Smart business owners know they need to protect their business from cybersecurity threats if they want to minimize damage, avoid steep fines, and preserve their reputation. But what are the most serious types of cybersecurity threats facing your business? And how do you prevent these threats?
The biggest types of cybersecurity threats facing your business
Protect your business from these threats:
Chances are, you’ve heard ofat least one major ransomware attack on the news in recent years. Ransomware is an attack of choice because of its relatively easy implementation and potentially high payout.
The idea is simple: infect a system, lock the system so it can't be used, and promise the return of the system in exchange for a payout (the “ransom”). Most ransomware attacks can be prevented, and if you have ample backups, you'll never have to worry about paying the ransom; you can just revert to a slightly earlier version of your system.
2. Other types of malware
Ransomware is just one type of malware. There are many other types of infectious malware that can render your devices and systems unusable. Malware can infect your devices and systems along many different attack vectors, so it's important to have robust cybersecurity defenses in place.
3. Endpoint and IoT attacks
In an endpoint attack, cybercriminals attempt to gain access to your network through a single point of access. This type of attack has become more common, thanks to bring your own device (BYOD) policies. If a single employee fails to keep a laptop or smartphone secure, it could give a nefarious user access to your entire system.
4. Phishing and social engineering
Phishing is a scam in which malicious users pose as a trusted authority to trick victims into surrendering personal information. This can be done over email or by mocking up an entire website. It can also be done over the phone or in person, through social engineering. If just one of your staff members voluntarily gives up their password, it could be devastating for your organization.
5. Third-party attacks
In a third-party attack, cybercriminals attempt to impact multiple victims by going through software that the victims use. This is why it's important to vet all your vendors carefully.
6. DDoS attacks
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are designed to overwhelm servers, so they're unable to fulfill normal user requests. Usually, this kind of attack is used as a form of protest or retaliation.
7. Patch and device vulnerability exploitation
If you have old devices or old versions of software installed on your company devices, an external party could exploit vulnerabilities inherent in those obsolete nodes. To prevent this, you need to keep all your devices, software platforms, and systems up-to-date.
Cryptojacking is the process of taking over a machine for the purpose of cryptocurrency mining. These attacks are particularly sneaky, giving little (if any) indication to a user that the machine has been successfully hijacked. The crypto mining simply works in the background, hogging resources in the process.
Your best defense against cyber threats
There are hundreds of different strategies and tactics that can help you keep your organization secure. But the reality is, most cybercriminals aren't sophisticated masterminds; they're simple opportunists. And if you're able to guard against the simplest, most obvious attacks, you'll be able to keep your organization sufficiently protected from most threats.
These are some of the most important tactics to utilize:
Work (and invest) proactively. Too many business owners neglect cybersecurity until they face an actual threat. Instead, it's better to work proactively. Even if your business has never been targeted or threatened, you need to take cybersecurity seriously and do whatever you can to minimize the likelihood of a digital threat.
Hire a cybersecurity advisor. Hire at least one cybersecurity professional to provide you with advice on how to construct and enforce the security of your organization. This could be a third-party advisor from an agency, an internal hire, or an independent consultant. What's important is that this person has the knowledge and experience to provide you with meaningful recommendations.