The truth behind 5 top cybersecurity myths


February 20, 2018


A lot of what we believe about the world is just flat-out wrong. For instance, you can’t see the Great Wall of China from space, and you don’t have to wait an hour after eating before you can swim. Mind-blowing, right?

Of course, repeating one of those myths will just make you look dumb in front of a bunch of astronauts or waste an hour of potential pool time sweating in the sun. IT security myths, on the other hand, could have devastating consequences for your business, as 60 percent of hacked small businesses go under just six months after an attack. What’s more, hacks cause an average loss of $117,000 for small to medium-sized businesses and $1.3 million for enterprise businesses, while a new malware strain emerges every 4.2 seconds.

Many hacks are attributable to low cybersecurity literacy. In 2017, the Pew Research Center tested Americans’ knowledge on the subject by asking 13 questions that covered basic online security. The majority of respondents couldn’t even score 50 percent, meaning most of us are flunking out when it comes to protecting ourselves and our businesses.

That’s why IT myths like the ones below are so pernicious. Today, we’ll debunk some of the most common cybersecurity misconceptions and shine some light on the ideal IT services strategy so you can keep your money where it belongs—in your business.

Myth 1: Only big companies get hacked

Many small business owners wrongly assume that their size protects them against hackers. You don’t keep a fish unless it’s good eating, right? But although big hacks like the Equifax breach are the ones you hear about in the papers, small businesses fall victim all the time. In fact, almost half of all cyberattacks target small businesses, and that number is growing.

The recent explosion of SMB-targeted hacks was severe enough to prompt the attention of Congress: In 2017, several U.S. senators penned the MAIN STREET Cybersecurity Act designed to revise security standards for SMBs.

Many cybercriminals favor small businesses precisely because they are small, and therefore less likely to employ sophisticated security tactics like data encryption and 24/7 monitoring. You can break the mold by hiring an IT support provider to offer high-level security services for your business.


Myth 2: Non-technical employees can’t do much to impact cybersecurity

The members of your IT support team can do a lot of things, but they can’t stop cybercrime all by themselves. All it takes is one click from an unsuspecting employee to suddenly find yourself the victim of a high-dollar ransomware attack or other event.

As best practice, everyone in the office needs to get involved. That means choosing secure passwords and learning how to spot a fishy (or should we say “phish-y?”) email, which involves understanding the basics of public Wi-Fi security. Attending an all-hands training session once a year isn’t a bad idea, either. Internet security should not be an IT-only affair.

Myth 3: Security is getting better overall

This is a tricky one. Yes, security practices are getting more sophisticated, but they’re really only adapting to new hacking techniques. Meanwhile, new technologies open up potential security vulnerabilities all the time.

The internet of things has security experts particularly worried. Although IoT estimates are notoriously hard to pin down, one projects that the B2B IoT market will generate $300 billion annually by 2020. But there’s a catch: An improperly secured device could cost your business millions. In fact, IT support experts fear that many devices contain exploitable security loopholes, allowing hackers to spy on your business and steal sensitive information. All of this means you’ll need to be ever-vigilant if you hope to stand a chance against the hackers of the future.

Myth 4: Lightning never strikes the same place twice

This old adage is patently false—whether you’re talking climatology or IT. An attack may actually make you more prone to hacks in the future. In one study, for instance, ransomware victims were hit twice a year on average after their initial hacking.

One explanation is that hackers talk to each other (the dark web is teeming with menacing forums and chat rooms). If a business grudgingly forks over a ransom, it earns a reputation as an easy mark, which is why it doesn’t always pay to pay up. Luckily, you don’t have to face down attackers alone. A dedicated IT services team will have your back during an attack, putting the “support” in IT support and allowing you to react quickly and forcefully.

Myth 5: A strong password is enough to keep my accounts safe

If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, hackers can easily get around account safeguards like these by resetting your password. They may also use social engineering, posing as a site you trust or pretending to be an IT support provider to trick you into giving up your information via email. Either way, it’s safe to say passwords are not enough.

Adding two-factor authentication is a start, but it takes some additional security smarts to stand up to today’s hackers. For a crash course in today’s security risks, download our Cyber Security Infographic today. This easy-to-digest graphic highlights some of the most surprising security statistics—exactly what you need to grab the attention of incredulous employees and executives, and ultimately convince them that your IT services strategy could use a revamp. At the very least, they’ll think twice before clicking on that next “free giveaway” email.

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