Physical Security Threats

Physical Security Threats Examples and Protective Measures

Aside from network security, physical security threats can badly harm your organization’s overall cybersecurity state. The best way to protect yourself is to first identify the risks. Then, know the practical ways to protect yourself from them. Let us discuss some of these threats and protective measures below.

Examples of Physical Security Threats & How to Mitigate Them

The primary physical security threats against organizations include:

1. Illicit Access to Physical Machines

One of the most common physical security threats is the illicit access to a machine. Whether it is a traditional computer or a server, someone can gain unauthorized access to the device. 

The primary ways to combat this threat include:

  • To prevent unauthorized access to machines, use strong passwords, ideally ones with at least 12 characters. 
  • In addition, enable the built-in encryption capabilities of your server and computers, such as BitLocker or FileVault for Windows or FileVault 2 for Mac. 
  • If you need extra protection, consider using disk encryption tools like CryptoStash. It allows you to take all your sensitive data with you if your device gets stolen.

For mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, ensure that your operating system’s screen lock feature is on. Also, look for other security tools like AntiVirus software and mobile security apps like Lookout. Make sure that you have backups of all your data. In case your device gets lost.

Finally, while it might be tempting, do not keep sensitive data on laptops or other mobile devices unless necessary. Otherwise, in case you lose these devices, the data will be in compromise too.

2. Malicious Physical Access Controls

Malicious physical access controls are attacks where an individual gains access to a system by bypassing physical controls meant to protect it. For example, an attacker may break into an office after everyone leaves by cutting through the glass window using power tools. Or they may gain physical access by pretending to be someone else to get past the person checking badges at the entrance door. 

You can mitigate these by ensuring optimum protection in all access points. So that only authorized people can gain physical access to critical systems and areas in your organization. Another way is by making sure that there are no vulnerabilities. For example, in issuing badges for employees.

3. Malicious Damage or Loss of Sensitive Items

This type of physical security threat occurs when a person gets access to a sensitive item and then makes a copy of it. They can then spread this copy widely or destroy the original. Either way, it severely compromises your organization’s security posture by exposing your sensitive data to an unauthorized party.

Here are ways to protect yourself from this threat:

  • Ensure that sensitive items like laptops, USB flash drives, and CDs are not easily accessible. 
  • Also, make sure that the data on your sensitive items has encryption. By doing so, it is unreadable if lost or stolen. For example, FileVault 2 and BitLocker for Windows and FileVault 2 for Mac. You can use these to encrypt files and folders on a Mac device. 
  • Finally, consider using other security tools like anti-theft software to help you locate your missing or stolen devices. 

Conclusion: Protect Yourself from Physical Security Threats

Physical security threats can be mitigated by using strong passwords, disk encryption, and anti-theft software. These kinds of threats are real. They can lead to your sensitive data being exposed to unauthorized parties. 

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