Smart Safety Tips Every Digital Marketer Should Know in 2019
Even the biggest tech companies like Google and Facebook have suffered massive data breaches over the past couple of years alone. Here is a list of a few Smart Safety Tips Every Digital Marketer Should Know.
When such an incident happens, corporations and even small businesses suddenly lose significant numbers of their users and customers and their stock value also plummets.
The databases of your websites, blogs, mailing lists, and CRM (customer relationship management) servers should be protected at all times.
According to this 2018 Business insider report, over 29 million Facebook user accounts were compromised from July 2017 to September last year.
Hackers penetrated this social media giant’s network security defenses by exploiting the “View as” feature vulnerability.
You might have noticed that the feature was missing for some time.
This was the reason.
What this means is that these attackers could access supposedly secure digital keys stored in Facebook’s servers, which allowed users to stay logged into their accounts.
This then gave hackers full access privileges to use these compromised accounts, and to scrape private data from unsuspecting users.
Immediately after the news broke about the data breach, this 2018 Fortune report says that Facebook lost $13 billion in value after their stock went down by 3%.
When this happened, millennials were most users who began to distrust and had a negative opinion of Facebook.
The Manifest stated this in their September 2018 report. They claimed that 37% of all Facebook users worldwide started using this social media platform much less right after this security breach.
So if these problems can happen to multi-billion dollar tech corporations with household brands, then this shows that the security protocols of your databases, websites and mobile apps might not stand a chance against these threats.
So how can you solve this problem and protect your business data, Web properties, and digital mobile products?
A formidable solution is to learn about the most cost-effective ways to do this for your digital properties, to safeguard your business against these attacks.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind while you’re running your online business or handling digital advertising and marketing campaigns for your clients.
Remember, features that rely on user inputs are often the most vulnerable points exploited by these hackers and malware authors.
Lots of cyber-criminals try to exploit bugs in the source code of websites, blogs, Internet tools, and mobile apps.
Many of them primarily look for these security holes in the user-level access systems of these digital products.
That’s because the user-level access systems directly connect to ports 443 (HTTPS) and 80 (HTTP) of your host machines.
But don’t forget that remote admin login and access privileges are also vulnerabilities that you should carefully check.
What this means is that perpetrators can exploit these vulnerabilities to give themselves the permission to access your databases and Web servers covertly without triggering your threat detectors.
So make it a point to double-check your source code, especially lines that are developed for enabling users to interact and input data into your client and server apps.
This is another cost-effective way to protect your digital properties at the user-level.
2FA is where a unique, cryptographically encrypted code is generated and sent to the user’s registered email or mobile number, which the user has manually authenticated beforehand.
This is often done upon registration.
Once entered, this unique code is hashed and compared to the secure authentication key in your Web server or back-end machine.
The user is then permitted access upon successful authentication.
2FA is quite resource-extensive for hackers to bypass and many will give up if they find this security measure in place.
There are lots of 2FA applications that you can integrate into your Web servers and mobile app back-ends, with Google Authenticator being the most popular pick.
This is a mobile app for iOS and Android that works even when the user’s device isn’t connected to the Internet.
Keep in mind, cryptographically generated and hashed access tokens require loads of computing power to successfully reverse engineer.
Not too many crooks, including lots of the biggest cyber-criminal syndicates worldwide, have sufficient resources to do this.
Teach your team to troubleshoot simple issues with the OS and other software on their computer and be sure to keep all operating systems up to date so any security vulnerabilities are patched up and safe from intruders.
Don’t forget that widely used open-source CMSs (content management systems) like WordPress and Joomla are among the primary targets of many cyber-criminal syndicates today.
Also, popular platforms that Web hosting companies and data centers use today are also targets for exploits and hacker attacks.
Lots of cyber-criminal groups distribute cleverly disguised rogue plugins, add-ons, and tools to search and exploit bugs and vulnerabilities in these CMSs and platforms. This is why it’s important to check whether the plugin, add-on or tool is legitimate.
For example, if you want to integrate Captcha to your contact form in WordPress, make sure you’re using legit Google Recaptcha V3 and a verified contact form plugin.
Authors and development companies that publish CMSs, platforms, plugins, and tools regularly release updates, upgrades and security fixes for their products.
So make it a point to frequently check and deploy these updates, upgrades, and fixes.
And because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, always remember to double-check the authenticity of plugins, tools and client applications that you use for your websites, blogs, databases, Web and mobile app back-ends.
An increasingly large number of independent developers, start-ups and big companies are in the business of providing protective tools and security applications for Webmasters and digital marketers.
Many of these security products are for widely used CMSs, platforms, Web and mobile back-end services, such as the ones mentioned earlier.
Some are open-source applications, others are freeware, while there are also lots of premium products in the market today.
These security plugins, add-ons, and tools are designed to integrate protective measures against the most common malware threats and privacy risks at the moment.
Also, the authors of these products regularly scour the Web in search of the newest threats and strategies that cyber-criminals are using today.
They then integrate new counter-measures into updates and upgrades to thwart and defend your digital properties against these attacks.
So aside from identifying and installing the most suitable security tools for your digital properties, you should regularly update and upgrade these plugins and add-ons.
Don’t just hope that all of your staff will know exactly what to do before, during and after security breaches.
Instead, you should train them on how to properly handle these things when they happen, or even before they happen.
This October 2018 report that was published by The Verge says the FBI is withholding the details of their suspects in last year’s Facebook data breach, which compromised the privacy and confidential data of over 29 million users of this social media platform.
They said this was because internal workers also had the means, motive and opportunity to play a part in the attack.
So you’re recommended to not just train your staff to keep an eye out for these threats and deploy suitable resolutions to fix these issues but to also implement department policies and rules.
This way, you can back your standard operating procedures with an organized check and balance system.
Such a system can make it quicker, easier and more effective for you to closely monitor the activities of your staff and detect possibly malicious strategies and tactics that might be carried out by some of them.
You’ll also have a more efficient way to inform your customers and users about certain concerns they may have regarding the security of their data and the privacy of their activities on your digital properties.
Large numbers of cyber-criminal syndicates and independent hackers target the devices of users for their malware applications.
These malicious programs are designed to secretly penetrate your local devices, such as PCs, Macs, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, and even UNIX systems.
Don’t forget that the devices of your tech development and digital marketing staff are also at risk. Once compromised, these malware applications can then wait for these infected devices to access your Web servers and other backend machines that you use for your client programs, Web and mobile apps.
These malicious programs are often developed in ways that can avoid detection while lying dormant in your local machines.
And that’s where the problem begins — Certain functions are triggered at the point where you use your compromised devices to access your Web servers and back-end systems.
This can then result in data breaches, security risks and hacker attacks that are targeted at your remote resources.
According to this June 2019 report, Microsoft Windows still has a 35.78% global market share at the moment. Their Windows 10 OS is currently the most widely used version.
Meanwhile, Apple Mac OSX has a 6.1% global market share.
So what this likely means is that more Webmasters and digital marketers are still using Microsoft Windows PCs for their day-to-day computing activities, including their requirements for frequently accessing their digital properties.
This also indicates that it’s less likely for your staff to perform their daily advertising and marketing tasks for your online businesses and clients on Mac OS X machines than on Microsoft Windows PCs.
On the other hand, cyber-criminals often target PCs more frequently than Mac OS X machines for their illegitimate activities and malware distribution strategies.
But there’s this common misconception that Mac OS X computers are essentially safe from malicious applications and impenetrable to hacker attacks.
This isn’t actually the case.
In fact, this year’s Macworld report points out a long list of malware threats, and many new ones are continuing to affect thousands of Mac users worldwide.
Malware threats and hacker attacks that are targeted at Microsoft Windows PCs far outnumber those designed for Mac OSX machines.
The most prevalent are mainly ransomware threats and tech support scams.
As the name suggests, ransomware is a piece of malicious software that’s designed to freeze your machine until you pay a hefty fee to unlock it.
Though many users are unable to regain access to their machines even after paying the “ransom”.
Meanwhile, tech support scams are done through browser hijacks that redirect users to a dynamic or static message.
These are designed to trick users into thinking that their computers have been compromised.
They’re forced to call a toll free number that’s disguised as the official support hotline of Microsoft or popular third party system security product development companies.
Data safety has become the primary concern of large enterprises and solopreneurs alike.
Today’s digital environment is mature, and so are the threats and exploits that reside all over it.
Secure your business data and the digital properties of your clients – you don’t want to face fines and backlash associated with a data breach, especially after GDPR was implemented, which brought much harsher fines to offenders.
Safe data practices should be a key part of your digital marketing strategy.