Today, businesses have more reasons to fear anonymous cybercriminals than burglars and thugs. While thieves can damage property or steal goods, Cybercrime is much worse, and the damage they cause can have a lasting scar on your business. When financial accounts are hacked or sensitive data is stolen, the losses can crush even the biggest enterprise.
It is not just the largest global organizations that are targeted; Cybercriminals often prey on smaller "Mom and Pop" businesses. 43% of cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses, with only 14% of the businesses prepared to defend themselves.
With any business you are likely to rely on a variety of smart devices, PCs and networking systems. Holding customer data, personal employee information, sensitive banking information. The truth is, whether small or big, your business is vulnerable to cyber-attacks as long as you are using some form of equipment that is connected to the Internet.
Here are some of the cyber risks you are likely to face as the owner of a business or startup.
Phishing is a social engineering scam where the hacker sends an intriguing text message or email to trick you into offering them your personal data. The email always comes from a seemingly legit website that when you click makes you hand over the access of your accounts, important company information, or documents to an unscrupulous third-party.
Phishing is often used to gain a foothold in corporate or governmental businesses as a part of a larger attack, such as an advanced persistent threat (APT) event. In this scenario, employees are compromised in order to bypass security perimeters, distribute malware inside a closed environment, or gain privileged access to secured data. The first phishing lawsuit was filed in 2004 against a Californian teenager who created the imitation of the website “America Online”.
Startups that have apps or websites that collect customer information including CRM, eCommerce, or online support are the prime targets for data breaches. This is when hackers seek to steal company information by gaining access to their databases. Cyberattacks cost companies $200,000 on average, putting many out of business, according to a 2019 CNBC news report.
Ransomware is a type of malware attack in which the attacker threatens to publish and or locks and encrypts the victim’s data and then demands a payment to unlock and decrypt the data. Some simpler ransomware may just lock the system without damaging any files. The more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment.
A brute force attack is a type of trial-and-error hacking method where attackers submit many queries to gain unauthorized access to a system. Hackers test thousands of login credentials, encryption keys, and URLs such as WordPress websites until a valid response is returned. Brute force hacking is also extremely prevalent. It is estimated that1 in 5 devices or networks will experience these type of attacks.
A DDoS attack is rated as one of the most powerful hacking weapons on the Internet. When you hear about a website being “brought down by hackers”. The term normally means that a website or even a Server has become a victim of a Distributed denial-of-service attack. This will make it unavailable by flooding or crashing the website with too much traffic. The traffic can consist of incoming messages, requests for connections, or fake packets of information. In 2015 and 2016, a criminal group called the Armada Collective repeatedly extorted banks, web host providers, and others in this way.
We are better today at making more things accessible online. Unfortunately, the hackers are getting better too. Cyberattacks keep growing with greater layers of sophistication. You do not have to be a large corporation to be vulnerable. In 2020 alone, there were over 700,000 attacks against small businesses, with damages totaling $2.8 billion and the numbers continue to rise every year.
More often than not, businesses are unable to detect the data breaches as they occur. By the time it happens, it is too late, and the breach is already completed.
Securing your hardware is the first step to protecting you from cyber threat. Start with the basics: protecting all your devices with a strong password, committing the password to a memory and not writing it down, and sharing it only with the device user. You can also physically attach your computers or laptops to prevent thieves from actually walking away with them.
An effective Cyber Security strategy must consist of two aspects:.
• Preventing physical access to your workplace. Rendering the data useless, it falls in the wrong hands
• Ensure you encrypt all data including business data, employee information, and customer data, and back up and store this data separately.
Today, there are many administrative services and tools that make it easy to set user roles according to corresponding levels of access to allow you to control who can do particular things on your infrastructure. Encourage your employees to use strong and unique passwords and keep them safe at all costs. Immediately revoke the access of anyone who leaves the company .
All your systems, especially the cyber-security software, should always stay up to date. This is because hackers try to take advantage of vulnerabilities in your system to gain access to your devices. The best way to avoid this is by making sure you install updates immediately you receive a notification.
A VPN creates a safe connection over a non-secure network between your device and the Internet. When you secure your office's network with a VPN Router, all connected devices will be virtually invisible to cyber-criminals, so they cannot prey on your personal information or steal your passwords. There are numerous VPN options on the market today. Determine your company's needs before you settle on a particular product.
In our age of the "World Wide Web" Cybercrime has quickly become the fastest growing form of online criminal activity. As a business owner, you can no longer treat Cybersecurity as an afterthought.
A single security breach can be detrimental for any business, small or big. The good news is that you can protect yourself and your company as long as you learn about your risks and how to stay safe.
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