Understanding the Risks: The Rising Threat of Cyber Attacks
Advances in technology such as the Internet have opened up all kinds of wonderful market and commerce opportunities, from enabling organizations to accept a greater number of payment methods to allowing the rise of self-made drop-shipping entrepreneurship.
However, even as the Internet has become a more important part of the global business world, the increased global dependence on technology has simultaneously opened many firms up to cyber risks in the form of cyber attacks. This sort of campaign of cyber attacks can lead to compromised employee or customer data, huge profit losses, and other challenges that can put your company at risk.
Knowing more about these cyber attacks and what your business can do about them is a must in the complex risk environment that makes up our modern-day, digital technology-driven world.
Why Cyber Attacks Are So Dangerous
Cyber attacks are harmful for so many reasons. For starters, they put any personal or financial information that is handled by your business at risk, which can erode the trust that both employees and customers have in your business.
Stolen data, such as passwords, personal information, and financial account numbers, can be used by hackers to steal the identities of victims. This information can even be sold on the dark web by these hackers, with the highest bidder using the data to commit fraud.
Unthwarted cyber attacks can also lead to the theft of your company's intellectual property (IP), or hackers gaining control of your tech systems and holding them for ransom (more on this "ransomware" technique below). Additionally, cyber attacks can cause equipment failure, network disruption, and other effects that limit your ability to conduct business.
Perhaps the trickiest thing about cyber attacks is the fact that they are always evolving and changing. It's not enough to learn how to block malware attacks (and even that would be difficult, with varieties of malware malfeasance ranging from Trojans and spyware to spear phishing and adware). You also need to know about denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, data breaches, and "Man in the Middle" (MitM) attempts.
Businesses are often the result of external attacks that come in the form of digital scams. One of the most common cyber scam methods is phishing, which refers to emails that are sent with the intent of tricking a recipient into revealing private information or clicking on a link within the message that downloads malicious software (i.e. malware) onto the computer or other device.
Training your employees to watch out for phishing emails is a business must. Teach your team members to look for spoofed email names (in which a sender's displayed email address appears to be legitimate, such as "email@example.com," but hovering over it shows random email address), as well as sender email domains with alterations (such as a few extra letters after a popular brand's website domain).
You also need to watch out for spear phishing, which is a more advanced form of phishing in which the scammer uses some of your personal information (such as the name of family members) to gain your trust.
Also let your employees know to watch out for emails with enticing subject lines or subject matter that's simply too good to be true, such as a message offering a $1,000 gift card out of the blue or a free device.
On the other end of the spectrum, some scam emails contain threatening or intimidating claims, such as the sender claiming to have proof of the recipient viewing illicit material and threatening to expose them if they don't pay money, or the sender claiming to be with law enforcement and demanding the recipient's Social Security number or similar information.
Cyber security attacks can cause massive financial and reputational losses for your company. For example, the cost of ransomware attacks in particular averages over $4.5 million.
This includes lost revenue, increased operational costs, and limited capabilities due to outages and the risk of business interruption, harm to your business's brand, liability due to poor practices, and damage to your bottom line thanks to compromised customer data.
Apart from these short-term ramifications, these disruptive attacks can also impact your business in the long term by damaging your critical infrastructure. This can hamper your company for long stretches of time, keeping your business from being the best that it can be far into the future.
Ransomware attacks are one of the gravest dangers posed by the cyber threat landscape. This is a specific type of malware that infects a device and then locks you out of it or otherwise encrypts it so that you can't access it. The hacker then makes a ransom demand by asking for payment in order to let you continue using your own device.
This criminal technique is frustrating enough when it affects a personal device, but it can be downright devastating when it locks your team out of essential business devices that you need for your day-to-day operations.
One way to safeguard your enterprise is through dedicated data backup. This could include keeping vital information offline and secured or using cloud services that let you access previous versions of files that haven't been encrypted by the cyber threat actors.
Keeping your systems, such as software and operating systems (OS), updated is another way to minimize potential security risks and make sure you have the latest patches.
Small Business Solutions
While all these forms of cyber attacks against companies seem intimidating, rest assured that there are steps you can take to protect your small business and keep it running even in the face of digital dangers.
First of all, you can take some base-level measures to keep your data and devices safe. These include using multi-factor authentication, updating software on a regular basis, maintaining data backups, and training your employees on cybersecurity.
You should also establish a clear cybersecurity policy that keeps your staff members on the same page when it comes to sharing data, securing devices, and watching out for phishing emails. At the same time that you're protecting your team, you should also keep your customers safe by securing any information they give you (such as for online transactions).
Obviously, staying in the know about the latest forms of cyber attacks and how to prevent them is another important way to keep your company on the up and up. However, it can be intimidating to keep up with all the different forms of scams and malware on the Web nowadays.
That's why enlisting the help of a dedicated cybersecurity provider is another great way to keep your company safe from hackers and cyber attacks. We recommend that you work with a cyber protection provider that offers cybersecurity training, provides network security assessments, and provides 24/7 service in the event of a data breach or other cybersecurity incident caused by a cyber attack.
Knowledgeable providers can assess your company's cyber risk preparedness and offer cyber risk solutions for your enterprise.
Contact a Leading Cybersecurity Provider to Schedule a Consultation
There's no doubt that cybersecurity is a must for small businesses of all kinds. Receive all the support you need from TechBldrs. We're here to provide remote IT monitoring services, back up your sensitive data, and keep your business safe from digital threats of all kinds.
If you enjoyed this article, check out these other articles about Cybersecurity:
What Type of Security Does the Cloud Have in Place?
Cybersecurity 101: Basics Every Employee Should Know
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