Don’t be FOOLED! Avoid these 5 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes

April 1, 2024

This April Fool’s Day, we are talking about common cybersecurity mistakes that businesses have been known to make, causing a negative impact on their operations and results.

Today more than ever, cybersecurity and cyber safety are paramount for a business hoping to achieve their intended results. Unfortunately, with cyberattacks evolving more and more with each passing year, many businesses are still making common cybersecurity mistakes that are negatively impacting their organisation.

Let’s take a look these common cybersecurity mistakes, and how best to combat them.

Common Cybersecurity Mistake: Passwords

Don't be FOOLED! Avoid these 5 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Passwords are the keys to our digital kingdom, yet many individuals and businesses undermine their security by using weak or easily guessable passwords. A weak password is akin to leaving the front door of your house unlocked – it invites trouble.

Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly adept (no pun intended) at exploiting this vulnerability, using automated tools to crack passwords and gain unauthorised access to sensitive data and systems.

When users reuse the same weak password across multiple accounts, it increases the risk of account compromise. If one account is breached, attackers can use the same credentials to access other accounts, potentially leading to further security breaches and data theft.

Strong passwords should be complex, consisting of a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Avoid using easily guessable passwords such as “password,” “123456,” or common phrases. Instead, use passphrases – long, memorable phrases that are difficult for attackers to guess.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide additional proof of identity beyond just a password. This could involve receiving a one-time code via SMS, using a hardware token, or biometric authentication such as fingerprint or facial recognition.

Even if an attacker manages to obtain a user’s password, they would still need access to the second factor to gain entry.

For more detailed information on the importance of MFA, read our recent blog post here.

Password managers are tools that securely store and manage passwords for various accounts, eliminating the need for users to remember multiple complex passwords.

They generate strong, unique passwords for each account and encrypt them to ensure they remain secure. Encourage employees to use password managers to simplify password management while improving security.

Common Cybersecurity Mistake: Lack of Employee Training

Don't be FOOLED! Avoid these 5 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

A lack of employee training is a fantastic example of a common cybersecurity mistake made by businesses. Employee training is a critical component of any robust cybersecurity strategy.

It’s not enough anymore to have the latest cybersecurity tools and technologies in place; employees also need to be educated on how to recognise and respond to security threats effectively.

Employee training plays a crucial role in fostering a culture of security awareness within an organisation. When employees understand the importance of cybersecurity and their role in protecting sensitive data and systems, they become active participants in the businesses security efforts.

Phishing and social engineering attacks are prevalent in today’s threat landscape, and they often target unsuspecting employees.

Training employees to recognise the signs of phishing emails, such as suspicious links, requests for sensitive information, or unusual sender addresses, empowers them to act as the first line of defence against these threats.

The rise of remote work has introduced new cybersecurity challenges for businesses, as employees access corporate networks and data from outside the traditional office environment.

Employee training becomes even more critical in remote work scenarios, as employees need to be aware of the unique security risks associated with remote work and how to mitigate them effectively.

We here at Adept IT Solutions provide a comprehensive variety of IT cybersecurity and policy awareness education, for businesses to provide their employees.

Common Cybersecurity Mistake: Software Updates

Don't be FOOLED! Avoid these 5 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Software updates are a critical aspect of cybersecurity that businesses often overlook or underestimate. More often than not, users will see an update, and delay implementing it, as they don’t want to spend time waiting for it to update.

This is a common cybersecurity mistake, as often, these software updates are incredibly crucial in providing more robust cyber safety, as well as ensuring your device has as little weakness as possible.

Software updates, often referred to as patches, are released by vendors to address security vulnerabilities and weaknesses discovered in their products. Hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, and failing to install updates promptly leaves systems exposed to potential attacks.

By regularly applying software updates, businesses can patch known vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of security breaches.

Hackers frequently exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain unauthorised access to systems, steal sensitive information, or launch other malicious activities.

Vulnerabilities in software can be exploited through various means, such as remote code execution, privilege escalation, or denial-of-service attacks.

Installing software updates in a timely manner helps prevent these vulnerabilities from being exploited by cybercriminals, thereby enhancing the overall security posture of the organisation.

To navigate this common cybersecurity mistake, it is recommended to automate the deployment of software updates wherever possible to streamline the patch management process and ensure timely installation.

Use centralised patch management tools and systems that allow for remote deployment and monitoring of updates across multiple devices and endpoints.

Common Cybersecurity Mistake: System Backups

Don't be FOOLED! Avoid these 5 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

System backups are an essential component of any comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. They serve as a safety net, providing businesses with a means to recover data and restore operations in the event of a cyber incident, hardware failure, or natural disaster. A lack of system backups is an extremely common cybersecurity mistake, and one that is quite costly.

System backups are crucial for protecting critical business data from loss or corruption. In the event of a cyberattack, such as ransomware or data breach, backups allow businesses to recover lost or encrypted data and restore operations quickly, minimising downtime and reducing the impact on business continuity.

Data loss can occur due to various factors, including hardware failures, software errors, human error, or malicious activities. Regularly scheduled backups help mitigate the risk of data loss by ensuring that copies of important data are stored securely and can be easily accessed and restored when needed.

Insider threats, whether intentional or unintentional, can result in data loss or corruption. Employees may accidentally delete important files, or malicious insiders may intentionally sabotage systems or steal sensitive information.

System backups provide a safeguard against insider threats by enabling businesses to restore data to a previous state before the incident occurred.

To protect your business from this common cybersecurity mistake, establish a regular schedule for backing up critical systems and data, taking into account factors such as data volume, frequency of changes, and business requirements.

Automated backup solutions can streamline the backup process and ensure that backups are performed consistently and reliably.

Regularly test backups to ensure that they are complete, accurate, and functional. Conduct recovery tests in a controlled environment to simulate real-world scenarios and verify that data can be restored successfully in the event of a disaster or data loss incident.

Document backup procedures, including schedules, configurations, and recovery processes, in a comprehensive backup and recovery plan. Ensure that all IT staff are familiar with backup procedures and can follow them effectively in the event of a data loss incident.

Common Cybersecurity Mistake: IT Security Audits

Don't be FOOLED! Avoid these 5 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

IT security audits are essential for assessing a business’s cybersecurity standing, identifying vulnerabilities, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Failure to implement IT security audits is a worryingly common cybersecurity mistake, and one that is rather simple to combat.

IT security audits help organisations identify weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and gaps in their cybersecurity defences. By conducting thorough assessments of systems, networks, and processes, businesses can uncover potential security risks and take proactive measures to address them before they are exploited by malicious actors.

Cybersecurity incidents are, in recent years, inevitable, but how businesses respond to this common cybersecurity mistake can make a significant difference in mitigating their impact.

IT security audits assess businesses incident response plans, procedures, and capabilities to ensure they are robust and effective. Auditors may conduct simulated cyberattack scenarios to test the organisation’s response and identify areas for improvement.

If you would like more information on Adept IT Solution’s IT Compliance and Auditing for further security, or our extended list of services, feel free to contact Adept IT Solutions on 1300 4 23378 (ADEPT) or email us at info@adept-it.com.au.

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