7 Cybersecurity Mistakes Your Staff Could Be Making Right Now

stressed employee working in remote office

It’s a harsh truth but your employees can be your worst enemy when it comes to cybersecurity, especially if they haven’t been adequately trained or armed with effective cybersecurity tips for employees. Hackers know that people make mistakes, and they exploit those weaknesses. IBM found that one in five data breaches are due to lost or stolen credentials and 17% are from a direct phishing attack.

It doesn’t take much for a cybercriminal to find a weak password—they start selling for about $3 on the Dark Web. As a managed service provider, we’ve seen it all and helped each of our clients turn their employees from a security liability into an asset.

Here are 7 cybersecurity tips for employees so you can prevent an expensive data breach from hitting your company.

Reusing Passwords and Using Weak Passwords 

In 2022, hackers breached TransUnion South Africa and ransomed the data of 54 million customers for $15 million. They claim they got through the company’s defenses by using the age-old cybersecurity joke: a password that was literally “password.”

Even though this example is extreme, it highlights the importance of having strong passwords and not reusing them across accounts. Passwords should be complex and have upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

We know that keeping track of multiple passwords can be tricky. Luckily, there are password management tools that take the guesswork out of keeping track of multiple passwords and creating strong passwords.

Clicking on Phishing Emails 

The social engineering of phishing scams and all of their sibling attacks (vishing, smishing, whaling, etc.) has become extremely complex. Social media is great for sharing what you ate for breakfast that day, but it also gives hackers insider information into your life.

They might use your social media and a general Google search about you to find out your favorite sports team, your alma mater, or other personal details. They then use that information in email phishing attacks and make them appear credible.

Personnel should follow these three cybersecurity tips for employees to effectively weed out phishing emails:

  1. Stop before opening any attachments. They should never open attachments from an email that they didn’t expect to receive, even if it looks like it’s from a trusted source.
  2. Check the sender’s email address. Even if the sender appears to be someone they know, they should look closely at the email address to make sure it matches properly. Look out for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  3. Confirm with the sender by using a different method. If they weren’t expecting anything from the sender, they should call or text them to confirm that it was actually sent from them.

Not Using Multi-Factor Authentication

One of the most underrated cybersecurity tips for employees is MFA. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to employee accounts. It requires more than just your password, such as a code sent via text message or biometrics like fingerprints and facial recognition.

If you’re not using MFA, you should start now! It can be set up in minutes and offers a simple but effective layer of protection against data breaches.

Remote Workers Using Unsecured Wi-Fi 

Working in a coffee shop seems like the ideal workspace, but remote work opens up a whole new realm of cybersecurity risks. Remote workers should always use a secure Wi-Fi connection and never public networks.

They should also make sure their home network is encrypted with a strong password. If they are connecting to your corporate network, they should also use a VPN to protect their data.

Using Unsecured Personal Devices 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies can be convenient, but they come with their own set of security risks. Employees should make sure that their personal devices are encrypted and have the most up-to-date software patches installed.

They should also be educated on their company’s BYOD policy and not use any devices or tools that have not been approved by the company.

Writing Passwords Down and Not Practicing Physical Security 

Going old school and writing passwords down sounds like a good alternative to storing them in an online document (which you should never do) but your employee will just be leaving that piece of paper in a backpack or on their desk—it’s not a good idea.

Physical security is an often-overlooked cybersecurity tip for employees. Not leaving your laptop unattended in public places or not signing out of your devices and sensitive accounts are just a couple of examples of careless physical safety that can lead to severe cyber repercussions.

Not Contacting IT When They Fall for Social Engineering Attempts

We get it—falling for a social engineering scam is embarrassing. But the fact of the matter is that it can happen to anyone. So your employees should be comfortable talking to IT and alerting them when they think they have fallen for a phishing attempt.

Turn Your Employees Into an Asset With Stability Networks

These cybersecurity tips for employees don’t have to be complicated. With Stability Networks, we offer a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that combines employee education with technical solutions and monitoring. We provide the tools and resources your employees need to stay safe and secure online.

Schedule a call with our team to see how your employees can become an important part of your cybersecurity strategy.

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