Recent reports have shown that digital platforms such as Android devices and other programs are vulnerable to malicious code, and have the potential to ruin a business and a business owner’s digital identity.
To remove these vulnerabilities, or at the very least minimise the opportunities for hackers and fraudsters, it is vital that SMEs and their employees follow these four steps:
1. Only download programs and apps from trusted sources
If it does not come from the main store or the website of the developers, do not click any download buttons or links.
While this may seem obvious to some, third-party locations to download apps or programs have more lax security, and as such nearly anyone can provide a program on such a site. These programs may not have been properly checked, and could contain malicious code.
However, even legitimate download platforms may have infected programs, and positive reviews may not always be a possible sign, as malware such as Gooligan is able to create fraudulent reviews, so it is always best to err on the side of caution.
2. Always download security updates when available
Malicious programs have to find weaknesses in programs to be able to activate. Devices and programs that are not updated regularly may contain such weaknesses, and can be easy targets for malicious programs.
Updating your devices and programs minimises these weaknesses and makes it much harder for your security to be breached.
3. Never open suspicious links
If you receive a link in an email and you are not sure what it contains, you may be the target of a phishing scam. Opening a link may infect your device or program.
If the link in the email comes from a supplier, call that supplier via a phone number or email address located on its website, as opposed to the contact details in the suspicious email. People who wish to exploit you may provide fraudulent contact information, trying to masquerade as a supplier, so going to the original source to confirm can circumnavigate that attempt.
A link can also be checked by comparing the URL with other URLs from the main website the email purports to come from. A hacker may alter the URL slightly so that it appears almost identical to the proper website.
For example, a proper business may have properbusiness.com.au, while a phishing attempt may appear as properbusiness.com, properbusiness.net or proper-business.com.au.
4. Regularly back up your data
If the absolute worst occurs and a hacker steals all of your data, you can be left with nothing. However, if you complete regular back ups, you won't have to start again from square one.
Investing in a portable hard drive is a good idea, ensuring vital documents and information can be retained should disaster strike.