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‘Don’t think it’s not going to happen to you’: How to protect yourself from cyberattacks – Winnipeg

A rise in cyberattacks is making security top of mind for not only big companies but also everyday people and small businesses.

When the phone rings at Constant C Technology Group, it usually means a caller has already suffered a cyberattack. Their data’s been compromised, and it’s not looking good.

“Just don’t think it’s not going to happen to you just because you live in Winnipeg or somewhere in Canada or you are a small business. It doesn’t mean anything,” Jason Kolaski said.

Cybersecurity awareness is growing, especially since the pandemic forced a lot of people to work from home, Kolaski, the company’s president and CEO, told Global News on Thursday.

“Companies are willing to spend more money on actually securing their environments now, where in the past it was, ‘No, it won’t happen to me.’”

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Not only are more businesses inquiring about services, but course enrolment is also picking up.

“We have people joining from all industries, even people that don’t have any any background related to IT or to technology at all,” Herzing College cybersecurity instructor Sergio Gonzalez said.

But cybersecurity strategist Ritesh Kotak says people should practice better online habits in a rapidly changing landscape.

“We’re very reactive instead of being proactive, and that needs to shift, and once that shifts, businesses and society in general will be less vulnerable,” Kotak said.

Fortunately, many high-tech crimes have affordable, low-tech solutions, Kotak said — including making sure your software is up to date, monitoring who has access to your accounts and setting up alerts along with using multi-factor authentication.

But Kolaski cautions that nothing is 100 per cent, no matter how good your technology is or how much money you spend.

“The weakest link is the person standing behind the computer screen, so making sure they don’t click on something or they don’t give the wrong information.”

Kolaski recommends companies get cyber insurance, give monthly or ongoing awareness training to their employees and make sure their servers are backed up and tested for vulnerabilities, because hackers often attack off-site backups first before targeting on-site data.

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“Do you have some way of restoring your data that if all else fails, that you can actually have something that you can actually bring back in and get your company up and running again?” Kolaski said.

It could mean the difference between being online one day and offline the next.

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