Divert the eyes of hackers with boosted computer security

June 1, 20185 minute read

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Do you ever feel like you're being watched online? It may sound a little paranoid, but don't break out your tinfoil hat just yet. Hackers can peer directly into what you're doing and see every keystroke in real time, without your knowledge, if your computer security isn't up to par.

If you don't like the idea of curious hackers peeking over your shoulder, then it's time to get hip to the many ways they can surveil you—and your employees'—online activity. Knowing your enemy and their tactics is the best way to protect your business against this growing threat.

Hackers can watch you browse the web

Picture this: You've brewed a cup of coffee just the way you like it, and now, you're settling in at your desk for a productive morning. While browsing a website, you fill out a form. Seems innocent enough—you do it all the time, right? As you're typing in each field, though, you may be under some low-key surveillance. Using a technology called session replays, certain websites record every move you make while navigating though their pages. Along the way, session replays may record sensitive information, such as your passwords, credit card numbers, and even medical data. Anything you think you're privately sharing with that website might not be private after all.

Why would anybody want to record what you're doing on a website in the first place? As TechRepublic reports, session-replay scripts were originally developed to help website operators understand how visitors interacted with their sites, so they could spot problems with the user interface. It seems harmless and even well-intentioned, but unfortunately, this technology can be used for nefarious purposes, if it falls into the wrong hands. These tools may be vulnerable to attacks that could end up breaching your office security without you ever knowing it.

Although this is a scary prospect, you can take some smart computer security measures to keep it from happening at your office. For example, ad-blocking lists can keep some session-replay scripts from loading. If you want to go hardcore, you could block all scripts from running—but then Fred from sales may come barreling down the hallway asking why he can't register for that important industry conference next month. Instead, you may want to take a gradual approach by:

  • Blocking any known scripts with an ad blocker or browser extension
  • Making sure that doing so doesn't disable the functionality your users need
  • Keeping tabs on this issue, so you can implement a comprehensive fix once available

Private eyes can see you print

Hackers are kicking the tires on your endpoints, trying to find weak spots in your company's endpoint security that they can compromise and use as a staging ground for further exploits. Along the way, they might also pull up a chair to watch you print. You might think it sounds nonthreatening—who cares if some stranger sees the agenda for the next meeting you're leading, right? But it's actually a huge risk to you and your colleagues, who send document after document to the office printer under the assumption that no one from outside the firm could be looking in.

As demonstrated with sardonic flair in The Wolf, an opportunistic digital villain can easily infect an unprotected endpoint with malware. Seemingly innocuous information, examined by a malicious actor, could then be leveraged for staging an attack that brings the business to its knees. Don't want someone rummaging through your company's top secret financial statements? Then, you'll want to lock down your environment with printers that can protect documents in transit and printer device security solutions that automatically detect and fend off attacks.

Cybercriminals can peep your IoT and mobile devices

This principle applies to all endpoints in your environment, including the smart coffeemaker you used to brew that cup of joe before heading back to your desk. Maintaining privacy and security in the age of IoT tech is critical; otherwise, a hacker could waltz right into an unsecured wearable device and begin monitoring your CEO's stress levels and sleep patterns. While they're wondering why your executive is battling insomnia, they might scan incoming email and find out it's because a proposed merger is running into some obstacles. It's not hard to imagine why your company wouldn't want that sort of information falling into the wrong hands—or worse, breached and made available to the public.

Your colleagues' mobile devices require careful attention, too. They can be nicked in transit or remotely accessed, just like any laptop or desktop computer if an employee clicks on a phishing link or downloads an app containing malware or spyware. Health care organizations know all too well the consequences of having confidential patient information breached in this way. Whatever your industry, chances are your mobile devices are accessing or storing similarly sensitive data your company would rather keep out of cybercriminal reach. With that in mind, you should tighten mobile device security.

While there may be some sketchy folks stealing a peek at your online activity, the good news you can take proactive measures to firm up your office security and keep your company's digital movements safe from prying eyes. That way, you and your colleagues can confidently continue your business as usual—in private, where it belongs.

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