Hack Prevention and Best Practices

Being hacked has serious implications. The effects are wide-ranging and can cost you a lot of money. The best way to mitigate the impact is by preventing the hack from happening in the first place. Reducing the available attack surface is a great way to accomplish this. Here are a few actions you can take to reach this goal.

Use Good Passwords.
Bad passwords are the #1 way hackers get into systems. Here is a bit more detail on this point:   http://www.contegix.com/the-perils-of-bad-passwords/

Diligent Password Management and Rules.

As indicated above, most people use horrible passwords. Instead of accepting this, prevent it. Enforce secure standards for the passwords used in your systems. Enact policies to have these passwords updated on a regular basis. Disallow known bad password practice. Here are specific policies to try: http://www.contegix.com/the-password-is-security-here-are-some-password-best-practices/

Regular System Updates.  Keep your operating systems and applications all Up-To-Date. Attackers commonly leverage “0-day” exploits to hack in. These are unfixed bugs leveraged by the attacker to gain privileges on the remote system. Any modern Operating System or Application will regularly release updates that fix these issues. It is up to you to regularly apply those updates. Regular updates are even more critical if the application is public facing, such as a WordPress site. http://www.contegix.com/is-your-data-protected/

Proactive Monitoring.
Having metrics and monitoring means you can spot what the status quo is for every day usage. It becomes a lot easier to spot hacks or other issues when things deviate from the norm.   Hacked devices tend to use a lot of resources (for sending out the spam, participate in DDoS attacks, robocalls, etc.) making them stand out in the metrics.

Utilize Secure Connections Whenever Possible.
When visiting or hosting any website, use SSL (i.e. use “https” for the URL instead of “http”.) This will force an encrypted connection between the two of you that cannot be intercepted. When using your device publicly, at a Coffee Shop or the airport: Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect to the office or your home. The VPN’s encryption will prevent threats on the network from reading all of your traffic. This helps protect accounts, credentials, and other sensitive information you deal with daily.

In Conclusion
Practicing everything above will limit the available attack surface, greatly lowering your chances of being hacked. The steps can be summed up by the Benjamin Franklin quote: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”