10 dangerous Cybersecurity Myths debunked


10 minutes reading

Cybersecurity is a word that you will hear quite frequently from now on. It’s the single biggest threat to your business if you are operating online. If disregarded, it can have devastating effects on your brand. Unsurprisingly, the world is doubling down on cybersecurity, and you should follow suit, regardless of your operation size.

Now, as a small business owner, you’re most likely not familiar with the ins and outs of cybersecurity. That’s fine. That’s why you’re here. You want to learn. But before you start improving your knowledge, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with some common misconceptions about cybersecurity, which can prove quite dangerous. To help you with your journey, we’ve prepared a list of the 10 most dangerous cybersecurity myths, and we will explain why they are so dangerous, why they are untrue, and what you should actually do instead. So, be ready to take notes, and let’s begin.

Myth 1: I’m Too Insignificant To Be A Target

This is probably the most dangerous of all myths. Most people will tell you that only high-profile individuals, governmental agencies, or famous brands are the targets of malicious actions on the internet. After all, what do these hackers want with a small mom-and-pop retail business that can barely afford to stay afloat?

brood-force attack

This false sense of security, however, is not based on fact but on the misconception that internet criminals have some sense of honor. The facts, however, point in an entirely different direction. About 43% of cyberattacks are actually aimed at small to midsize businesses. It’s true, the payout won’t be as high as if they break the Central Bank data. On the other hand, obtaining your less valuable protected data would take far less time, effort, and risk. Thus, hitting hundreds of small businesses and getting ransoms or some data from them can ultimately prove profitable.

So, regardless of how big your business is at the moment, you are a target. Doing nothing to protect your website from cyber threats because you don’t have any valuable data is like staying under the rain because you’re not made out of sugar. Though standing in the rain won’t kill you, a successful cyberattack can put you out of business.

Needless to say, don’t underestimate the threat and take the necessary precautions. True, you don’t have to win awards with your cyber security features. Still, you need to implement enough security features to deter potential low-level cyber criminals from even trying to steal your data.

Myth 2: Cybersecurity Is The IT Department’s Prerogative

Ah, if that were true, how easy life would be. But unfortunately, cybersecurity is definitely not just the IT department’s responsibility. Yes, they must implement the security features and design the mitigation protocols. They also have to develop the various data conduction codes that your employees, especially those with access to your sensitive data, must follow. However, every single one of your teammates must ensure your data is safe.

As a business owner, you must introduce end-to-end employee training and education on cybersecurity. More importantly, you must ensure everyone in your business ecosystem, like vendors, freelancers, consultants, and partners, complies with your security measures.

Now, this can prove a bit tricky, as most cyber attacks come from remote connections to sensitive information. For example, an employee may use public wi-fi at a coffee shop to access your cloud storage. This is like breathing heavily in a room full of coughing people during flu season. Yes, you may get through it unscathed, but chances are, you won’t.

So, implementing strict regulations and security measures for accessing valuable data is definitely not the IT job. It’s yours, especially when it comes to enforcing it. So, while some of your employees may think you’re a stickler for rules, it’s far better if you are the bad boss than the sucker who lost his business.

Myth 3: Humans Are The Weakest Link

Now, there is some truth to this myth. In fact, about 22% of all cybersecurity issues are caused by internal sources. This means that one or more employees are not following the protocols, and naturally, they cause a data spill.

However, in most cases, humans are not the problem. It’s the company and its security protocols (or lack thereof). For example, many companies practice the bring-your-own-device business model. This business model has many benefits, and it truly downsizes costs and raises employee satisfaction and productivity. However, you should always implement it with security measures in mind. Otherwise, this can quickly turn into a nightmare.

In this regard, humans are not the problem. Actually, they are your biggest asset in battling cyber threats. If properly educated, your team can detect and report suspicious activities, thus stopping an attack before it can access your precious data.

cyber security lock

Still, you don’t need a giant office filled with cybersecurity specialists. On the contrary, a single CISO can help you prepare your regular employees to recognize and deflect cyber attacks when they see one. These experts can indeed be game changers since they can help you with budgeting, deciding on the right security tools, and saving you a ton of money in expensive yet unnecessary upgrades.

So, while people can be a weak link if the company is not prepared to protect its data, they can also be your biggest ally if you know how to train them.

Myth 4: Phishing Schemes Are Always Obvious

This is one myth that can play a very bad number on you. Mainly because several years ago, this wasn’t a myth but the truth. However, today, hackers and cybercriminals are far more sophisticated in their means. This includes phishing.

Today, malicious actors have access to a ton of public information that they can use to create one genuinely trustworthy-looking phishing email. For example, they can steal an authoritative company’s logo, duplicate their web page design, and even find the correct name through publicly available information. Moreover, they can register a dummy website with the company name but with a different TLD. For example, instead of company.com, they can use company.net. This is especially easy with governmental bodies, as they often use the .gov TLD. So, scammers can instead register the same domain name but with .com TLD instead. In most cases, this won’t ring any alarm bells.

To protect your data, you must implement strict rules. For example, always double-check the sender’s email, and, when not sure, check if the website at the email’s tail is actually the one affiliated with the institution that allegedly sends it. Furthermore, never follow links. Yes, they are the easier solution, but by far the more dangerous one. So, always go to the organization’s website separately and finish the requested action from there. If that’s impossible, make it your business to contact the organization through a publicly listed phone number or email and ask them to confirm the email’s authenticity.

Indeed, that sounds way too complicated, but you don’t receive many requests to fill out your data on a landing page. So, the extra time and effort are definitely worth it.

Myth 5: I’ve Deleted The Data, So It’s No Longer A Threat

Many data leaks occur after you’ve disposed of the data itself. Note that your responsibilities regarding the collected data do not end with pressing the delete button. Unfortunately, this is not enough—not by a long shot.

Deleted data from hard drives or cloud devices is still at risk by malicious actors to steal it. There are various file restoration software that cyber attackers use to retrieve files that haven’t been entirely deleted. The scariest part is that these programs could be used even if the hacker gains remote access. So, they don’t even have to steal your hard drive to gain access to the deleted data.

With cloud-based storage, files often remain accessible for up to 30 days after their deletion. This feature was first integrated to prevent the mistake of deleting valuable data. However, today, hackers use this otherwise helpful solution to their advantage.

So, to mitigate this risk, you must implement a deep cleaning schedule on your computers and cloud storage. There are many free software programs that can help you with your tasks. All you need to do is ensure you don’t permanently delete anything that you will need. Once you deep clean your storage unit, you won’t have access to the deleted files ever again.

Myth 6: I Follow The Regulations, So I’m OK

Compliance with local regulations and laws does not make you secure. These regulations are the bare minimum, which will help you avoid more severe penalties if someone manages to breach your security. However, these are truly only basic requirements for your website to be legal. Following them will also grant you some authority and credibility. However, they are far from enough when it comes to genuine cyber security.

GDPR ilustration

Furthermore, regulations often need to catch up to the real world, as agencies can’t change them as fast as modern trends go. You can’t just change a regulation on a whim. Thus, following just the regulations, means you will be several years behind the modern cyber threats. As you can imagine, this is definitely not ideal for your data protection.

So, don’t trust industry regulations completely, and protect your business on all sides with various tools and software.

Myth 7: More Tools Equals Better Cyber Security

Speaking of tools, more doesn’t always mean better. More often than not, even high-end security tools are not enough to ensure your security. The problem comes from the lack of configuration. Most high-end security features can provide you with a pretty robust shield against attacks. However, you must set them up, monitor, update, and maintain regularly. Now, this is a problem if your business is a one-man show since that’s not an easy or fast job.

On the other hand, filling your website and servers with countless tools will only make them slower and buggier. So, instead, start by determining your cybersecurity needs. For example, if you offer online shopping, make sure you implement the best payment security features on the market.

Sure, a single tool is insufficient, but you need to determine the proper chain to make the difference. A precise tool kit with high-end security features will definitely secure your entire website and data base, while at the same time it won’t lag or malfunction.

Remember, security is about strategizing rather than just throwing money at it.

Myth 8: A Strong Password Makes Great Security

A strong password is a great start. This is true enough. Adding capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols will give you a stable pillar on which to build your security. However, no matter how many resources you have, no matter how much you try, you will never be able to keep up with how fast hackers develop new methods to beat securities. It’s practically their job.

So, no matter if your password is 32 symbols long with numbers, symbols, and even hieroglyphs, hackers will find a way to break it. The only way to ensure you have some security is the two-factor authentication. This feature requires the user to produce two pieces of evidence that they are who they say they are. This is most notably used in online banking, where, along with your PIN code, you must approve the transfer via a security code sent to you by the bank or via an application that is only connected to your account.

There are various less-sophisticated two-factor authentication methods that will fit your business perfectly. So, you don’t have to develop a fancy app or send all your employees SMSs every time they want to enter their accounts. Instead, use Google Authenticator or another such app and make sure all your employees use it as well. This is the only way to prevent others from brute-forcing your account.

Myth 9: If There Is A Breach, I’ll Notice

People with no IT experience whatsoever most often believe this myth. On average, a business will discover a data breached in 277 days. If you are stubborn enough to disregard the obvious challenge, you will hardly be able to notice a breach faster than those who are already looking for it.

These days, hackers are really good at swiping their tracks. Thus, your server can be compromised for years before you notice the security issue. The worst part is that the longer your sensitive data was exposed, the higher the cost afterward will be. For example, in 2014, Marriott International failed to recognize a security breach for 4 years. This led to the disclosure of the personal data of over 339 million of their guests. Along with the massive authoritative blow,  regulators forced the company to pay a 124 million dollar fine.

data breach attempt

So, don’t be overconfident that you will see the data breach in time. More often than not, you will not even notice anything is wrong before you get slammed with several million dollars of fines.

Myth 10: Any Cloud Will Make Your Data Impenetrable

You’ve often heard that cloud hosting is much more secure than regular hosting. That’s true. However, not just any cloud solution will make your data impenetrable.

Cloud solutions indeed offer an additional layer of safety. For one, they are not storing the data onsite and replicating it on various servers. So, your data is backed up continuously, and chances of losing it entirely are slim to none. However, a cloud system is not automatically secured. You must ensure that your wi-fi network is secured when accessing the cloud.

Moreover, your password must follow all the best practices to be robust enough to withstand the more simple boot-force attacks. But also add a two-factor authentication code. This will instantly make your login impenetrable. Most importantly, you must use only reliable cloud solution providers. For a secure cloud server, the service provider must implement various robust security features to ensure your information is well documented, backed up, and securely locked away.

How can HostArmada help

As one of the best cloud-hosting providers on the internet, we can offer you the best and strongest security features for your website’s data. Our hosting is not just lightning-fast and reliable. It also implements top-of-the-line security measures that ensure your website will remain secure.

Now, we must be extremely clear. HostArmada’s hosting security is just one piece of your website’s cybersecurity puzzle. So, while we do provide the best protection against data breaches, we can’t protect you on all fronts. While we pride ourselves on our hosting security, we are no substitute for a prolific security strategy that can mitigate all threats. As we noted above, the security of a website is not just IT’s job. It’s everyone’s job, and we are proud to take our part.

Still, adding HostArmada as your service provider as part of your security strategy is a great start. Take a look at our plans and the accompanying security features. Choose the one that best suits your needs and start securing your website from the very start.