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3 Simple Ways Businesses Can Thwart Hackers

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

Target fell victim to a security data breach involving stolen credit card and debit card information for 40 million of its retail customers. The massive breach is proof that even corporate giants are vulnerable to security threats. The truth is that there is no such thing as 100-percent secure. But businesses can take preventative measures to at least minimize the risk.

Here are three simple ways to prevent many breaches:

  1. Conduct spear-phishing awareness training. Some of the largest data breaches in the U.S. began with an employee clicking on a malicious link. Hackers can penetrate your internal systems by sending one of your employees a personalized and authentic-looking email that is actually a phishing email. This can be prevented with security awareness training about spear-phishing attacks and other security threats. Every so often, test your employees' security fortitude by sending them fake phishing emails.
  2. Secure your wireless network. In one of the largest U.S. data breaches of all time, hackers used the store's wireless networks to access systems at the company headquarters and make off with 45 million customer credit and debit cards, reports Krebs On Security. Consider bolstering your "secure" external network with VPN and SSL connections, which are other forms of encryption technology. Because wired networks are inherently safer, it's generally a good idea to firewall off wireless networks in a separate security zone.
  3. Use best password practices. A shocking number of businesses go to painstaking efforts to spend time and money on sophisticated software, hardware and training on cyberattack prevention, only to throw it all down the drain by using painfully predictable passwords such as "12345" and "Password." Make sure your passwords are long and contain numbers, upper-and-lower case letters, and special characters such as $, !, and @. Also, change your passwords every 90 days.

If you can't keep the jargon straight, consider taking the Small Business Administration's free cybersecurity course to ease into the topic.

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