Cybersecurity attacks come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Not all are massive hacks that panic credit card companies, shut down hospitals, or even bring down military equipment. In fact, over 75% of targeted cyberattacks start with email, and the effects can be just as devastating as any big data breach. One accidental click on a suspicious link can ruin your entire business and cost it millions. With inflation, higher prices, and more remote workers, the FBI has seen a 300% increase in cyberattacks since 2019. Here are the top cyber threats your company faces. Learn about them, recognize them, and plan for them to keep your company safe in this ever-changing cybersecurity space.
Phishing is one of the top cyber threats a company faces, mostly because it is so easy to pull off. For the most part, phishing emails look like any other email. They may have company logos, quality branding, and even the correct contact information. They may claim to be from a coworker, a client, or a business partner. However, a closer look should reveal a few inconsistencies. Maybe the logos are slightly altered. Maybe the URL says .net instead of .com. Maybe a word or name is spelled wrong.
Hackers use this trustworthy façade to lure sensitive information from users, such as credit card information or login credentials. This is why it’s important to critically review every email you receive and train your employees to do the same. We’ve prepared a brief checklist to help you get started:
- Is the sender’s name or domain spelled incorrectly?
- Does the email say “Dear Customer” or skip the salutation entirely?
- Is the email missing contact information, like a phone number?
- Does the email ask for sensitive information like passwords, bank accounts, or social security numbers?
- Are there any typos in the email?
- Are the images low-quality and blurry?
- Does hovering over the link bring up an odd or long URL?
If the answer is “yes” to any of the above, you may have received a phishing email. Don’t respond, and don’t click on any links. Instead, send the email to your IT team immediately.
Ransomware attacks lock a company’s data, holding it ransom until the company pays up. These ransoms can reach well over $100,000 most times. Sometimes they may even be in the millions. Meanwhile, an increasing number of hackers are requiring cryptocurrency as payment.
How can you protect your data and your bottom line? Make sure your data is backed up and secure. Having a backup means you can limit your downtime and store your data. Network segmentation can also prevent hackers from accessing your network via printers, fax machines, or even telephones. Your IT team can help set up your network and fill in any of the vulnerabilities it may have.
Weak Passwords & Password Stuffing
Another one of the top cyber threats your company faces is something that is entirely in your control: your passwords. A surprising number of people rely on simple passwords. The most popular passwords in 2021? Qwerty, password, and 12345. These aren’t too difficult for a hacker to guess. And if you’re like 66% of people, you’re probably reusing that password across all your accounts.
The longer and more complex your password, the more combinations a hacker must sift through to get it right. Most experts recommend eight characters. A password with eight characters has 6.6 quadrillion possible combinations. A strong password should also have a mix of:
- Uppercase letters
- Lowercase letters
- Special characters (I.e. ?!@$%&)
- And numbers
And never reuse the same password across your accounts. Doing so makes it easier for hackers to “password stuff.” This is when they manage to crack one password and then use it across multiple accounts, including your bank, Amazon, CRM, and more.
The way to prevent such attacks is through educating your employees and implementing password policies your IT team enforces.
Malware, or malicious software, is software designed to gain access to a device. Like a trojan horse, the malware may look innocent enough…a download, security update, or error message. However, downloading the software will install a virus on your computer. Once this virus has entered your device, hackers can obtain sensitive data crucial to the life of your company. Hackers may install spyware or hold your data for ransom. Some hackers may destroy your data entirely.
The best way to ensure that one of your employees doesn’t accidentally download malware is to have an endpoint protection system. This works as a control center for all your company’s devices, only allowing users to download approved programs. Keeping software up to date will also help prevent malware from slipping through the cracks.
Request a Free Network Security Assessment
While some small businesses have a dedicated IT team, most have their CEO or operations manager tackling support tickets and handling security concerns. This leaves them with very little time to do anything else. At KDG, we have a nationally recognized IT support team who can take IT off your plate, ensure your data is secure, and help your team avoid these top cyber threats.
To learn more, request a free IT network security assessment. Over the course of a few days, our team will examine your company’s network and look for any possible weak points in both. After our assessment is complete, we will provide a detailed report on our findings and how you can take the next steps to protect your data.
Claudia Miller is the AVP of Professional Services at KDG. Experienced in HTML, CSS, SCSS, and custom WordPress functions, Claudia’s flexibility has enabled her to move seamlessly between custom applications, websites, databases, and crowdfunding platforms with tremendous success, no matter the industry or the issue a client is facing.