A discussion that I had with a client recently...
Q: "How could my network become infected? I have antivirus software and a firewall."
A: Not to be an alarmist but even with the best hardware, software and if your business is large enough to have its own IT department - you can still be hacked and your network can become infected.
More often than not I find that most security breaches on a network or personal computer are user initiated. Simply put: The computer user initiates the request for malware/adware or a virus. This can happen from opening emails and clicking on attachments or hyperlinks; or from browsing on the internet and clicking on software downloads, bad links, etc.
Besides having up to date antivirus software, windows updates, software updates, firewall appliances - being diligent about what you do with email or where you go on the internet can save you a lot of headaches.
Complacity of operating on the internet or using email is as dangerous as having a computer that is not updated.
For more information about safe email practices- click here
For more information about Antivirus Software - click here
For more information about PC Updates - click here
Almost everyday we hear of a security breach or a hack on a major company, such as:
Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield Hack (February 25th, 2015) - Click Here
Target Security Breach - Click Here
Sony Security Breach - Click Here
Question: If these companies with their millions of dollars in: Hardware security, cutting edge antivirus software and dedicated IT super genius techs can be hacked, then why would you assume your business network or home PC couldn't be hacked?
Q: Why would anyone hack my small business network or home pc? Aren't I too little to be a target?
A: No, you are exactly the precise/perfect target for a hack. Small networks and home
computers have much lighter security than large corporate networks and maintenance is generally not kept up as well as large networks. A hacker is trying to gain access to a much larger "fish in the sea" and they can do this better by hiding behind a seemingly innocent home computer user. For example: If a hacker or "bad guy" wanted to access a large banking network, they would be better to do this by using one of the bank's customer's computers. They hide behind what seems to be a regular customer with an innocent computer that is looking online at their bank statement. It is much easier for a hacker to take this approach then to try and barge directly into the bank itself without any credentials. Hackers accomplish this by using Malware and Viruses. While their primary target is a much larger network, the Malware and Viruses typically cause your computer to function poorly at best and at worst cause a system crash or data loss.
Many large networks block specific countries from being able to access their network, for example. If a hacking organization in Ukraine wanted to hack a target in a country they are blocked from, they would need to either: 1) Move to a country that isn't blocked by their target or 2) use a much easier solution such as a Proxy. A proxy allows the hacker to use a computer in a country that isn't blocked by the target to gain access. This is where your home PC or business network comes into play and why it is an invaluable asset to an overseas hacker organization. Your system provides: 1) Lighter security and easier access and 2) A computer from a country that isn't blocked from the target.
To conclude: Cyber security for the home user and small business is important and applies to all of us. It just doesn't happen to the "big guys."
Safe computing and please share with your fellow computer users.