With cyber attacks and security breaches rife across the globe, it’s little wonder why cyber security is a major concern for small and large businesses alike. Recent stats have shown that security breaches have increased a whopping 67% since 2014, and 43% of victims are small businesses!
With these concerning statistics in mind, we’re going to go through the cyber security threats that you and your business should look for so that you can better arm your company against attackers.
Possibly the most common form of cyber attack is malware (aka malicious software). In the “traditional” sense, malware infects devices when an unsuspecting victim clicks on a link or downloads infected files. But, in keeping with the overall trend of the world wide web, attacks are becoming more sophisticated, more difficult to detect, and more dangerous for their victims.
The purpose of malware is generally to steal information from a device such as financial information, personal details or sensitive company data. These kinds of attacks can be very impactful and can render your device useless. Or, more subtly but equally as dangerous, they can work quietly in the background without your knowledge.
Thankfully, there is an easy solution to significantly reduce your risk of a malware attack. Aside from actively looking for suspicious links, emails and downloads, installing malware protection on your devices will drastically help. Most cyber security plans will scan files and websites before they get the chance to infect your machine and tell you when something doesn’t look safe. They will also conduct regular scans of your device to check for any malware.
Most email users have received emails that look slightly dodgy. You know – the ones that pretend you’ve won something, inherited something, or that you’ve been specially selected for a prize. The vigilant among us will hopefully be able to spot these for what they are; a ploy to gain your personal information.
But, phishing attacks don’t always come with bells, whistles, and a big red warning flag. They can be much subtler. In some cases, the attacker profiles their victims to get to know them beforehand and personalizes their communications in order to appear legitimate. With channels like Facebook and LinkedIn, gathering this kind of information will not be too difficult for an attacker. This type of phishing is called Spear Phishing.
Another common type of phishing is known as Deceptive Phishing. This is when attackers send emails claiming to be from a legitimate company, like a bank, asking you to, for example, click a link to verify your account with them. If the email and link is fraudulent, the attacker can then steal your bank account details and your money.
To protect yourself and your business from a phishing attack, your best line of defense is a good degree of education to teach your employees to recognize such attacks and to report them. You can also limit access to certain accounts and use anti-phishing solutions to identify suspicious emails.
3. Website Attacks
As a business, it’s not only your personal details that you need to keep safe, but if you collect any customer information on your site, you must protect that information, too! Hackers target websites and businesses to gain access to information surrounding it, both yours and your site visitors.
One such website attack is called DNS Spoofing. This exists with the aim of redirecting your website traffic to a fake website where the attacker can steal your visitors’ personal information, either by prompting for log in details or by installing worms or viruses on their devices.
Another type of website attack is cookie theft. The name may conjure images of the cheeky Cookie Monster stealing a bunch of cookies, but the resulting impact of cookie theft can be incredibly damaging for a business. When an attacker steals your website cookies, they can gain access to all kinds of information associated with your website and admin panel such as usernames and passwords.
This is obviously a concern for website owners as it’s ultimately their responsibility to ensure their website is secure for users. To maximize website security, choose a reputable hosting provider that offers secure hosting services, such as VPS or dedicated servers. Additionally, ensure your website is certified with https and make sure all aspects of your website are consistently up to date to minimize security breaches.
Although cyber attacks are concerning for individuals and businesses, they often result from human error by, for example, people clicking on unsafe links or management failing to update your website. One of the most important things you can do to keep safe is to stay educated to the threats out there. Additionally, take these steps:
- Install malware protection on your device
- Regularly scan your device for viruses
- Use an email phishing solution to scan your emails
- Scan your website routinely for updates
- Use a reputable hosting company which boasts (and delivers!) excellent security features
- Minimize the amount of staff with whom you share login details