Securing Oneself in the Era of Cyber Security Breaches

2016 witnessed a historic hacking trend where over two billion records were stolen; it was the year when hacking went mainstream. With the recent escalation of high profile threats from neighbouring countries and incidents of ATM/debit card data breach, government and corporate entities are increasingly recognising the need to treat cyber security as a top priority. Each year, 90 million cyber attacks have been observed. In fact, cyber crime is now a global challenge which is costing organizations $575 billion annually.

 

 
Surjit Kr. Bawa, MD India, Chi Networks

With the Government’s recent demonetization move, India is inching towards the goal of a cashless economy. The question lies, are we equipped to handle the eventuality?

 

According to Gartner, by 2020, the number of connected devices will escalate to more than 20 billion. The sheer number of connected devices, or the “Internet of Things,” acts as a large playground for attackers and presents an unprecedented opportunity that might result in security compromises, consumer and corporate information / data leaks.

 

Recent security breaches in India

In terms of cyber security, India is way behind compared to other countries. Recently, 3.2 million debit cards were compromised, affecting leading card-issuing banks. In another incident, a cyber-security firm tracked a cyber espionage group, called Danti that had penetrated Indian government systems through India’s diplomatic entities. These examples clearly indicate that cyber security threat is real and can damage any country’s economic strength if hackers gain access to the data.

 

How to stay secure

Cyber threats may range from email hacks to draining bank funds. To protect yourself and your data from an attack, there are several things you can do. Here are a few tips that will minimize the risk of getting your personal data stolen:

 

Never click on links in emails and attachments

The first rule is to always be suspicious of emails. Most cyber attacks are launched through simple malicious email campaigns. For example, phishing is a cyber crime where victim are sent innocuous emails and are led to fake websites asking to provide/update their personal information. To avoid being scammed do not click on any link or log in to any site through your email, even if it is from a primary retailer or a third party retailer. Always log on to the website directly.

 

Use two-factor authentication

As financial organizations and data centres get hacked, the chances of your password getting leaked increases. Setting up two-factor authentication is a great way to stop attackers who have stolen passwords. This protects users as they not only enter a password but to also confirm entry with a code texted or OTP to a phone. Moreover, routinely change passwords and don’t share them with anyone.

 

Never give out personal information

Individuals are deceived by providing personal information to seemingly trusted agents over phones and emails. If contacted, do not give out your personal information.

 

Keep your OS, browser, anti-virus and other critical software up to date

Install and regularly update anti-virus software on all your devices. Security updates are easily available for free from leading companies.

 

Pay attention to website URLs

Always pay attention to URLs of all the websites you visit. To deceive unsuspecting users, malicious websites use simple variations in spelling or a different domain (for example, .com instead of .net).

 

Role of technology

There is no doubt that the IT security threat landscape is evolving, with big businesses and governments becoming targets to cyber terrorism. For any organization, their IT products pose as the first line of defence against these attacks and keep a diligent check on any sophisticated intrusions that may stop them from achieving organizational goals. This is why it has become imperative for businesses to invest in credible services to secure their network and fortify their crucial information from potential risks. Today, players like Chi Networks, CtrlS, AWS and GoDaddy are among the leading organizations in India that offer holistic and competent cloud-based security solutions and services, helping businesses to draw an optimum advantage in investment on IT related Infrastructure.

 

In this digital age, there is a constant threat to our personal data. Our country’s infrastructure is quickly transitioning from credit cards to one-click shopping with growing reliance on virtualization and both private and hybrid clouds.  Security and business leaders need to fully engage with the latest technology trends to maintain and achieve effective security solutions that manage risk and enable digital business opportunities.

 

Authored by – Surjit Kr. Bawa, MD India, Chi Networks

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