November 7, 2019

Three top tips for optimal cybersecurity from BlackBerry’s CTO

By Charles Egan

How often do you think about cybersecurity? Probably not often enough. But European Cybersecurity Month, the European Union and several security awareness groups want to change that.

The importance of cybersecurity awareness is proved time after time. For example, more than half of British businesses have reported cyber-attacks in 2019, up from 40% last year. Average losses for individual businesses also increased 61% to £287,000.

Fortunately, Charles Eagan, Chief Technology Officer at BlackBerry provides his top tips. Cybersecurity is as easy as making sure you own, secure and protect IT.

Cybersecurity tips: Own IT

The number of internet-enabled devices is skyrocketing. Already, there are seven billion internet-connected devices globally, and that number will more than triple to over 21 billion by 2025, IoT Analytics predicts.

The hyperconnectivity of the Internet of Things holds great economic potential, but it also carries serious cybersecurity risks.

Securing this environment requires “owning” your digital profile. That means taking stock of the apps, appliances and other IoT devices that hold and use personal and corporate data on a daily basis.

Solutions which use things like data encryption provide visibility into and security for complex, interconnected IoT systems. They also help ensure devices are authenticated and data/control information is free from tampering. Still, deploying such a solution starts with “owning” your organisation’s digital profile and realising the potential vulnerabilities that exist.

Secure IT

Only after building a complete picture of your personal and organisational cyber landscape can you begin securing it.

95% of successful attacks on enterprise networks result from spear phishing scams. As that stat suggests, workers are quite oblivious at detecting these types of attacks. That’s because cybercriminals are adept at using social engineering to trick users into giving away sensitive information.

Protecting against phishing attacks isn’t necessarily as difficult. Identifying a phishing attempt is the first step: always check the actual email and web addresses when you receive an email of which you are unsure. On a technological level, the use of multi-factor authentication and dynamic security policies can mitigate even successful phishing attacks.

The most important thing to remember about cybercriminals is that more often than not they rely on human error to gain access to systems. Continued employee awareness training as well as deploying intelligent security technologies can help strengthen cybersecurity defences by lowering the risks associated with human error.

Protect IT

A great first step in protecting your IT is using different passwords for personal and business accounts. Second, keep your software updated to the latest version available because updates often include fixes for disclosed vulnerabilities. Third, be wary of public WiFi, especially when connecting in new locations. Hotels and other public spaces are common targets for cybercriminals due to their unsecured networks. Users should make sure that they have all sensitive data in an enterprise protected environment.

Most importantly, though, is maintaining a general awareness of cybersecurity in everything you do. By factoring in simple best practices and easily accessible cutting-edge technologies, you can get through Cybersecurity month with nothing more to fear than your local haunted houses.

Read more: Dug Song of Duo Security on Cisco, cybersecurity and skateboarding

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