7 Ways to Prevent Getting Hacked!

It seems lately all we hear about in the news is another top retailer or corporation having their data breached. It makes all of us very concerned each time we swipe our credit card or log into our personal accounts online. The Globe University IT Program Chair in Minneapolis, Eddie Nestingen, is helping students, consumers and companies learn how to protect ourselves.

Eddie teaches Data Networks and Case Studies in IT, Management and Ethics at the Minneapolis campus.  He has been teaching his students ways to leverage their wisdom learned in the classroom that benefit corporations and individuals from being hacked.

Campus Director, Jim Decker said, “My email was once hacked and an email was sent out to all of my contacts requesting money because I was ‘stuck’ out of the country.”  In Jim’s situation a relative actually wired $500 to help him but it went into the hands of a hacker.  Jim’s advice after this situation was, “Change your password often and don’t ever send money until you can confirm if the request is legit.”

Cyber threats are real. Our IT departments work hard to protect our networks. They set up firewalls, install anti-virus programs and establish policies and rules to protect our data. Is this enough to protect our networks? Our data?

Eddie has been taking his classes through these few steps that can help all of us personally and the companies we work for, from getting attacked.

Are Antivirus Programs Enough?

Eddie teaches his class that installing antivirus programs, having a good firewall and lots of policies is not enough to protect us and our assets. Unfortunately one of the truisms of security is “the bad guys will go to the door with the weakest security,” thus one way that we can protect ourselves is by having better security than the next guy. Hackers are generally looking for the low hanging fruit. (The exceptions to this are another conversation.) Having a firewall or antivirus program installed on our computers, at home or at the corporate workplace, may only be enough to stop the casual hacker.

What else can be done to stop hackers from successfully attacking your network? Much of this protection doesn’t come from a box of software or a new device on the network; rather it may start with the management and leaders of the workplace. However, it is the non-IT people who do the day-to-day work at our companies who need to thwart many attacks. IT security is everyone’s job.

Prevent Getting Hacked!

If you are not an IT professional, what can you do to help prevent hackers from gaining access to the resources at your company, your contact list or personal information? It turns out there is a lot you can do.

  1. Support the IT department when they implement a new password policy
  2. Be aware of company assets that are in your department
  3. Help IT and management to write comprehensive and well thought out security policies
  4. If you bring a smartphone, tablet or other electronic device to work make sure it is in compliance with company policies
  5. Don’t send out company information to unauthorized friends and family
  6. Don’t use unauthorized cloud storage to store company information
  7. Be very careful about who you talk to and what information you give out

Someone is trying to hack your company’s data! Protecting that data is something we all need to do. Hackers are very clever people who can use small, seemingly insignificant data to breach the best network defenses. Sharing any information about your computer or the company network can be hazardous to your network. The Great Wall of China has only been breached by clever enemies not by strong and mighty battles. Who do you share information with and what information are you sharing?

Protecting our networks takes all of us working together and the students on the Globe University Campus in Minneapolis are getting some good wisdom on this matter from their awesome professor, Eddie!