With the gift-giving season thoroughly underway, many Australian businesses are frantically stocking their shelves to prepare for the Christmas onslaught. But it’s not just consumers and retailers who are gearing up for the holidays; hackers are also preparing for the days following Cyber Monday and 25th December, a time when businesses are highly susceptible to ransomware attacks.
Tony Stratton, Director, APAC at iland, a company that specialises in cloud-based disaster recovery and data backup, shares three simple tips that can help protect your business from being stolen by the ransomware Grinch.
1. Have you forgotten your password?
It may seem like password requirements are becoming more cumbersome with their seemingly endless requirements: must be 86 characters long, not include the number 5 and may only include up to three special characters including, !*%. But this is for a very good reason. A complex password is still one of the most effective ways a business can protect themselves from bad actors. And alarmingly, many Australian organisations skirt these guidelines and opt for the most basic of passwords, often with obvious links to the user or business. So, before you set your password to FIRST NAME + 123, think how much that extra second of convenience could cost you in the long run.
2. Two-factor authentication
A natural extension to a complex password, two-factor authentication means you must provide two pieces of information before you can access your systems: often your login and password credentials and a code sent to your mobile device or fingerprint. Two-factor authentication (2FA) often acts as a failsafe mechanism from weak or highly vulnerable passwords. If your password is hacked and you have 2FA activated on your account—the hacker cannot gain access. So, if you insist on a basic password, you should at least have 2FA.
3. The disgruntled ex-employee
One of the easiest ways to breach a business’s system is through single-point logins. For instance, when an employee quits or is let go, logins and passwords need to be immediately removed. Otherwise, an ex-employee can easily access mission critical documents or systems through your network and cause some real havoc. So as soon as that person walks out the door for the last time, clear out their information ASAP.
Christmas is a busy time for business here in Australia. But don’t let your distraction cost you your world. Incorporate these simple tips before a hacker ruins the most wonderful time of your year, forevermore.