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How To Stay Hack Free

Sometimes it’s the obvious things we miss when it comes to securing ourselves from outside attacks. With 387 new threats occurring around the globe every minute, according to McAfee Labs/Intel Security, it’s worth to stop and think if you have really done all you can to prevent attacks on your mobile device, tablet laptop or PC.

The McAfee Labs Threats Report, February 2015 shows that there are more than six security threats happening around the world every second.

Malware alone has consistently continued to rise over the years, increasing globally from 170 million cases in Q1 2013 to 350 million in Q4 2014. In the McAfee Labs zoo, total malware grew 17 per cent from Q3 to Q4 of 2014, with that expected to continue to increase to more than half a billion by Q3 2015.

So why are we still not seeing these figures start to move in the opposite direction? It could be more obvious than you think.

According Mark Jones, information security and technology risk expert who works with Enex TestLab, many people are still missing the obvious security mishaps such as clicking on malicious links.

“Hackers are always going to find the weakest link, and the weakest link normally can be getting a user to click on a link or open an attachment. And then all of that investment into trying to prevent security problems from happening won’t do much.”

Intel Security found that almost 95 per cent of hacks in 2013 were caused by Internet users clicking on links that install malware, viruses or trojans. The company also noted that the largest high-profile leaks in recent memory all were born from employees clicking on malware-ridden links in emails sent to them.

Jones said educating employees and having the highest ranks in the company endorse a security-aware culture is crucial to staying hack free, especially when it comes to identifying the different types of phishing and harmful emails in disguise.

Not properly managing passwords is another common problem that people often overlook, Jones said. The issue with this, he said, is that employees might often feel inconvenienced by constantly having to change their password or have multiple passwords, seeing security as a hindrance to their job rather than a necessary step in protecting themselves from hackers.

One way to go about this is to have employees think how high the stakes would be if it was their personal lives that were being hacked into and then translate that to their work environment, Jones said. A password manager can also be useful as the computer program takes care of creating, memorising and entering the password for the user.

Not using https protocol, virtual private networks and two-factor authentication where appropriate are also obvious mishaps that many people don’t pay much attention to as they should, Jones said.

This needs to come across in a seamless way for people, he said, because if they feel frustrated in getting bogged down in technical work they will often end up circumventing security.

“The technology integrates with all of that stuff is not a user’s problem, they just want to be able to do what they need to do. They are not going to care about the technical details in security,” Jones said.

One of biggest areas of security threats is mobile devices, as every person carries at least one around with them all day, always checking their email and using mobile apps to do certain tasks or activities.

McAfee Labs found in its February 2015 report 18 of the 25 most downloaded vulnerable mobile apps to MITM attacks that CERT published in September 2014 were still vulnerable or hadn’t been fixed.

The report also found global mobile malware has increased consistently from 1.5 million cases in Q1 of 2013 to about 6.2 million in Q4 of 2014. New malware threats globally went from 770,000 in Q3 2014 to almost 790,000 in Q4 of 2014.

Jones said mobile device management software and containerization are some popular ways companies are going about securing their workers’ mobile devices.

“But usability aspects need to be considered. If you put too much security on that or made it too restrictive, you’re going to retract from what the business is trying to do with creating a mobile workforce or whatever the strategy is with mobile devices. So I think there needs to be a balance,” he added.

This balance can be achieved with the right combination of staff training, network monitoring and mobile device management. This is where the ASI team come in to help your business stay hack free. For more information, contact us online or call us at 1300 732 930.