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Ask the expert: internet security

cyber attacks greatest security concernChristopher Russell is the small business solutions manager at Symantec and we asked him to explain what threats are out there.

What are the biggest threats to a small business?

There are four key trends that Symantec believes will affect Australian SMBs in 2013, price particularly with the rapid growth in social and mobile technology advancements.

1.Security and cloud

With consumers and organisations moving more of their online activities to mobile devices and the cloud, cybercriminals will increasingly target vulnerabilities in these areas. E-wallet and e-pass applications are just one technology development that creates new opportunities for cyber attackers, and risks for consumers and businesses.   

2. Ransomware is the new scareware

Ransomware goes beyond attempting to fool its victims, instead intimidating them into parting with their money. Attacks in Australia have already resulted in payments to attackers to retrieve stolen data, and Australians should be prepared for these sorts of attacks to become more commonplace here.

3. Madware adds to the insanity

Madware, which sneaks on to a users’ device when they download an app, can annoy users with incessant pop ups, change browser settings, and even gather personal information. As businesses move more of their online activities to mobile devices, madware is set to explode.

4. Social networks introduce new dangers

According to The Norton Cybercrime Report 2012, 37% of Australians claim they have fallen victim to cybercrime on social networking platforms, this poses a major risk to the security of private information stored on the personal devices of employees. It is imperative that employees ensure they have comprehensive protection across every device they use at home or at work and businesses need to employ adequate data protection measures and update mobile device usage policies.

How much of a risk is it for employees to bring their own devices? What should you do to protect your network?

There are many advantages to the BYOD trend; however, without adequate measures to secure not only mobile devices but also the applications and data they hold, data breaches, device loss and mobile malware are some of the concerns businesses face. There is also the risk that a device owned by an employee might be used for non-work activity that may expose it to more malware than a device strictly used for business purposes only.

According to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, 43% of online adults in Australia, or around 5.4 million people, have experienced cybercrime in the past twelve months. This, coupled with the rise in threats on social media provides a worrying gateway for cybercriminals looking to access company or client information.

What are your top five tips for picking the right security software for your business?

•    Know what you need to protect: One data breach could mean financial ruin for an SMB. Look at where your information is being stored and used, and protect those areas accordingly.
Part of this is assessing whether you need to manage the security in-house, or whether you can leverage a fully
hosted service.

•    Look for a reliable security solution: Today’s solutions do more than just prevent viruses and spam; they scan files regularly for unusual changes in file size, programs that match known malware, suspicious email attachments and other warning signs. It’s the most important step to protect your information.

•    Map out a disaster preparedness plan today: Don’t wait until it’s too late. Identify your critical resources. This means using appropriate security and backup solutions to archive important files, and test frequently.

•    Encrypt confidential information: Implement encryption technologies on desktops, laptops and removable media to protect your confidential information from unauthorised access, providing strong security for intellectual property, customer and partner data.

•    Stay up to date: A security solution is only as good as the frequency with which it is updated. New viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other malware are born daily, and variations of them can slip by software that is not current. You need to educate your employees and choosing the right provider that helps you do this will put you on the front foot!

What does Symantec Endpoint Protection/Norton Internet Security offer over the competition?

Across all our range of products, Symantec’s Norton Internet Security’s unique protection system offers SMBs five patented layers of protection, eliminating threats before they can reach your PC. This allows SMBs and their employees to freely surf, share files, connect, and work online without worry. Cloud-based management functionality lets SMBs update, renew, or install Norton software subscriptions on additional PCs over the Internet.
Norton offers customers a SCAM Insight service that reviews a website’s reputation and lets you know if it is safe to enter your business’ private and personal information on that site. 

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Keep up to speed with all the latest technology trends to benefit your small business. With technology moving at an ever-increasing pace, it can sometimes be hard to follow and understand the latest trends and products. NETT features up-to-date, informative and inspiring news on all things technical to keep you in the know. Discover great technical solutions for your small business and grow your business inline with the times.