McGruff the Crime Dog’s guide to securing your company from cyber criminals

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is here. 2018 marks the 15th year that we have used this month to ensure everyone has the tools and resources they need to remain safe and secure while using online services.

One of the largest vulnerabilities in many business and personal systems is the lack of user knowledge about security. Cybercriminals are generally able to find their way into networks by exploiting any small or large flaw in software and systems, and these are typically flaws that can be repaired easily if people would simply take the time to reset their settings, update their software, and download the patches that have been made easily available.

System and network administrators are still waiting for that button they can press that would make all users concerned about network security and data protection. However, the truth of the matter is that more equipment and technology will not be the answer for the lack of cyber awareness or understanding. The answer to this big problem is awareness and education.

Think about McGruff the Crime Dog. Yes, the trench-coat wearing crime dog who has been fighting crime since the 1980s. For decades, this well-known bloodhound has been the voice that has encouraged people to be aware of their surroundings and do their part to "take a bite out of crime."

Taking A Bite Out Of Cyber Crime

The challenges that we face in protecting our data and systems is not a new challenge that just occurred overnight. The thing that is new is the type of effect these challenges are having in society. Our society is being affected in ways that have become more destructive and menacing. Since the impact of cyber crimes has become so significant, we have to continue thinking about groundbreaking ways to protect our systems, our data, and ourselves.

If you have learned anything from McGruff the Crime Dog over the past 38 years, it should be that you have to be smarter than the criminals who are lurking. The criminals have found another location to scavenge - on the World Wide Web. Over the last few years, cyber crimes have resulted in billions of dollars worth of losses. 

Same Scams, Different Year

Cyber crime impacts everyone in different ways and the crimes come in all types. Cyber criminals will sink us in tons of emails that we do not want, including financial advice and the scams that want us to know how we can make $1,000 in 5 minutes. The majority of your emails consist of things that no one wants, but if you take the emails seriously, you can find yourself trying to climb out of a terrible situation.

The Emails That Want Your Information

If you think spam emails are bad, what do you think about phishing? Phishing occurs when an online crook will send you a fake email that will frighten you into handing over very private and sensitive information, such as your bank information or your passwords. If you give this information to the cyber crooks, this sensitive information will be used to steal from you. 

Cyber crime has such a great impact because everyone is not doing enough to protect ourselves and our systems. It is important to know who you are in a fight against. Cyber crime does not consist of teenagers who are just having a little fun. We encourage workplaces to team up with their IT staff to install encryption for their email services and sensitive data. 

Safeguarding Your Office

Those who work in a corporate setting will have an IT support team or their services will be outsourced to an IT company who will be responsible for managing the security for their computers, mobile devices, etc. Many businesses will also have their own policy in place that will establish rules for the workplace in regards to security. The policy in a workplace should also make sure employees are using their company devices for work-related reasons and not personal reasons.

Workplace computers do not have the same type of security software that you have on your home computers. Workplace security is generally managed centrally, and all employees will be able to gain access to internet services from behind a business firewall.

When a workplace device is used outside the workplace walls, multiple risks will arise. When your laptop needs to connect to the internet, it should be connected to the company's VPN every time. Since the VPN connection will put your laptop behind the workplace firewall, you will be given the same protection as you receive when using the desktop computers in the office. 

Solutions For Securing Your Company

  • Secure all computers before going online by using a comprehensive security solution
  • Ensure your security receives the latest updates
  • Use complex passwords to protect all work computers
  • Change passwords regularly to reduce the chances that they will eventually be guessed
  • Ensure all the data, files, and emails have been encrypted 
  • Think about using a managed security team to maintain your workplace computer security

What is the best cure you can give yourself as a form of protection from cyber criminals? Prevention. However, we know that even if you think you have it all covered there will still be a chance that you can be the target of a cyber criminal. For more information on how you can secure your company, please do not hesitate to contact us today.