Regardless of whether you love, hate, or have mixed feelings about technology; you cannot doubt its impact on your daily life. The current digital world continues to expand as more people, businesses, and companies adopt remote working. However, as digital activity surges, the criminal desire to take advantage of modern technologies also increases, evidenced by advanced cyber security threats and a rise in digital crime.
In recent years, several major companies have fallen victim to various cybercrimes, ranging from phishing attacks to data breaches. Below are the five major common cyber threats to watch out for.
- Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are the most common and damaging cyber security threat facing small businesses. These attacks account for an estimated 90% of data breaches facing organizations and cost businesses up to $12 billion in losses. A phishing attack occurs when cyber criminals pretend to be trusted contacts and entice users to click malicious links or download malicious files that give them access to your computer or sensitive information.
Current phishing attacks are more sophisticated, as attackers devise new convincing ways of pretending to be your real business contacts. Phishing attacks are very damaging since they are difficult to combat. Unlike other threats that leverage technological weaknesses, these attacks target humans in a business through social engineering.
However, businesses can take some measures to mitigate these attacks. Using a reliable email security gateway, installing post-delivery protection, and training your employees on identifying phishing emails can reduce the risks of falling prey to phishing emails.
2. Malware Attacks
Malware threats are the second serious cyber security threat facing both small and large businesses. Malware attacks include various cyber threats, such as viruses and Trojans, used by hackers to gain access to business networks, destroy or steal sensitive data. Malware attacks often stem from malicious downloads, connecting to insecure devices or networks, and spam emails.
Malware attacks have significant damaging effects on small businesses since they can cripple computers and other devices that require expensive repairs and replacements. Hackers also access sensitive customer data, putting your company at risk for legal issues. Fortunately, businesses can mitigate malware threats by installing strong and reliable technological defenses, such as Endpoint Protection, which protects devices from malicious downloads.
Ransomware is another common cyber threat affecting thousands of businesses every year. Unfortunately, they have grown to become one of the most lucrative executable attacks. Ransomware attacks have some similarities with malware attacks. With these threats, cybercriminals encrypt company data and demand a ransom or give conditions that should be met for the data to be unlocked.
Like other cyber security threats, small businesses are specifically targeted due to their average cyber security framework. Hackers also target small businesses because most of them haven’t backed up their data. So to say, 71% of Ransomware attacks in 2018 were directed to small businesses with ransom demands averaging at $116,000.
That said, businesses should adopt strong cyber security measures, such as Endpoint Protection, to mitigate these attacks. You should also back up company data in the cloud to avoid data loss.
4. Insider Threats
Insider threats are a serious yet mostly overlooked cyber security threat by most companies. A Verizon analysis found that insider threats accounted for 25% of cyber threats in 2017. As the name suggests, these are risks caused by the actions of your employees, bitter former employees, or your business associates. Since these persons can access company information, greed or malice can steer them into causing disastrous actions.
These threats are a significant problem that can put your employees and customers at risk. It can also expose your company to hefty financial damage. While this cannot be prevented, you can reduce insider threats by developing a strong company culture within your business. You should also increase cyber security awareness since some insider threats are caused by employee ignorance or carelessness.
5. Cloud Jacking
Cloud computing is a fast-rising trend that most companies have adopted for collaboration, communication, and storage. Unfortunately, while the cloud is deemed safe, this is not always the case. Cloud jacking occurs when cybercriminals infiltrate your cloud computing system. Once they access your business cloud, hackers can reconfigure your cloud code, eavesdrop on company communications, and conduct other damaging actions.
Most cybercriminals use information gained from cloud jacking to run other cyber threats, specifically phishing schemes. With the information gained from eavesdropping, they can create fake memos or instructions that appear to have been approved by the management, tricking employees into clicking or downloading malicious files.
While these five cyber threats aren’t everything that businesses face, they are arguably the most threatening. As cybercriminals increasingly become smarter and strategic, businesses should advance their cyber security measures. You should ensure that your organization has updated cyber security measures to protect your network and sensitive company data from vulnerabilities.