Common Cybersecurity Mistakes in Telecommunications and How to Avoid Them 

The Internet population has surpassed five billion users, with 250 thousand new websites joining the digital ecosystem each day. As companies deepen their roots in the digital landscape, they find themselves more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hackers and cyber criminals are continually honing their skills, strategically targeting businesses with increasing sophistication.

Nearly 2,000 data breaches and over 300 million ransomware attacks occur annually, making the telecommunications industry one of the most susceptible to cybercriminals. Cyber attacks can leave a devastating impact on your company, resulting in a significant loss of funds as well as major damage to your reputation.

As the first to offer cyber liability coverage for professionals in the telecommunications sector, Telcom Insurance Group provides much-needed peace of mind through insurance coverage and helpful resources. Keep reading to learn more about the most common cybersecurity mistakes and how to avoid them.

The Vulnerability of Telecommunications to Cybersecurity Attacks

In 2021, the telecom industry experienced a 51% rise in cyber attacks, making our sector one of the most vulnerable targets for cybercriminals. But what makes this industry so lucrative for attacks online?

The major reasons for an increase in cyber risk include the following:

  • Prevalence of interconnected networks: An interconnected network is a group of networks connected by a singular route. Held within the communications network are copious amounts of customer data and sensitive information. This allows cybercriminals to cause the most damage with minimal effort.
  • Access to sensitive information: The telecommunications industry is privy to sensitive personal information, from credit card information to contact details. The conglomeration of such data makes it a high-value target for bad actors who wish to access and sell it on the dark web.
  • Lack of awareness: Lack of technical prowess on the employee level could invite unnecessary risk in the digital realm.
  • Shifting digital landscape: As the COVID-19 pandemic increased remote capabilities dramatically over the past several years, many companies were unable to put the proper security efforts in place. This led to a major opening for potential cyberattacks or threats as companies struggled to keep up.

The threat to the telecom industry continues to grow, with successful data breaches potentially costing a company its future. While cyberattacks can not always be avoided, there are steps to take on the business and employee levels to lessen their impact.

The Levels of Cybersecurity Mistakes: Business vs. Employee

Cybersecurity errors can occur at any level within a company, making each person or entity an integral part of managing cyber risk.

Mistakes to Avoid on the Business Level

  1. Forgetting that every team member plays a role in cybersecurity protection.
    According to the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, “The human element continues to drive breaches. This year 82% of breaches involved the human element.” Reports, much like this one, repeatedly prove that data breaches start when a single employee makes a perfectly innocent mistake. From opening an unassuming email attachment to poor password management, employees have the potential to put a company at a major cyber risk.
  2. Relying on minimal solutions, such as antivirus software.
    Antivirus solutions have been the go-to protection for our devices for years, but relying on this software can have disastrous effects. Malware continues to increase in frequency and sophistication, making the ever-changing characteristics difficult to pinpoint – and combat. Relying on the protection of a singular software is merely a temporary solution.
  3. Believing data breaches are only experienced by larger companies.
    One of the major cybersecurity mistakes faced by businesses, especially smaller ones, and those in the rural telecommunications industry is denial. There is a misconception that cyber criminals only attack larger corporations, but 43% of all data breaches involve small or mid-size businesses.
  4. Failing to implement a cybersecurity policy.
    Cybersecurity policies are enforced to ensure that every person within the organization is implementing the same security measures. A survey conducted by CISO MAG, a cybersecurity news publication, found that 60% of small businesses do not have a cybersecurity policy in place. By not setting a standard for cybersecurity protection, the potential for an attack is greater.

Mistakes to Avoid on the Employee Level 

  1. Utilizing weak or reused passwords.
    While using the same password across different accounts makes them easier to remember, it opens the door for hackers to take advantage. A study conducted by Nordpass reported that 80% of data breaches are caused by compromised or weak passwords.
  2. Failing to keep software up-to-date.
    The constant software updates to your work device are not just there to annoy you. They’re there to protect you from unwanted vulnerabilities! Failing to routinely update software can be used to exploit weak points of entry to your organization’s network.
  3. Putting your trust in public Wi-Fi.
    When using public Wi-Fi, there is no guarantee that the connection is secure or even real. Hackers can set up fake networks to access business data or learn about potential weaknesses in your company’s software system. With the need for Wi-Fi so prevalent in our increasingly connected world, it can be very easy for an employee to join a fake network accidentally, or with the mistaken belief that it is real and secure.
  4. Engaging in phishing emails.
    Phishing is an attack designed to steal personal information from a specific target. By opening a phishing email, or an unassuming attachment, malware can be released into your computer’s network. This malware is then used to steal sensitive data or shut down the network overall – a major disruption to business operations.

How to Avoid the Next Cybersecurity Breach

When it comes to protecting your company from a data breach or cyber incident, there are various aspects to focus on. The following are some best practices to implement to avoid a cybersecurity mistake:

Providing Employee Training on Cybersecurity Best Practices  

Making employee cybersecurity training a priority is one of the best ways to protect your company – and its data. Proper training should cover data protection best practices and password security protocols, along with consistent updates on new phishing threats.

Updating Software Regularly and Practicing Strong Password Hygiene

Everyday cyber maintenance, from implementing unique passwords to performing regular software updates, makes vulnerabilities plain. Companies should encourage employees to utilize passwords that are unique to the account, using a combination of letters, numbers, symbols, and capitalization.

To keep company software up to date across all employee devices, implement a policy of enabling automatic updates and paying attention to software notifications. These simple steps will help protect both employees and the company from potential cyber threats.

Having Cyber Liability Insurance in Place 

Cyber Liability insurance through Telcom Insurance Group offers comprehensive protection from ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other cybersecurity attacks. This insurance offers risk management coverage in the form of security breach liability, replacement of electronic data, and public relations expenses to protect your reputation in the aftermath of a data breach.

Contact Telcom Insurance Group for Cybersecurity Protection

When it comes to cybersecurity, there’s no shortage of potential risks – and mistakes to be made. Being able to recognize vulnerabilities will help inform new protective protocols, and hopefully avoid costly mistakes in the future.

Telcom Insurance Group aims to help professionals in the telecommunications industry by providing a variety of coverage options. We also offer informative resources to protect in various areas, from cyber risk management to flash floods.

Our team is available to answer any questions you may have, so don’t hesitate to reach out. To learn more about telecommunications insurance or how to avoid cybersecurity mistakes, contact Telcom Insurance Group today.