If you’ve been following the news recently, you’ll undoubtedly have read about cybersecurity incidents impacting corporations of all sizes in all industries around the world. While it doesn’t often make the news, even small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been hammered by email phishing attacks or ransomware, which has been getting worse for some time.
As per a recent report, almost 25% of the organization become victims who chose to pay the ransom. Hackers seem to be encouraged by their success and are growing more ambitious with time. The most recent example was the REVIL ransomware attack on Kaseya Software, holding more than 1,000 companies’ ransom – affecting over 1 million customers.
It seems like no one is safe; even hospitals and schools are regularly targeted. Seqrite’s Q3 2021 Threat Report detected almost 4.6 Million cyberattacks in the professional service industry, followed by the manufacturing, government, and education sectors.
The increased reliance on the internet in the digitization era comes with increased vulnerability and zero-day threats. Small businesses often have less stringent technological defenses, less awareness of threats, and less time and resources for cybersecurity. This makes them an easier target for hackers than more prominent organizations.
For these reasons, small to medium businesses need to be aware of some top prevalent cybersecurity threats and how to combat them.
Top 6 Security threats facing businesses –
- Phishing Attacks –
Phishing is a hacking scheme that tricks users into downloading harmful messages. This scheme appears like a regular email using legitimate-looking links, attachments, business names, and logos. The email persuades users to take action, whether it’s clicking a link or downloading an attachment. A phishing email may also have a clickbait subject line that catches your eye.
Cybercriminals also targets companies with Spear Phishing emails which sends emails to other specific members of a business to steal information. Phishing attack tops the list of enterprise cyber-attack and one wrong from an employee can expose a business to massive risk.
How to prevent phishing attacks –
Part of what makes phishing attacks so damaging is that they’re very difficult to combat. They use social engineering to target humans within a business, rather than targeting technological weaknesses.
However, having a strong email security gateway in place can prevent phishing emails from reaching your employees inboxes. You can also provide security awareness training to your workforce allowing you to protect your employees by testing and training them to spot phishing attacks and report them.
- Malware Attacks –
Malware, also known as malicious software, hacks devices by either slowing them down significantly or stopping them from working entirely. It destroys computer systems through agents such as Trojan malware, spyware, viruses, ransomware, adware, and worms.’
Malware authors target systems through infected links, malicious files or material from an unknown source, pop-up ads, or downloading an email attachment from an unknown sender. Once malware is released into the system, hackers can gain access to your company’s passwords, credit card numbers, banking data, personnel files, and more.
These attacks are particularly damaging for small businesses because they can cripple devices. Small businesses are more likely to employ people who use their own devices for work, as it helps to save time and cost. This, however, increases their likelihood of suffering from a malware attack, as personal devices are much more likely to be at risk from malicious downloads.
How to prevent malware –
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 important, stopping users from visiting malicious webpages and downloading malicious software.
- Ransomware Attacks –
Ransomware is a specific form of malware that encrypts a user’s computer systems. Once a ransomware attack has been implemented, users can no longer access their systems or files. In order for users to re-access their systems, they’re required to pay a ransom fee to the cybercriminals. The ransom costs can range tremendously from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars or more.
Ransomware is often spread through a malicious download in a phishing email. An attack can be targeted to either individual employees or entire organizations.
How to prevent ransomware –
To prevent these attacks, businesses need to have strong Endpoint Protection in place across all business devices. These will help to stop ransomware attacks from being able to effectively encrypt data. Endpoint protection solution like Seqrite allows organizations to very quickly detect and mitigate against ransomware attacks.
Businesses should also consider having an effective cloud back-up or data back-up or recovery solution to quickly recover data in the event of ransomware attack without having to pay any ransoms, or lose productivity.
- Data Breaches –
A data breach occurs when sensitive data like credit card numbers, names, email addresses, user or passwords is stolen from a system without authorization from the system owner. Breaches may be implemented through a network attack when cybercriminals identify a weakness in a company’s online security system and use the weakness to invade the system. Social attacks are also prevalent, where hackers fool employees into granting access to an organization’s network.
How to prevent data breach –
Small business have access to multiple accounts that hold more data. Hence, enterprises need to ensure that they have a strong culture of security awareness within their organization, proper security and vulnerability patch management is also important. They should have proper identity and access management implemented, have full disk encryption enabled to prevent tomorrow’s threat today.
- Insider Threats –
Small businesses are also often the target of insider threats from the company staff and stakeholders. These threats could be an outcome of malicious intent or pure negligence. Within small businesses, insider threats are growing, putting employees and customers at risk as more employees access multiple accounts. This can cause financial damage to the company.
How to prevent Insider Threats –
To block insider threats, companies should help employees spot early on when an attacker has compromised or is attempting to compromise company data. Use comprehensive cloud-based tools like Seqrite HawkkProtect to detect unauthorized logins. The solution can help SMBs use two-factor authentication and detect the installation of new apps on locked-down computers, users with newly granted authorization access, and new devices on local networks.
- Cloud Jacking –
Cloud jacking happens when an unauthorized party steals your organization’s cloud account. Once a hacker gets into your company cloud, they may try to reconfigure the code to manipulate sensitive data, eavesdrop on employees and company communications, and expand their reach to take control of the entire cloud. They can cause irreparable damage that can be financially devastating to the business.
Cloud jacking can be done in various ways, including phishing schemes, stealing passwords or social engineering attacks, stealing sensitive data, or even moving company funds into fraudulent accounts.
How to prevent cloud jacking –
Cloud jacking is a growing cybersecurity threat. Companies must limit access to sensitive information to only a handful of people, encourage the use of VPNs – encrypted connection, enable two-factor authentication, and use robust endpoint security tools like Seqrite HawkkEye or HawkkScan to maximize cybersecurity.