Imagine your messages with a loved one being exposed to a cyber-attack, putting your personal information at risk! This scenario became a reality when more than 553 million Facebook accounts were compromised due to inadequate cybersecurity measures. Data from users in 106 countries was leaked during this cyberattack.
Not every business has the capacity to manage its reputation as effectively as Facebook in the aftermath of a data leak. To prevent a tarnished reputation, it is crucial to avoid critical cybersecurity mistakes that can expose your data to hackers.
Considering that 59% of consumers have avoided doing business with a brand that experienced a cyber attack in the past year, making cybersecurity mistakes can be devastating for any organization.
List of Cybersecurity Mistakes
Here, we will discuss some common cybersecurity mistakes and give suggestions on how to avoid them to ensure a safe user experience.
- Ignoring tests
- Lack of restrictive access
- Neglecting upgrades
- Not encrypting your sites
- Relying on antivirus software
- Overlooking internal data breaches
1) Ignoring tests
The first and most common cybersecurity mistake is testing your website or applications. Conducting thorough testing is crucial for ensuring that each software release is free from vulnerabilities. Launching new versions without adequate testing can result in security weaknesses that hackers can exploit to access users’ personal information or confidential data.
Consider the Log4j vulnerability in Apache’s Java logging library as an example. This flaw enabled hackers to obtain remote execution access to PCs and servers by taking advantage of a design vulnerability in the library.
A design error in the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) contributed to the vulnerability’s exposure. JNDI is responsible for establishing communication protocols between applications. Due to the issues with JNDI, systems became susceptible to injection attacks, which in turn leaked sensitive data to hackers, granting them remote access.
Apache has since addressed the issue with a new release. Nevertheless, the Log4j incident serves as an important reminder for businesses to rigorously test their systems in order to avoid similar vulnerabilities.
2) Lack of restrictive access
Many organizations use third-party services and applications to improve their facilities. But, without proper access control and authorization rules, our systems can suffer a data breach.
For example, the recent cyber attack on Kaseya affected many businesses and consumers. This happened because supply chain management used the software extensively for automation and better operations.
To avoid such problems, it is a good idea to limit access to information to people outside the organization. One way to do this is by using token-based authorization for third-party service providers. Ignoring access restrictions is a big mistake in cybersecurity. And another common mistake is not keeping the system updated.
3) Neglecting upgrades
Keeping your systems up-to-date and resistant to evolving cybersecurity threats is crucial. For instance, if you run WordPress websites with multiple plugins, it’s important to update them regularly for enhanced security. Outdated plugins may introduce vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit, putting your website at risk.
APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) also play a vital role in the overall architecture of applications, allowing services to communicate with each other and integrate with third-party apps. Neglecting to upgrade API security can leave your applications susceptible to harmful cyber-attacks and potential data breaches.
Strengthening security involves not only updating plugins and APIs but also incorporating dependable security measures such as cryptographic encryption.
4) Not encrypting your sites
Encryption helps protect your data from hackers and maintain anonymity. There are two types of encryption:
- Asymmetric: Asymmetric encryption uses distinct keys for encrypting and decrypting data. A private and public key pair is utilized in this method. The owner conceals the private key, while the public key is shared with specific recipients or made publicly available.
- Symmetric: Conversely, symmetric encryption employs the same key for both encrypting and decrypting data. A secure channel is necessary to transfer keys without exposing them to hackers. Ideally, using a combination of symmetric and asymmetric encryption offers better protection.
For instance, SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificates provide systems with both types of encryption. Buy SSL certificate from a reputable certificate authority helps prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.
Businesses using web applications and web-based platforms should not overlook the importance of encryption, as doing so could be a significant cybersecurity mistake. Additionally, it’s essential not to rely solely on antivirus software for protection.
5) Relying on antivirus software
While having up-to-date antivirus software is a great start for ensuring security, it’s not enough; you also need a dependable firewall to bolster cybersecurity. For instance, a web application firewall helps protect web apps by monitoring HTTP traffic. It safeguards web applications from various cyber threats, such as:
- Cross-site forgery
- Cross-site scripting (XSS)
- SQL injections
With a seven-layer defense mechanism, this security protocol can shield your web apps from the majority of cyber-attacks. Therefore, in addition to antivirus software, it’s essential to implement other security measures for more comprehensive protection.
6) Overlooking internal data breaches
Ignoring an internal data breach within an organization can expose significant information outside the business. To prevent this, it is necessary to have a strong security policy and guidelines, which ensure proper data integrity.
A lack of a security policy can be a huge cybersecurity mistake, especially with numerous remote employees. In addition, it is important to implement specific authorization and authentication processes to maintain data integrity.
Avoiding cybersecurity mistakes is important for any business. By implementing the right policies, encryption measures, access controls, and security upgrades, you can reduce risks and protect your organization’s reputation. Analyze your current systems and plan accordingly to increase security in your organization.