With all the high-profile hacking incidents that have taken place over the last few years, network security is more important than ever. Companies and individuals stand to lose huge amounts of money from network security mistakes. And, of course, there are other costs as well. Loss of privacy and reputation can also easily occur in today’s hyper-sensitive world. With so much on the line, you should address all five of these common vulnerabilities immediately.
Finding Reliable Data
There are many different mistakes that can be made in the area of network security. However, we don’t have time to cover all of those, and you probably don’t have time to read all of that, either. So, which ones are the most common?
To find out, we consulted the results of an official government report, which was authored by Missouri state auditor Nicole Galloway. Data was gathered from all the various local governments in that state, and these are the results.
Although this data came from only one state, we have no reason to believe that Missouri is an exception to the common trends. Because this is the most reliable data that we could find, our list is based primarily on its assertions.
1. Improper Use Of Passwords
Surprisingly, the most common problem is one that is quite easy to fix. There really is no excuse for using weak passwords, especially if you have valuable data to protect. To clarify, a good password should meet the following standards:
- 15-20 characters long
- Should not include common words
- Should include both upper and lowercase letters
- Should include both numbers and letters
- Should include at least one symbol
If you don’t follow these rules, your password will be easy prey. According to our government report, a lot of people also engage in password sharing, which is really foolish. Sharing a password defeats the entire purpose of having one! The report also found that some people failed to use passwords at all, which is even worse.
2. Lack Of Compartmentalization
Another common network vulnerability is a failure to properly separate levels of access. In practice, this gives low-level users access to high-level data. Obviously, this is a problem for organizations rather than individuals, but it can be a big one. It is important that you give people access to the data that they need in order to do their jobs, but that’s as far as it should go.
The idea of data compartmentalization is a sound (and often underused) cybersecurity principle. When combined with encryption, it is even better. One example of this is the use of “onion” encryption, which uses multiple layers of heavy encryptions to create something that is very secure. Even one good encryption can take a very long time to break, so the layering of encryptions makes you extremely difficult to hack.
3. Improper Lockout Protocols
If you have ever forgotten a password, you probably know that most systems will only give you a certain number of attempts. After that, they will lock you out of the system until some sort of verification has taken place. On a simpler level, setting your computers to automatically screen-lock also falls under this heading.
When the user of the device walks away, you want the screen to lock itself within five minutes. Any longer than that, and there could be a chance for someone else to gain access. Physical access with valid credentials opens up a whole world of possibilities for the cyber-attacker. Apparently, there are a lot of people who don’t address this danger properly.
4. Lack Of Data Backups
If you are dealing with important data on a daily basis, you really do need to back up that data. You don’t necessarily need to do it every day, but that would be ideal if possible. There are several reasons why this is crucial. For one thing, good data backup makes you far less vulnerable to the effects of ransomware.
Ransomware involves a hostile actor locking you out of the system and demanding a ransom for the return of access and data. Obviously, a valid backup makes it possible to avoid paying or losing any significant amount of data. Of course, those backup files must be stored in a secure off-site location, or they could be hacked as well.
5. Lack Of Restrictions And Tracking
When you have a system that allows low-level users to make changes to the settings, it can open up some dangerous security holes. Our government report found that this was also a significant problem. If someone has the skills to do it, they might even be able to make changes to the code found in crucial files. This can be a way to bypass restrictions of access to the settings menu, so you want to make sure that no untrusted persons are able to change settings or edit pre-existing system files in any way.
Not only that, but you also need to make sure that your system is logging any changes to the settings and saving them to a secure file. The ideal thing would be to have the log file saved to a file within an encrypted container. That way, if someone does manage to get past your restrictions, you will know what occurred and when it occurred.
All five of these problems are relatively easy to fix, and that is why you should probably address them right now. Changing passwords, settings, and rules of access are all very simple solutions that require little to implement them. Encrypted solutions are a little harder to set up but are well within the capability of any good IT professional. If you need the services of someone like that, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.