Wars are no longer being fought just on the battlefield; cyber warfare has fast become a common threat too. And there has been a flurry of cyberattacks from Russia on Ukraine in the build-up to the war – in January alone over 70 Ukrainian websites were defaced, including government sites.
With the possibility of larger attacks simmering, it’s important to have the right security in place to stop these attacks reaching boiling point.
Coming back to the UK, there’s no reason to panic… yet. But the threat should be taken seriously. The UK’s NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) has already warned businesses that they could be targeted by Russian cyberattack criminals, and issued a statement urging UK organisations to bolster their cybersecurity resilience in response to the malicious cyberattack incidents in and around Ukraine.
And we’re not just talking about updating your McAfee licence – it’s better to be safe than sorry and prepare well for a potential attack with a robust and comprehensive plan.
Remember too that every company, from one-man bands to large enterprises with thousands, should be prepared. You can’t assume it won’t happen to you because these attacks could happen to a business of any size. In fact, data shows that 43% of attacks are on SME’s. Scary stuff – unless you have the right security in place.
Here are some ways you can arm yourself against future threats.
Know your risk
First up, consider what level of risk your business has. While every company should remain vigilant and have the basics in place, if you’re selling bracelets through a local online store, it’s much less likely that you will be attacked compared to a business that works closely with Ukraine or has Ukrainian customers.
If you’re doing business in Ukraine, you must isolate and encrypt communications, review access controls periodically and take special care to monitor all communications with Ukrainian counterparts.
Make security the top priority
This may sound obvious, but business leaders should consider cybersecurity a priority during this turbulent time and integrate training into their executive level programmes.
By considering cybersecurity a priority at the highest level, this ethos will trickle down the company meaning better security across the board.
Nailing the basics
Maintaining the most recent versions of your security software, web browser, and operating system is crucial to keeping your systems safe. Software updates reduce the risk of there being existing security flaws that hackers can use to gain access to your personal information or infect your devices with dangerous malware.
You should also back up your files and keep them in a safe environment. External hard drives, flash drives, backup services, and the cloud are all options.
Finally, ensure that your devices are encrypted. Your laptops, tablets, and mobile phones, for example, are likely to include sensitive personal information. Encrypt those files if possible. Encryption scrambles readable text, making it accessible only to those with the decryption key.
Personal devices are being used for both work and downtime, so it’s time to ensure your staff beef up their basic security. If they’re still using their date of birth or favourite child as a password, then it’s time to change that immediately to something more sophisticated. Ideally change it every month. It might be a chore, but a bigger one is dealing with a cyberattack.
Education is key. Staff must be told to be hypervigilant about not clicking any links or responding to messages that look suspicious. Cyber attackers are getting smarter and smarter, so keep staff informed of any common scams that are appearing by keeping an eye on the news and share regular company-wide updates on the common scams to look out for.
Preparation is key
The unfortunate reality is that not all cyberattacks can be prevented, so it’s a good idea to have a plan if the worst should happen. Every company should have an insurance policy and a plan in place that involves key stakeholders across the business. If you aren’t sure what the best measures to take yourself are, consider hiring a consultant or using a technology reseller to create a plan for you.
While these are just a few measures you should have in place, there are many more so read up and make sure you, and your business, are safe from any impending cyber warfare.
And if you’re worried, get in touch with the Babble team. Our team of experts are here to help you learn more about how to keep your business safe.