If you’ve caught a few minutes of the news in the last year, you know that cybersecurity is a concern, but you may not know the extent. Believe it or not, the average cyberattack costs small businesses as much as $200,000. Well, these attacks are far more common than you may think, and a few of them are becoming increasing concerns. Luckily, there are things you can do to protect your business. Let’s talk about the top cybersecurity threats to watch out for in 2022.
Cybersecurity threats are following a sharp rise that will carry through 2022, but that places a specific threat on small business owners. Here’s why.
If you think we’re trying to scare you, imagine the dilemmas that hackers face. Attacking an individual may be easy but offer a low reward, whereas attacking Google will be extremely difficult but with a high reward.
Well, most hackers can’t get into Google’s advanced systems, but they still want money, making small businesses a perfect target. Many small businesses have plenty of funds on hand worth stealing while still lacking the necessary protection they need.
Here’s the difference between a small business and Google; Google will recover from a breach. While the Colonial Pipeline got all of the media attention this past year, it was small businesses that suffered the most. Believe it or not, 60% of small businesses collapse within 6 months after a breach, and those numbers are only rising.
Now that you know how serious the threat of cyberattacks is, let’s talk about the more specific threats to worry about. Here are a few of the most common ones.
Social engineering or phishing scams are becoming far more sophisticated with the rise of deep fake technology. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, social engineering is the act of using psychological manipulation to convince a person to perform a certain act.
While the acts will be different, it could involve downloading something, divulging a password, or even clicking on an image. Unfortunately, phishing scams can’t be resolved with just antivirus software.
In the context of a business, hackers will attempt to convince an employee to perform a specific task to infiltrate their system or steal from them. Of course, the most famous examples of phishing include the “Nigerian Prince” who needs you to wire him money.
However, they place a particular threat to business in the upcoming years because of the increased development in deep fakes, allowing hackers to hackers to plausibly pretend to be a relative, coworker, distributor, or client in an attempt to gain the trust of their victim.
After phishing, malware is the next biggest concern. Malware covers a wide variety of worms, spyware, ransomware, and more, which can all cause serious complications to your data.
Malware can come from downloading any type of application or code, by opening an email, or by social engineering scams.
Like phishing, this is social engineering tactic that’s more generalized toward groups of businesses rather than targeting individual employees. While it is less common than phishing, it’s far more devastating when successful.
A”watering hole” is a location on the internet (page, website, application) where people with similar objectives frequently traffic. The goal of this scheme is to infect one of the frequent visitors with some type of malware or virus in the hopes of them returning to that site and infecting the rest of the users. Eventually, some members of the group will be infected.
A denial of service scam (DoS) is when perpetrators make your network or other resources unavailable or disrupt service in pursuit of ransom. If they stop your network, it could halt your access to your entire business operations and data centers, leaving your company vulnerable to their demands.
Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks occur when an attacker intercepts a transaction between two parties. They then insert themselves in the middle to steal or manipulate the data that was exchanged.
However, this type of attack usually only occurs on public or unsecured wifi, so as long as employees are using the same (secured) network, this is unlikely to happen.
There’s a reason weak passwords are called out in the cybersecurity world. If somebody gets ahold of your password and you use it for multiple accounts, they can access anything because passwords are the most widespread authentication factor.
To combat this, ensure that your employees use strong passwords and that they change them every 3 to 6 months for the best security. A compromised password was likely what led to the Colonial Pipeline breach that effectively stunted the world economy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, this is a process where an attacker inserts malicious code into a server using a server query language (SQL). This forces a server to deliver protected data. Most often, these attacks involve submitting malicious code into a comment or search box and are then picked up by other users on the network.
A zero-day is essentially just a vulnerability in computer software that hasn’t been detected, leaving it vulnerable to exploitation. Until the vulnerability is mitigated, hackers can exploit it to affect or steal data, other computers, or an entire network.
Fortunately, the cybersecurity threat predictions for 2022 aren’t all negative, especially if businesses work to combat them. Here’s what you can do to keep your business safe.
Educate your employees about company practices, especially if your employees are remote. When everybody works in different locations on different devices, it opens plenty of doors for potential threats to cybersecurity. Staff should only use secured devices within your network and follow similar protocols whether they are at home or at the office.
When it comes to social engineering attacks, education is the only defense, especially as they become more sophisticated.
Remember, every one of your employees that has access to your network is a potential gateway for criminals. Even if you’re fully trained on these threats, it won’t matter if your staff isn’t.
Encrypting your file-sharing and other data solutions is a very important part of the puzzle. When backing up your files, you should use cloud storage solutions. This way, you can access your data wherever you want, and rest assured that it’s encrypted.
If possible, always use two-factor authentication on your encrypted data. No password is perfect, so having an extra layer of protection is always the best practice.
When combined with employee education and encryption, anti-malware software will go a long way to protecting your data. Always use recent anti-malware software and update it as frequently as possible for the best results.
If you have remote employees, encourage them to download their own anti-malware software and remind them to run it regularly.
Of course, we should do everything we can to protect our data and prevent a disaster. However, no system is perfect. Because an attack is so devastating on small businesses, companies need to have a disaster recovery plan in place for the worst-case scenario.
The plan should include financial recovery, how to isolate the breach, and how to address customers and those affected by the breach. All you can do is plan for the worst and hope for the best!
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are easy ways to connect your remote and hybrid employees and keep your data safe. You can also easily switch between VPNs over time just like passwords to limit opportunities for potential threats.
Lastly, all of the digital hygiene in the world doesn’t compare to the benefit of having a dedicated IT team to protect your data. With proper cybersecurity monitoring services, you can rest assured that your data is being protected over the long haul.
If any practices on this list are new to you, then the sooner you put them to use, the better. The longer you wait, the longer your data remains at risk.
Now that you know some of the most common cybersecurity threats and how to protect yourself put this knowledge to good use and don’t forget to bring your employees on board. Keep your data safe, stay up to date with our latest IT news, and feel free to contact us with any questions!