Cybersecurity, Simplified: Threat Alerts 

May 28th, 2020

As we continue to bring more technology into our daily lives the number of alerts and notifications we receive is skyrocketing. And these are just the pings for everyday things like the news, weather, or social media. It can be tough to filter through the noise, especially to stay informed on issues that matter to you and your business–like important cybersecurity news, breach announcements, emerging threats, and new vulnerability warnings.

Who are cybersecurity threat alerts for?

While every employee has a responsibility to protect the company against cybersecurity threats, , threat alerts are best viewed and managed by IT professionals and management teams. If you don’t have an internal IT resource, that’s when owners or operations managers should receive threat alerts and relay anything of concern internally and to their IT partner (e.g. managed service provider, security system integrator, etc.).

No matter who is reviewing and managing the threat alerts, it is best practice to share major breaches and new phishing scams to be on the lookout for with the entire company. What about breaches (i.e. at big box stores, insurance carriers, and credit card companies) that affect individuals? You never know where employees use their work email, and compromised credentials or other information could be the opening a cyberattacker needs.

What are cybersecurity threat alerts?

There is a lot more to threat alerts than software patch notifications and nation state criminal activity. Alerts can include discovered vulnerabilities, new attack vectors and methods used by cybercriminals, local and national stories, market specific threats, trending phishing attacks, and more. All of which are important to be aware of and can pose potential threats for your business.

When do cybersecurity threat alerts matter?

New breaches, viruses, ransomware, and phishing attacks pop up with alarming frequency. Getting into the habit of regularly – i.e. once or twice a week – reviewing threat alert emails, notifications, and stories from trusted sources is important.

Also take a moment to mark the second Tuesday of every month on your calendar. That is Patch Tuesday, the unofficial term used to refer to when Microsoft regularly releases software patches for its software products.

Where does a cybersecurity threat alert occur?

There are hundreds of sources that publish breach announcements, emerging threats, and new vulnerability warnings every day. As a small business, you may not have the resources or bandwidth to fully keep up to date with every potential source for threat intelligence. To find your alerts, seek out reliable, reputable, non-biased sources that are known in the tech world. You wouldn’t expect Vogue to share cybersecurity news just like you wouldn’t expect Brian Krebs to write on fashion. To help stay in-the-know, consider signing up for newsletters from sources you trust or using a service that curates alerts for you.

Why are cybersecurity threat alerts important?

Having a consolidated view of cybersecurity threats impacting businesses like yours helps you be prepared and take action before a breach occurs. You’ll be ahead of the game and able to take these steps towards protecting your business and your employees:

  • Change passwords on compromised accounts (and all others using the same password).
  • Remember to use a strong, unique passphrase for each service in the future.
  • Immediately patch vulnerable software and turn on automatic updates.
  • Maintain heightened awareness of phishing, social engineering, and other scams involving breached companies or popular themes.

Knowledge is power and prevention

Regularly understanding current security threats—especially those impacting your kind of business like new attack vectors and trending phishing attacks—plays a key role in proactively preventing cyber incidents from occurring in your business. If you haven’t already, establish a cybersecurity threat alert system that helps you stay-in-the know so you can stay one step ahead.

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