Some startups believe they are small enough or young enough to fly under the radar of cyber attackers. Others don’t have much money to invest so they cut corners on cybersecurity. Yet more simply don’t know the full extent of cybersecurity threats and fail to plan accordingly.
Some experts estimate that cybercrime will cost the world $10 trillion a year by 2025 and that every U.S. citizen should expect that their personal information has been stolen and shared online. And, while some attacks concentrate on large corporations with hefty bankrolls, it is arguably smaller businesses that suffer the most.
Many fail within six months of an attack, but what can start-ups with a limited budget and without an expert cybersecurity team do about it?
Use Strong Passwords And 2FA
Strong cyber security starts with strong passwords. Weak passwords are easily bypassed by hackers, who have bots and tools that can instigate different types of password hacks.
Credential stuffing attacks use previously stolen passwords and try these against other accounts belonging to the same person or business. Dictionary attacks use common words and make some substitutions, for example replacing letters with similar symbols (a $ replaces an s).
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A password-spraying attack is similar to a dictionary attack. The bot attempts to access accounts using a list of the most common passwords and variations. Passwords like “password” and “123456” are too obvious; even variants like “pa$$word” can be guessed without the need to use any software. Brute force attacks essentially try all possible combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols of a given length. This technique is slow but will eventually lead to the right password.
Use Reliable Proxy Servers
In recent years, the use of residential proxies has gained popularity in the world of cybersecurity. Residential proxies are IP addresses assigned to devices that are connected to the internet through residential internet service providers (ISPs). They offer an additional layer of security for startups looking to protect their online presence.
One of the main benefits of using residential proxies is that they provide a level of anonymity for your startup’s online activities. By using a residential proxy, your online activity appears to come from a residential IP address rather than a data center IP address, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to track your activity or identify your location.
Another advantage of using residential proxies is that they can help startups avoid geo-restrictions. For instance, some websites or services may only be accessible from specific regions. By using a residential proxy, you can make it appear as though you are accessing the website or service from a location that is allowed access.
Install Cybersecurity Software… And Keep It Updated
There is a lot of cybersecurity software out there but it’s only useful if it’s installed, allowed to run and scan, and is updated regularly. While a single, self-employed professional might be protected with free antivirus software, as soon as a business starts taking payments or gathering customer data, it is time to upgrade to a paid plan for the extra layers of security it provides.
Install A Firewall
A firewall prevents unwanted or malicious traffic from gaining access to your network or any of the computers in your organization. Hardware firewalls are used to protect entire networks. Software firewalls protect individual computers, and each installation will need updating separately.
Software firewalls included with operating systems can provide very basic protection, but you should consider something more robust especially as your business grows. As with any security software, you must keep your firewall software updated to prevent breaches.
Use Secure Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is not only beneficial because it allows remote access to data. It also enables you to automatically and routinely back up data that you can retrieve in the event of a loss. You do need to ensure that the cloud storage you use is secure, however, otherwise this poses another cyber security threat.
Secure Your Website
Use HTTPS and SSL/TSL to secure your website and any data that is transferred from users to your network. Regular HTTP protocols break data into packets for transmission, but these packets can be detected and read using readily available free software. HTTPS uses private and public keys to secure data.