Cybersecurity: Six Major Risks Faced by Small Businesses

Any business can be subject to cyber attacks. However, when it comes to cybersecurity, small businesses have several risks that are important to identify in order to overcome them.

Just as every coin has two sides, there are two sides to the technology medal. This sector has changed and continues to change the daily lives of billions of people, simplifying human activities, allowing them to do more with less time and effort. All aspects of society have been digitized, from the most sophisticated (such as household chores) to the most sophisticated technological applications.

However, on the other hand, medals are not so rosy and friendly, because a minority of people, unfortunately, decided to use technology for the wrong reasons. Hackers are the modern Freddie Kruegers in the corporate world. So how not to close your eyes and fall into the trap in the middle of a nightmare?

Tightened rope

Hackers are like roaring lions, who are constantly scouring for companies that will fall into their trap. No business is safe from the pressure of these dark actors, as they are all exposed to cyber threats.

Cybersecurity is becoming an increasing problem for businesses around the world as more and more attacks are carried out by attackers who target companies for their valuable information, which can then be sold on the black market. Big organizations, like small businesses, are on the ropes because these hackers don’t cut corners. After the pandemic, the threat of cyber attacks on business took a new turn. Indeed, more and more companies have become vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the increase in online blocking operations.

Cybercrime has increased by 600% with the pandemic, and one of the most notable attacks was the attack on the social media giant Twitter in 2020: 130 hacked accountsincluding Ilona Mask and Barack Obama. Also in 2020 there was a failure in the hotel chain system Marriott led to data corruption more than 300 million customers.

Small businesses are not insured, on the contrary, they are more vulnerable to attacks. These companies often lack the necessary technological protections to prevent attacks, let alone resources, to invest heavily in cybersecurity. However, the adjective “small” is not synonymous with a lack of financial resources or business resources. Most likely, some small businesses process large sums of money or have a lot of customer data. Like 43% of small businesses do not have a cybersecurity protection plan, not surprisingly, they are a lucrative target for hackers.

What are the risks of cybersecurity for small businesses?

Small businesses face cybersecurity risks not only from cybercriminals but also from their own employees. Here are the six biggest risks that small businesses face.

  1. Extortion programs (or extortion programs). Extortion attacks are one of the most common cybersecurity threats facing small businesses today. These attacks involve encrypting company data and holding it hostage until a ransom is paid. According to the study, 48% of investments Malicious emails are Microsoft Office files, and the average cost of a ransomware attack on a business is $ 133,000. Businesses often pay such ransoms because they do not have the time or resources to recover from such an attack.
  2. Phishing (or phishing). Phishing is the biggest and most popular cyber threat faced by businesses. These scams force the user to provide their personal information by sending an email that appears to be from a trusted source or website. Businesses are not insured against these scams. During the cyber attack, hackers gained access to confidential information about more than 20,000 employees of the US Federal Agency impersonate company executives and send emails with malicious software.
  3. Malicious software (or malicious software). Malware is a relatively simple method of attack, and small businesses need to protect themselves from it. They infiltrate a computer through an e-mail attachment or other exploit, and then run without the user’s knowledge. Once on your computer, malicious software can damage digital files, change settings and permissions, block certain programs from running, and monitor user activity. Malicious software is also common on public Wi-Fi networks, where users risk hacking their devices if they visit an infected website or simply go to the wrong page.
  4. Social engineering. Social engineering is when hackers fraudulently force people to give up confidential information in various ways, such as pretending to be someone else or a company representative. As social networks grow in popularity, social engineering has become more widespread, and messages sent on these platforms may contain malicious software that can steal a user’s personal information.
  5. Data theft. One of the biggest problems for small businesses is data theft. This can happen when hackers steal employees’ personal information through deception or dishonesty. By accessing an employee’s e-mail account, hackers can easily distribute ransomware, phishing, or farm attacks on a company’s network.
  6. Internal threats. Employees of the company pose a significant threat to the security of businesses of all sizes. They leave data on USB drives, make it easier to access corporate files using the same passwords in personal and work accounts, and fall into a phishing trap that tricks them into providing their login credentials. Several studies have shown that 95% of cybersecurity violations arise from human error.

Conclusion

Prevention is better than cure, and when it comes to cybersecurity, you are more likely to prevent attacks by taking action. The best way for small businesses to protect themselves from cybercrime is to develop a comprehensive security plan that includes data loss prevention, an incident response plan, verifying staff access privileges, and training employees in the best cybersecurity practices.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Rudi Shushani and Forbes Technology Council

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