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10 of the best ways to protect your business from hackers

"What are the best ways to protect my business from hackers?", you may have asked yourself. Allow us to offer you 10 of the best.


Being hacked is something you want to avoid as a business. It could result in a heavy loss of sensitive data or money, both for your business and your contacts in some cases. 71% of the time, the motive of the hacker is to steal money, the remainder is to steal data. Either way, you could do without it.


But there are methods you can install to keep yourself protected from all forms of hacking attacks. And the best thing? They are relatively simple to deploy.


Here is a top 10, in no particular order…


1. Antivirus With Malware Protection


One of the best protection tools against hackers is an antivirus with malware protection. Hackers can infect their victim’s devices with viruses and malware. To protect your device from such a form of attack, it is best that you use an antivirus with malware protection.


A basic antivirus will deal with viruses alone but one with malware protection will handle both viruses and malware like worms, ransomware, etc.


The way these antivirus software programs work is simple. Most of them work automatically so the only work you have to do is install them and allow access to your files. You can also run manual scans or schedule scanning at intervals or specific times.


The basic work of antivirus and antimalware software is to detect and remove computer viruses, malware, and trojan horses. Plus, it also secures your computer against cyber threats. If you make use of a reliable antivirus with malware protection, hackers can’t easily hijack your digital devices, unless you download unsafe files.


2. VPN


Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are among the most used cyber tools in today’s internet world. One of the best ways of staying safe from hackers online is by being anonymous and avoiding leaking sensitive data.


If someone runs a quick Whois on your web address, your IP address will be identified, and as such hackers will know your location. But with a VPN, you can be browsing from the USA with a German IP address.


A VPN masks your IP address such that you access the internet with a different one and it looks like you’re browsing from a different location.


VPNs protect you from hackers because they make it impossible for hackers to identify your true IP address. In addition, most quality VPNs offer DNS leak protection, military-grade encryption, kill switch, and other features that ensure that none of your data is stolen.


3. Secure Operating System


Whatever device you use, Android, Mac, iOS, or Windows, ensuring that it is secure will go a long way in keeping you safe from hackers. If there’s any glitch, bug, or vulnerability in your current operating system, it’s easy for hackers to get in once they identify it.


The most secure version of an operating system you can use is usually the most recent one. By running on a secure operating system, you will have access to all the security features and support.


Old versions of operating systems are hot targets for hackers as they are most vulnerable due to bugs and they are no longer get updated.


Some operating systems make it easy for you to be hacked if they have vulnerabilities. Secure operating systems are void of this, so they can well protect you against hackers. There are some specific secure operating systems you can use such as Linux OS, Open BSD, and TAILS.


4. Secure Email Service


Popular email services like Gmail, YahooMail, Outlook, etc. have their individual security features, but there are some email service providers that place user security as the number one priority. These are secure email services.


Some of these include MailFence, ProtonMail, Mailfence, Posteo, and SCRYPTmail. These email services have unique security features to safeguard users’ data. Examples of such features include an end to end encryption, PGP encryption, 2FA, and private server locations.

Some secure email services are also open source. This implies that you can add extra and more personalized security layers by modifying the software code.


You’ll need a secure email service more if you’re a business or organization. While you can handle personal emails using regular email services, a secure email service is ideal for official records. The features they integrate can protect you against hackers.


5. Password Manager


Password managers allow you to store and quickly manage your passwords. You are likely to have many online accounts with login credentials, which include social media accounts, email accounts, forum accounts, online banking accounts, etc.


If you use different secure passwords for these accounts, you can store them all securely in a Password Manager application. That way, whenever you need to enter a password, you don’t have to stress in remembering it.


You can store your passwords offline by writing it down somewhere but with an electronic password manager, you have an advantage. Some of these Password Managers autofill your passwords for easy login.


A password manager doesn’t literally protect you against hackers but, it helps in the process. It’ll be difficult for you to memorise all the different passwords of your online accounts. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you use different strong passwords for different accounts (three random words are often strong passwords).


With a password manager like 1Password, RoboForm, RememBear, etc. you can easily retrieve any password when you need it.


6. Strong Firewalls


The basic function of firewalls is for monitoring traffic and network firewalls are one of the best protection tools against hackers. There are hardware and software firewalls and to beat hackers, you need both.


Software firewalls monitor external traffic coming in and out of your network. This is majorly the traffic sent and received ad you browse or make use of any program that uses internet connection.


Hardware firewalls on the other hand protect your local network. They monitor traffic from other computers which you might be connected to in a local environment. While built-in firewalls perform very well, installing a third-party firewall can go a long way.


Most operating systems come with built-in firewalls to show just how important they are in networking. Not having a firewall installed is very dangerous as hackers can send in malicious data to infect your device without being noticed since traffic is not monitoring. By using a strong firewall like GlassWire Firewall, you can detect and block all malicious traffic from entering your network. For a website firewall, you can make use of a web application firewall like Sucuri.


7. File Encryption Tools


Encrypting files is one of the best ways to protect yourself from intrusion. This is why top online messaging services use end-to-end encryption protocols.


You can encrypt files on your own by using a File Encryption tool, one of the best protection tools against hackers. Normally, you’ll have to put together different code and scripts to encrypt a file but with file encryption tools, it’s now very easy.


When you encrypt files, the data they contain are converted into codes. Upon hijack, a hacker will only see these codes and not the original data.


File encryption tools can protect you against hackers to a large extent. If hackers access your device, they won’t be able to access the details of your files if they’re encrypted. As such, you’ve been hacked but your details haven’t been compromised. Some hackers may succeed in decrypting the files, but it will buy you time to get them off.


8. Penetration Testing


When a hacker launches a cyber attack on your computers, they can gain access if your devices are not secure enough, which might put you at risk of data loss.


A penetration test launches a cyber attack on your computer just like hackers, but with the aim of detecting how secure your system is.


Penetration testing is one of the best protection methods against hackers that is recommended for online businesses and companies. However, if you process and work on heavy data even as an individual, you should run a penetration test on your systems once in a while.


When you run a penetration test on your computer, you can figure out its security state and identify possible areas that need to be worked on. With this, you will be able to fully secure your system before it gets attacked by a real hacker.


9. Cloud Storage


You do not have to store all your files locally on your PC. Your important files should go to cloud storage where they will be more safe and secure.


When you store files on the cloud, they are stored on online servers. They cannot be compromised unless you expose your account details or the service provider gets hacked which is very unlikely.


Furthermore, cloud storages take data protection measures. They provide backup, archives, and other recovery options to get your data against data loss. Acronis True Image, Abine Blur, LiveDrive, pCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon Web Services, and OneDrive are some best cloud storage examples. Alternatively, you can use an electronic file storage program like Paragon Hard Disk Manager.


If a hacker hacks your system, they gain access to the files stored locally. By storing very important files in secure cloud storage platforms, this can be prevented. Also, it will protect the files from getting infected by viruses or malware which can be transferred from other less important files.


10. Web Vulnerability Scanning Tool


Web vulnerability scanning tools are very similar to penetration testing tools. While penetration testing tools look to analyze the overall security status of your computer, vulnerability scanners look to identify vulnerabilities in web applications.


These tools can be very efficient in identifying vulnerabilities like SQL injections, insecure server configurations, Cross-site scripting, and more. These are some of the major ways by which hackers launch their cyber attacks.


By using web vulnerability scanning tools, you can discover possible threats posed by any web application. This protects your device from being damaged or infected and as such helps keep hackers away. These tools are among the best protection tools against hackers for online businesses.


 

Reporting

Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).

 

The contents of blog posts on this website are provided for general information only and are not intended to replace specific professional advice relevant to your situation. The intention of East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre (EMCRC) is to encourage cyber resilience by raising issues and disseminating information on the experiences and initiatives of others. Articles on the website cannot by their nature be comprehensive and may not reflect most recent legislation, practice, or application to your circumstances. EMCRC provides affordable services and Trusted Partners if you need specific support. For specific questions please contact us by email.

 

EMCRC does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information or materials published on this blog. EMCRC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites that link to this site or which are linked from it.