Do you know that you can actually protect your business computers from being hacked in 8 simple ways?

Wednesday November 23, 2011 Simple steps for SMBs to keep their PCs shut to cybercriminals

PROPER SECURITY MEASURES: Hackers have moved from attacking the network to attacking the PC, thus organisations must re-evaluate their current security precautions and make sure these measures are communicated company wide. – Reuters

With the diversity of security attacks globally, it is becoming increasingly difficult and complex for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to assemble the right in-house resources to protect themselves against the cyber threats they face, whether it’s a data breach through the network, data leakage by employees, or lost laptops/mobile devices.

We have also seen an uptick in the number of court cases, where SMBs have had six figure amounts stolen out of their bank account by cyber thieves. The liability for these breaches is being shifted to the CIOs (chief information officers) and IT managers, as SMBs are being accused of not taking the appropriate precautions to protect their data.

Most SMBs in Malaysia know how to protect their infrastructure and assets but their awareness in protecting information as an asset is still very low. The need for comprehensive information security is more pressing now than ever before.

According to Symantec’s 2011 State of Security report, 20% of 100 Malaysian companies surveyed said they lost about RM800,000 each, as a result of cyberattacks. These attacks affected business productivity, revenue and brand reputation.

For a growing business, a single financial attack could put a smaller company out of business or irrevocably cut into annual profits for a medium sized business. The implications of a financial breach can be a matter of life or death for SMBs.

Ensuring that organisations not only have the right network security solutions in place but have implemented comprehensive endpoint security is important to defending against the current and emerging cyberthreats.

This is especially relevant as we have seen hackers move from attacking the network to attacking the PC. Organisations should re-evaluate their current security precautions on a regular basis and make sure these measures are communicated companywide.

Here are eight simple steps to help protect financial data and minimise risk:

1. Use a dedicated computer for financial matters such as online banking and bill pay. That computer should not be used for extraneous activities such as sending and receiving e-mail or surfing the Web. Web exploits and malicious e-mail are two key infection vectors for malware;

2.Avoid clicking on links or attachments within e-mail messages from untrusted sources. Even if you recognise the sender, if an attachment is unexpected or looks suspicious, you should confirm that the sender has sent the specific e-mail before clicking on any links or attachments;

3. Reconcile your banking statements on a regular basis with online banking and/or credit card activity to immediately identify abnormal transactions that may indicate account takeover;

4. Advise your employees against visiting small, hosted websites that feature community forums for hobbies involving sports, computer games, etc. These small community forums are often hosted by Internet service providers (ISPs) which are not diligent about securing their hosted websites;

5. If you are visiting a website and are not sure if it has been secured from viruses, observe the quality of the site. Watch out if the website appears to be quickly put together and is not sophisticated or has a disclaimer that warns browse at your own risk and indicates the authors are not liable for any information you might see on the site;

6. Do your homework before selecting an antivirus vendor, ensuring that it not only provides coverage for the key threats but also responds quickly with protections when new ones are introduced. Invest in an antivirus product instead of using “trial versions” as your source of protection. Trial versions of antivirus products are good for testing products but they do not receive updates, so any new virus that is introduced after the trial version was released will have total access to your PC;

7. Make sure you have your security protections in place throughout the organisation and install regular updates for your applications and for your computer’s operating system; and,

8. Be cautious about installing software (especially software that is too good to be true – e.g. download accelerators, spyware removal tools, etc), and be cautious of pop-ups from websites asking users to download/execute/or run otherwise privileged operations. Often this free software and these pop-ups have malware embedded.

The bottom line: It’s much more expensive to deal with the consequences of a financial breach than it is to prevent one. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out just how essential it is and start putting your security precautions into place before it’s too late.

(K.T. Ong is general manager of commercial business at Dell Sales Malaysia)
Source: Star Online

POSTED by Alex Wong CPA Australia Melbourne University, Australia
In Tune specialises in finance and accounting outsourcing, human resource (HR) outsourcing to SME business owners; that traditionally cannot afford professional services which they now can at a fraction of the cost less the headache; so that they have more time to focus on the business operations that matters to them.
Why hire an executive when you can now get at least one qualified accountant with an executive at less than an executive pay?

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