First of All, What is Cyber Security and Why is it Necessary for Internet Browsers
When talking about cyber security, it always refers to information technology security. Also, it can be a body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. As of now, people and systems become increasingly interconnected, hence the quantity and value of online information have increased tremendously, so do efforts to exploit that information. In other words, cyberspace and the opportunities it offers is under threat.
The cyber security strategies by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) in 2010 have soon become the reference for many IT professionals. Comprehensive and easy-to-understand, the guide has mapped out strategies to defend against cybercrime. The updated version in 2017, Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security, has been viewed as “cyber security baseline for all organisations” with its eight essential cyber security strategies. Aimed to enhance cyber security, the eight essentials consist of strategies to prevent malware running, to recover data as well as to defend against cybercrime.
1. Application Whitelisting
Application Whitelisting is one of the effective strategies in the Australian Signals Directorate’s (ASD) Strategies. Designed to prevent the execution and spread of malicious code, Application Whitelisting is a security approach that ensures only authorised applications (eg, programs, software libraries, scripts and installers) can be executed.
The mechanism of Application Whitelisting takes the opposite approach than traditional antivirus blacklisting approaches. It will deny the execution of any application that has not previously been explicitly approved as “not malicious” by default. The “default deny” approach can prevent attacks from malicious code that has never been seen before while the antivirus blacklist databases will not recognize the malicious code. As such, the strategy is particularly important for larger companies where it ensures the right applications are on the company’s computer.
2. Patch Applications and 3. Operating Systems
Patch applications and operating systems are used to safeguard computer from virus and intrusion attacks. In this regard, regular patches and updates of software are vital to prevent network security breaches. In fact, system updates perform a myriad of tasks where these updates will deliver revisions to a computer or system, such as removing outdated features, adding new features, updating drivers, delivering bug fixes, and most importantly, fixing security holes that have been discovered. As such, many companies and organisations start to realize that software updates not only ensure the best performance from your computers but also protect you from cyber-attacks.
4. Restrict Administrative Privileges
Restricting administrative privileges is one of the top strategies in ASD Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security Incidents. As the name goes, restrict administrative privileges is an environment where administrative privileges have limitations. Therefore, it is more stable, easier and predictable to administer and support. Usually, there are administrative privileges for operating systems and applications. But with cyber security, users can make significant changes to their configuration and operation and critical security settings. Also, they are able to access sensitive information. In other words, only trusted IT administrators will have the administrator accounts for full access to information and systems. According to ASD, the admin accounts are like the kings of the kingdom, keeping the network and systems clean and secure.
5. Disabled Untrusted Microsoft Office Macros
As of now, macro-based malware is on the rise. Actually, it is a frustrating experience for everyone, including companies and organisations. As the name goes, a macro virus takes advantage of macros that run in Microsoft Office applications like Word, PowerPoint or Excel. Many cybercriminals use it to send out the macro-infested file via email. Usually, the subject line could deceive users or provoke them into opening the document. Consequently, a macro runs to execute whatever the task the criminal wants when the user opens the document. The good news is, Microsoft has disabled the Macro functioning by default. Further, the default settings in Office will disable all macros with notification. With this, no macro would run in the Microsoft Word until you allow it to run.
6. User Application Hardening
Hardening is defined as “rendering the material more strong and resistant“ in IT security. Hardening means to make a system, a network or an application more strong and resistant to external attack. According to ASD, Flash, Java and Web ads have been implicated in delivering malware. In fact, blocking browser access to Adobe Flash player, web ads and Java applets will safeguard computers and systems from malware attacks.
7. Multi-factor Authentication
Nowadays, passwords have become one important part of our life. However, passwords are the weakest link in our security. This is because they might be inadequate to safeguard our systems from cyber-attacks, data breaches and fraud. As such, a multi-factor authentication (MFA) might be a practical layer of security. It works like having more than one password for accounts and having additional login factors like a pin, security question, one-time passcode.
8. Daily Back Up of Important Data
Having a back-up file of your most important information, is one of the essential strategies in cyber security. In other words, regularly backing up data will ensure your important information are safe in case anything goes wrong with your computer.
In this digital era, tech innovation has become key criteria for businesses to grow, to boost its competitiveness as well as to allocate resources more effectively. However, this necessarily involves risk. The question is how can you protect your business from cyber attacks? One of the best protections is to implement plans and procedures. Moreover, the best way is to perform and implement protection plans with assistance from IT professionals. If you are serious about the cyber security of your company, IT Solution can help to increase and enhance the cyber security of your company. Talk to us and let’s work out the best protection plan for your business!