Some weeks are rougher than others. This last week was a challenge in cyber space. The outfall of the criminal hacking of the Hacking Team, an Italian spyware developer, was that several vulnerabilities that the company had found became readily accessible. The hackers dumped sensitive data on the web and criminals have been exploiting the information.
Small businesses should take immediate action on three security issues, two of which will help counter flaws the Hacking Team had identified. The third action is related to Microsoft XP operating system.
Update Adobe Flash Player immediately. Or uninstall it, if you don’t need it. Flash Player is frequently used to play online videos and to animate websites.
Mozilla and Google took aggressive action last week when they said they would block all out of date Flash Player versions due to security concerns. Adobe has been releasing new versions quickly, but Mozilla and Google know that not all systems are updated with new releases quickly.
Ensure that if you are running Internet Explorer 11, your system has automatically updated for the patch released last week. If your system is not set for automatic updates, you need to patch it immediately.
If you are still running Windows XP, go shopping today for a new operating system. You probably need to get a new computer to handle the new OS. If you have to continue using XP for an application that does not run on another OS, use the old computer for just that application and move your other uses to a machine with a current operating system.
If you have been using Microsoft’s free anti-virus solution Malicious Software Removal Tool on your XP, you no longer have coverage. This service and updates to Microsoft Security Essentials was discontinued July 14, 2015.
Read about this and other news for small businesses by Carolyn Schrader, NCI Fellow, whose expertise is cybersecurity for small businesses.