Top 5 Critical Cyber Security Threats Your Small Business Must Avoid
Your small or medium-sized business is at risk of cyber-threats as we speak. Do not be fooled into thinking that just because you are not a large corporation, cyber attackers are not interested in you. The biggest misconception for any business is that they will not be next or don’t have anything of value attracting an attacker.
Hackers are evolving, and the tools they are now using allow them to automate their nefarious work. They will not stop till they expose every last part of your IT infrastructure, and if they can find a vulnerability, they WILL do their best to exploit it.
Whilst smaller businesses may be less lucrative, it is the scale of numbers that enables them to make it cost-effective. To them, it is a business that wants to obtain your data and then holds you, Ransom.
As a small business, you have a lot to lose if you get hit by malware or ransomware. Such an attack could likely render your business useless. Hiscox recently revealed that in the UK, one small business is successfully hacked every 19 seconds. They state that around 65,000 cyber attacks occur daily in the UK, of which near 5,000 are successful. Don’t be part of that statistic.
One small business in the UK is successfully hacked every 19 seconds, according to Hiscox. Around 65,000 attempts to hack small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) occur in the UK every day, around 4,500 of which are successful. That equates to around 1.6 million of the 5.7 million SMBs in the UK per year.
For these reasons, as a small business owner, you must be aware of the threats; and, more importantly, understand what you must do to stop them.
Teck Genius bring you these five cyber threats that exist to your business and how you must avoid them
1. Stop or Avoid Phishing Attacks: Undoubtedly, one of the most damaging and common threats that all businesses face today. Phishing accounts for over 85% of all compromises that small businesses face. Phishing attacks involve trying to entice the user to click on a link that is usually directed to the Internet. The attacker will try and coax the victim to enter their credentials or, in the background, download some malicious software that will then begin its cyber-attack.
In the last five years, phishing attacks have advanced, and the level of sophistication used to make them even more successful is staggering. Businesses are now faced daily with phishing emails that attempt to take on the guise of someone you know; to then get you to click on the links. The likes of social engineering to target victims are at an all-time high, and this targeted approach from bad actors increases.
2. Stop or Avoid Malware Attacks: Malware is big, destructive, and only going to get worse. It is more a general term that is used to describe the likes of viruses, trojans, browser redirectors, etc. But in its simplest form, it is a small bit of malicious code that hackers create, which allows them to gain access to your systems then. The aim will always be to steal, destroy, disrupt or encrypt data with the sole intention of extorting money.
Hackers will try everything to place the malware on your device, and over 85% of attempts are relating to link clicking (phishing). Once they have deployed the software on your device, it can lay dormant for hours, days or months till they want to release the disruptive payload.
Malware attacks are incredibly destructive to small businesses because they can shut down devices and cause absolute chaos. If your company does not have the right security software on its devices, malware can become a frequent issue. It is also common for small businesses to allow their employees to use their own devices to access work data, increasing the risk of cyber threats.
Business can prevent malware attacks by having strong technological defences in place. Endpoint Protection solutions protect devices from malware downloads and give admins a central control panel to manage devices and ensure all users’ security is up to date. Web Security is also essential, stopping users from visiting malicious webpages and downloading malicious software.
3. Stop or Avoid Ransomware Attacks: Ransomware increased across the world, and there is not a day that goes by without an attack in the news. Info security magazine recently revealed that ransomware now hits a business every 10 seconds across the world.
That statistic should worry every business owner that has not put cybersecurity as a priority for their business.
Putting into place a cybersecurity strategy should be the first thing you do. Ensuring that you have user training and awareness is next. In terms of device or endpoint protection, deploying an endpoint security solution that protects against cyber threats must form part of the overall cyber strategy.
Your business should also consider a robust backup process that ensures all of your data is regularly backed up and stored in a secure offline place. The benefit of doing this is that should a ransomware attack hit you, you will recover the data.
4. Stop Using Weak Passwords: The National Cyber Security Centre recently revealed that in 2020 23.2 million victim accounts worldwide used a password that was 123456. In doing so, the victims made themselves more vulnerable to automated cyberattacks.
Cloud services often need credentials to access their services. In general, the cloud has become very popular; the security around it tends to be slack. Businesses often miss security policies around access management and passwords.
To address this issue, have a password policy across the company that enforces a robust password policy. A typical guideline is 12 characters, alphanumeric with special characters. Adding in a password rotation policy of 90 days can also significantly reduce the threat.
Another recommended option is to add MFA to your access management that then provides another lay of validation when a user accesses a service.
For more details on what is multifactor authentication, click here.
5. Stop Insider Threats: One of the most underestimated threats to a business is your employees and partners. These people access your data and are regularly on your network. The potential for malice can be high if employee relations sour. A recent study by Verizon states that of all the cyber breaches in 2017 over 20% were caused by insider threats.
The issue is getting bigger, so businesses must put controls and processes to log and audit activity. Ensuring that you follow role-based access means that users only get the minimum level of access to systems and services.
To block these insider threats. your business must ensure that users are trained and have cybersecurity awareness. This can help reduce insider threats caused by ignorance and will help employees identify attacks or attackers as and when they happen.
These are the five cyber threats facing your business right now. The best approach to help protects against these threats is to have a comprehensive cybersecurity plan comprising the right security tools, process and policies.
We hope the blog has helped shape your thoughts on the cyber threats facing small business.
If you like the sound of the ‘hands-off’ experience and having your IT and Cybersecurity taken care of by highly trained professionals, we would love to hear from you. Call our friendly team of experts on 0345 314 2001 for a relaxed chat about how we can make all this happen for you. Our team is ready and waiting to help in any way they can.
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