Computer hacking is a serious problem and may get worse until extremely advanced security measures are developed and put into place. In Canada, there are about 33 hacking cases for every 100,000 people each year. More often than not, businesses are targeted more than individuals. According to a Ponemon Institute study, 90% of the respondents said their organisations’ computers had been breached at least once by hackers over the past 12 months. Some precautions to prevent hacking are more important than others. The following items are some of the best things you can do to prevent your business from being hacked.
Use Complex Passwords
According to StopTheHacker.com, it takes only 10 minutes to crack a lowercase password that is six characters long. It is very important to avoid using simple passwords such as “password123” or “login123” or passwords that reference personal information such as your name. Instead, use a very complex password using upper and lower case letters, numbers, and various symbols. Something like “ZoiAw$MEac%e!4!#$” is far more effective security. Also, use a different password for each login account across your systems and website. Lastly, never store passwords in a digital file on your computer or servers. If you must write them down, use pen and paper, and keep the document in a very secure location, such as an office safe.
Use Two-Step Authentication
You are especially vulnerable to hackers when logging into different accounts from multiple machines. Perhaps you log into your systems with your office computer, your home computer, your travel laptop, and your smartphone. These are all opportunities for hackers. If possible, use systems that require two-step authentication. Usually, these systems require you to log in to your account with your password. Then, they send you a text message with a secret code for step two.
Watch Out for Suspicious Links in Emails
Oftentimes, hacking occurs when a person clicks on a link in an email. Be extremely cautious of what links you click, even if the emails are from people you know, because you don’t know if a link is malicious. The person sending the email could have been hacked. When in doubt, delete the email.
Be Careful With Attachments
The same logic holds true for all email attachments. If you have anti-virus software that can scan email attachments, it is wise to use it before opening any suspicious content. The most commonly used file types for hacking via email attachments are Word, PDF and .exe files. Be weary of the emails you open if they have been filtered into your spam folder or are from an unknown sender.
Don’t Share Sensitive Data on Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi areas are hotspots for hackers. The security on these networks is often very poor, and just by you connecting to the Wi-Fi, hackers can gain easy access to your computer and its information. If you must use Wi-Fi, it is safer to use a paid service from one of the larger telecommunications providers.