using outdated software. Older apps and software may possess weaknesses that hackers exploit. Depending on the software, the value of the information varies, but often involves personal data. Even apps on your smart devices can be outdated over time if they’re no longer maintained by the developer.
Additionally, outdated apps can run slower and create performance problems. For yourself and your organization, running the latest software platform can prevent breaches.
Solution: update all relevant software and apps. Considering changing software if it’s dangerously outdated/no longer supported.
3 – No Penetration Testing
How strong is your cybersecurity? How resilient are your networks? You don’t know if you never conduct penetration testing. This testing can assure you reveal critical weaknesses within your network, pointing out critical data points such as reaction time, downtime, and what portions of the network/business are affected.
Solution: Conducting routine penetration testing on a scheduled basis. This can be done with in-house IT or through external providers.
4 – Phishing Awareness
Email and messaging platforms are the go-to for threat actors, because they remain an effective way to deliver malware attacks. Social engineering has evolved and increasingly complex emails make it harder to sort through what’s safe and what isn’t. In 2021 alone, CISCO reported nearly 90% of cybersecurity events were linked to a phishing attack.
The common mistake here is not recognizing them and lacking proper phishing awareness. Understanding the “anatomy” of a phishing email and its common characteristics is crucial for preventing their success.
Solution: Phishing awareness and education for your enterprise.
5 – No Backups
No device or cybersecurity solution is perfectly safe, no matter the investment. Today, suffering a cyber attack is a guarantee, rather than a possibility. In some form, a person or enterprise will deal with anything from phishing attacks to malware intrusions. After a successful attack, damage is costly. Downtime and lost assets can take weeks, sometimes months, to recover from.
A mistake then is having no cohesive backup plan in place. The type of backup method will always vary, but you should always have a plan of action in place.
Solution: invest in backup resources like external drives, data hosts, third-party providers, and virtual options where applicable.
6 – Assuming Safety
It sounds scary to say “you’re not safe online,” but we don’t mean it in a threatening way. It’s more to do with underestimating attacks and cyber threats. Many assume they’ll never be the victim of an attack or it can’t possibly happen to them. Even as a small-medium-sized business, you may believe hackers have better targets to choose from. In other words, assuming you’re perfectly safe.
But it’s important to take every lever of cybersecurity seriously. That proactive mindset helps you form a better defensive strategy and encourages healthy cybersecurity habits.
Mistakes are a typical part of the cybersecurity experience, but the good news is they’re easy to fix while simultaneously creating good personal habits. A lot of security, in fact, comes down to common sense and remaining cautious of what you see online.