The United States has witnessed a series of high-profile cyberattacks in recent years, from hackers hijacking systems for ransom payments to phishing scams targeting vulnerable businesses and individuals.
Yiddy Lemmer, owner of a cybersecurity and IT support company CompuConnect in New York City, says his company has seen a massive increase in attempted attacks against its customers in recent months and that the threats are “very, very real.”
While he can’t say for sure who is behind all the attempted rapes, Lemmer attributes the timing of the surge to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the US sanctions against Russia that followed.
But regardless of cybercriminals’ intentions or location, he says there are a number of ways companies can beef up their cybersecurity to protect themselves.
Train employees on how to spot phishing scams
Lemmer says the vast majority of breaches happen through email, so being vigilant about threats and educating employees about those dangers is the first step in being proactive against cyberthreats.
Common scams used by malicious actors include sending links via email that can hijack systems when clicked, posing as the worker’s boss to obtain banking information, or simply guessing easy passwords to gain access to company data. business.
Use strong, unique passwords and multi-factor authentication
Businesses and individuals alike should use password managers like LastPass or Bitwarden that can generate strong passwords on the fly and store them for future use, says Lemmer.
He warns that using the same password for multiple sites leaves people vulnerable because of the frequency with which company sites are breached and their customer data ends up for sale.
“Hackers will dive into the base of that dark web page to get credentials and try to unlock as many doors as they can,” he told FOX Business.
Conduct a cybersecurity audit
Even companies with a dedicated IT specialist can have holes in their online protection, says Lemmer. She recommends that an independent third party conduct an audit to look for weaknesses, because companies like hers that conduct such assessments inevitably find something that needs to be fixed.
Have proper backups in place
“A misconception that people have is that keeping their files in the cloud means they don’t need additional backup,” Lemmer told FOX Business. “The truth is that files in the cloud are just as susceptible to being destroyed in cyberattacks and can be deleted remotely.”
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He says there are direct-to-consumer services that provide secure online backup, and the one he recommends to consumers is Cloud Ally. But companies should look to higher level protections that include compliance services.
Get cyber insurance
Lemmer strongly recommends that businesses obtain a cyber liability insurance policy so that if they were to be hacked, the insurance company can help.
Insurance companies offering these policies have an incentive to get involved not only to reduce or prevent the risk of any ransom demand payments, but also to assist in forensic analysis to see how cybercriminals were able to gain access to a system in the first place. .
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However, Lemmer says that companies that could benefit from those protections should act quickly. He explained: “More and more companies stop offering cyber liability insurance due to the high number of cyber attacks that occur.”