Protect Your Info from Being Sold on the Dark Web
It’s hard to believe that there’s another side to the internet — a much darker side — that contains a wealth of information that we might not want out in the world. Everything from passwords and Social Security numbers to health-related information is available to the highest bidder. Once obtained, this information can be used to make purchases on your credit cards or steal your identity in any number of ways. The familiar internet that’s accessible through traditional web browsers represents only a fraction of the entire internet, with the vast majority of information being hidden beneath a veil that most people don’t even know exists. While it’s nearly impossible to prevent your information from ever being stolen, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk and identify and remediate any details that have made it to the dark web.
Protect Your Staff and Business Against Phishing Emails
It seems easy enough: “Don’t click on questionable emails”. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are getting smarter and more crafty with their attacks and the emails look more legitimate than ever before. Recent studies show that you can thwart up to 91% of cyber attacks simply by stopping phishing in its tracks. This means you need to stay diligent with your training efforts for staff members, particularly for short-term or temporary employees that are filling in for key positions. One trick that hackers love is to send emails asking staff members to make a purchase on behalf of the CEO or head of finance. Even if the request is unusual or unexpected, people don’t like to question a request from an authority figure. Also known as executive whaling or spear phishing, this type of attack can create vulnerabilities within your systems as well as result indirect losses due to misdirected payments.
Institute Stringent Password Requirements
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best, and upping your game on passwords can help reduce the possibility of finding your information for sale on the dark web. Creating stronger passwords starts with defining the requirements and holding your staff accountable:
- Require complex passwords — longer is better!
- Include numbers, symbols, upper and lowercase letters
- Avoid personal information such as the names of your children or dates
- Encourage users to avoid creating a pattern with their information, such as letters across the keyboard or a series of numbers
While strong passwords are good, multi-factor authentication is even better.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication or SSO
Keeping your information out of the hands of attackers may be more than a complex password can handle, which brings you to the growing value of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and SSO (Single Sign-On) options. What’s unfortunate is that MFA and SSO options rarely work across your entire technology stack, which could require you to have several complicated sign-on processes in place at any one time for different business units. This can cause user acceptance issues but is also a key feature to help reduce external attacks. Password managers such as LastPass are another way to help reduce the stress on your internal systems and provide users with a higher degree of security without requiring more invasive sign-on procedures.
Keeping your personal and business information safe starts with having a proactive cybersecurity stance, one that also includes maintaining an active patch schedule for your software as well as a regular health-check for your organization. At On-Site Computers, we know that your information can seep into the dark web before you realize it, and can linger longer than you realize. Want to claim a free dark web scan to ensure that your information is secure — or so you can take steps to secure it? Contact us today via email to MBowe@onsintecomputersinc.com to claim your free dark web scan or call us at 833-255-7170 for more information. You can always chat online with our On-Site Computers team or fill out our quick form to learn more about the technology solutions we offer for Minnesota’s small businesses.
| Published on October 14, 2019