Many businesses remain alarmingly slow at adopting security protocols and security that could protect them from cyber attacks and hacking, despite the dangers such activities can pose. This can be a particular issue for startup businesses, which may feel they are too small to be likely targets, but while this may have once been the case, the climate of cyberspace and cyber attacks have changed considerably, and today such an oversight could have potentially devastating consequences. Startups tend to make use of the exact same cloud infrastructure and networks as their larger counterparts, and malware infestations do not discriminate between large and small businesses as they attempt to steal caches of the personal data and payment details of customers. With hundreds if not thousands of new malware being unleashed on the internet every day, even the smallest new startup should take all necessary precautions. The good news is there are number of tools and techniques that start-ups can make use of in order to keep their information secure.
The first technique to implement information security is to work out exactly what you need to secure. It is crucial for managers to be able to identify their most important assets, and what kind of damage could be done to their business as a result of a cyber-attack. The point of this exercise is not to find ways to remove all risks, which is unfortunately impossible in today’s world but to identify, quantity and prioritize those risks and determine how they may be mitigated without causing too many distractions from the main priorities of the company.
Identifying and preventing all possible cyber attacks can be complex at best, if not impossible at worst. However, there are a number of basic information security protocols that all businesses should adopt.
One of the most important requirements is to ensure the use of strong passwords. Passwords should be a minimum of twelve characters long while being easy for the user to remember but very difficult for a cyber attacker to simply guess at. Passwords also need to be specific to just one account. The reuse of the same password over multiple accounts is extremely dangerous, and sadly all too common. Data breaches happen far too often, and if a leaked password is used in multiple accounts, important work accounts that were not affected by the data breach can still be compromised.
Another basic information security protocol is for staff to be aware of how to recognize common cons such as phishing scams. These attacks try to fool users into providing sensitive data such as login information with sites that seem identical to authentic sites or sending a fraudulent invoice to an employee that appears to be from the company CEO. It is crucial that all staff members are aware of such tricks and are capable of identifying them.
ARP spoofing attacks are carried out via Local Area Networks and send malicious ARP packets to a LAN’s default gateway in order to disguise the IP addresses of the attackers. This concealing of their identity also makes it more difficult for malicious activity to be detected, increasing its chances of success. One of the simplest methods to prevent this kind of attack from taking place is to make use of Virtual Private Networks. Using a VPN instead of a standard ISP means that your connection to other websites is mostly blocked from ARP spoofing hackers as your online activity method and its associated data will both be encrypted. VPNs are particularly advisable for those who make use of public Wi-Fi spots, perhaps because of frequent traveling, while dealing with sensitive data or information. Other options include using detection tools such as XArp or making use of a static ARP, which results in a permanent entry being created in your ARP cache, adding extra protection from the threat of spoofing.
Others gaining access to your intellectual property can be disastrous for any business, including start-ups. There would be the loss of a chance to enforce or even file for patents, and increased competition could result in lost sales, less access to capital, PR and talent, and lower pricing. In order to prevent this from happening, start-ups could make use of Data Loss Protection, strong multi-factor authentication and remote device wipe. Startups fearful of marketplace fraud will require device ID technology to keep their system free from fraudsters.
A breach of customer data such as payment credentials and passwords could be devastating to any business, including startups. In order to identify and repel SQL injection attacks of this nature, then the strongest web firewalls and risks assessment using Dynamic and static analysis security tools should be implemented.
Indusface is the name of an award-winning application security leader that protects more than 1000 customers all over the world with a unique application security platform capable of monitoring, detecting and protecting applications. Startups looking for the best in information security should contact Indusface today.
Ashish Pradhan is responsible for all technology functions like engineering, client services and customer support at Indusface. Prior to joining Indusface, Ashish held various senior leadership roles at Symantec Corporation in India and USA. During his 25 years of global experience in the software industry, Ashish has helped create and grow a broad variety of software products spanning systems management, IT compliance, and information security domains.