The physical and digital landscapes are merging for SMBs as well as large-scale globalized enterprises. While the Internet and other digital assets have enabled companies to scale their operations rapidly, increasing reliance on digital networks has also exposed them to dire cybersecurity threats.
Rates for cybercrimes such as phishing, data hacking, and embezzlement have gone up by 600% since the start of the pandemic, causing a total loss of $6 trillion to worldwide businesses. Moreover, these attacks are no longer limited to large enterprises – 66% of small business owners also claim to have suffered a cyber attack in the last 12 months. A cyber attack can disrupt operations and disable systems for extended periods, potentially crippling businesses and forcing them to shut down.
It is crucial for every business out there, big or small, to learn more about cybersecurity threats and how to tackle them. Continue reading to find out the six most prominent cyber threats that you need to consider.
6 Types of Cybersecurity Threats Every Company Should Prepare For
1. Phishing attacks
Phishing attacks continue to be the top weapon for most cybercriminals. It’s low tech and preys on human mentality. A phishing attack usually stems from a corrupted email that contains a malicious link. Once opened, the link can install malicious software, steal data, and lock the user out of the system for a long time. These attacks are tough to detect and contain due to the human element. By disguising the email as one from a trusted contact, entity, or company, the attacker entices the user to follow the link.
Phishing accounts for almost 32% of all data breaches in organizations and has cost companies upwards of $12 billion.
To protect the business and its employees from phishing, establishing strong security training protocols is necessary. The employees must be promptly educated about phishing and how to detect them manually. Additionally, installing an email security gateway, post-delivery protection software and a second factor of authentication can go a long way in keeping your systems and underlying networks safe.
2. Cloud Account Jacking
With the uptick in the adoption of cloud computing, cybercriminals have developed innovative ways to hijack your cloud computing system. By infiltrating your cloud account, they not only gain access to sensitive data but are also able to eavesdrop on all company communications.
Many modern cloud account jacking attacks also include a phishing angle. After establishing their control over the cloud account, cybercriminals began to drop fake memos, instructions, and other files for the employees to download. Since these instructions are coming from the company cloud, employees naively click on them, essentially surrendering the entire connected system to the hackers.
Ransomware attacks are rising around the globe at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, almost 71% of these attacks are aimed at smaller businesses with no data back up, leaving them extremely vulnerable. On average, companies lose around $133000 per attack, which is enough money to force an SMB into bankruptcy.
Two critical steps should be considered to avoid ransomware attacks – adequate endpoint security across all network devices and cloud data backup. Installing endpoint protection will make it harder for ransomware files to encrypt data, and the data backup will lessen your vulnerability.
4. Network Perimeter and Endpoint Security
The strict lockdowns have forced companies to allow their employees to work remotely. Switching to remote work so rapidly gave companies little time to adjust their cybersecurity protocols, leaving devices such as phones, laptops, tablets, and databases exposed to cyber threats.
Most remote devices do not possess the same level of sophisticated cybersecurity measures as the office. Additionally, much of the remote work is conducted on personal phones and laptops – devices that employees use for their leisure purposes. This leaves them prone to cyber threats such as phishing and malware.
Ensuring top-notch endpoint security can help avoid much of the risk. The employees should also be made aware of the threats and how to detect and report them.
Deepfakes are a brand new threat that combines AI and ML to create hyper-realistic fake photos, videos, and voice recordings. Deepfakes can be used to impersonate business leaders and compel employees to give into phishing, social engineering, and malware attacks. By forging the identities of high-level personnel, cybercriminals can commit fraud, insider trading and cause immense damage to company reputation.
6. Insider Threats
Employees themselves constitute the biggest cybersecurity risk to an organization. Driven by greed or vengeance, many current and former employees can misuse the faith placed in them to manipulate and steal sensitive data. According to a 2017 Verizon report, 25% of all data breaches were carried out by insiders.
There are many ways to curb this growing threat. One is to restrict access to data on a need-to-know basis. The other is installing protection software that can detect unauthorized logins, install new apps, and new devices on the network.
Cybersecurity is a very real threat to the economic world, a threat that is projected to cost companies more than $10.5 trillion by 2025. While larger businesses are investing billions of dollars yearly into cybersecurity, smaller companies also need to ramp up their efforts. By understanding each threat, they can implement methods to reduce their exposure to each one of them. Practicing healthy cybersecurity hygiene is not just a matter of protocol anymore – it’s a matter of survival.