Movies and other entertainment media have popularized the myth of “hackers” who break into secure computer networks only through malicious code. The reality is that most security breaches are only possible due to the theft or obtaining of credentials by opportunistic intruders.
Cyber attackers have a variety of methods to gain access to network credentials, including phishing scams. Phishing typically involves fake emails sent to employees who may be tricked into clicking a link that releases viruses, keyloggers, and other malware.
Scams such as phishing emails rely on a technique known as social engineering, which involves creating emails and other communications that appear legitimate. This, in turn, convinces employees to respond, which creates network vulnerabilities that can be exploited by the phisher.
Organizations trying to maintain high standards of data security should take these employee-centric network threats seriously by training their staff accordingly.
Here are some best practices that can prepare your employees to spot and avoid potential phishing scams and other security breaches.
- UPDATE YOUR EMPLOYEE MANUAL: Network security and the responsible use of equipment should be built into the day-to-day operations of your business. This includes the rules and guidelines your employees are trained on. Thoroughly review the regulations governing employee computer and internet use and update them as necessary. Common precautions include restrictions on certain applications or software, what to look for in suspicious emails, how to browse the internet responsibly using company-supplied equipment, and more.
- DON’T BE PREDICTABLE WITH YOUR PASSWORDS: Easy-to-guess or otherwise weak passwords are a common cause of compromised credentials and data theft. Reduce the risk of password breaches with a strong standard for employee passwords that are difficult to crack and change often. Consider requiring your employees to set passwords with a variety of letters, numbers, and special characters, while requiring them to change their passwords regularly.
- HOLD ONGOING TRAINING SESSIONS: Cyber security is an ever-evolving discipline, and your business best practices should follow. Stay up to date on the threat landscape by inviting outside specialists and consultants to train your employees and strengthen your network defenses.