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cyber attacks on small businesses

Cyber Attacks on Small Businesses

We hear news about Cyber Attacks almost everyday affecting millions of businesses and billions of people worldwide. Not only does it cause financial damage but also severely affects businesses reputation and may even face legal consequences of a data breach. 

The risk of Cyber Attacks is not limited to big corporations. Recent statistics clearly indicate a significant increase in cyber crime cases among small businesses. This is largely because of lack of expertise with less attention and investment towards Cyber Security.

Below are some interesting and recent Cyber Security facts, trends and statistics:

  1. The global information security market is forecast to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% to reach $170.4 billion in 2022 (Source: Gartner)
  2. About 62% of global CEO’s worry cyber threats will affect their company’s growth prospects. (Source: PwC)
  3. September 2020 Healthcare Data Breach Reports: 9.7 Million Records Compromised (Source: HIPPA Journal)
  4. Only 5% of organisations securely protect their data folders (Source: Varonis Research)
  5. The damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021 (Source: CyberSecurityVentures)
  6. Data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half of 2020. (Source: RiskBased)

Here is a complete small business guide on Cyber Attacks to know exactly what it is, types of Cyber Attacks, how it affects small businesses, how to safeguard your business from it and report it if you are a victim of cybercrime.

What is a Cyber Attack?

A Cyber Attack is a deliberate attempt to steal, disable, destroy, expose or gain unauthorised access of any critical data, website / software / apps, mobile devices and computer systems / network. 

Many times, it is also aimed to hold personal or corporate data for ransom or use a compromise device(s) to launch other Cyber Attacks.

How Cyber Attacks Affect Businesses?

Cyber criminals are getting smarter every passing day by using advanced hacking tools and technologies. Hence, it is very important for every business today to prepare or continuously revise their Cyber Security policy and review / upgrade their IT infrastructure security at regular intervals. 

Businesses could have short term to long term effects of Cyber Attacks which goes beyond financial loss such as loss of customers’ trust and business, reduction in sales and profits, eroding business reputation, face legal cases due to breach of data protection and privacy as well as disrupting business operations.

Top 14 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks

Here is the list of the most common Cyber Attack types:

  1. Malware
    Macro viruses, File infectors, System or boot-record infectors, Polymorphic viruses, Stealth viruses, Logic bombs, Worms, Droppers, Ransomware, Adware, Spyware, Trojan Horses, Drive-by attack. Malware is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network.

  2. Phishing
    Spear Phishing Attacks and Whale Phishing Attack. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers or other sensitive details by impersonating a trustworthy person.

  3. Cryptojacking
    Cryptojacking malware is malware that infects computers to use them to mine cryptocurrencies usually without users knowledge.

  4. Web Attacks
    SQL Injection, Cross Site Scripting (XSS). Attacks on web facing applications. 

  5. Man In The Middle (MitM)
    Session hijacking, IP Spoofing, Replay. A perpetrator positions himself in a communication between a user and an application.

  6. Denial of Service (DoS) / Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
    TCP SYN flood attack, Teardrop attack, Smurf attack, Ping of death attack, Botnets. An attempt to flood the targeted computer or resource with superfluous requests in an attempt to overload systems.

  7. IoT-Based Attacks Many networks contain internet connected gadgets that can be compromised to gain access to a network or computer resource.

  8. Zero Day Exploit A Cyber Attack that occurs on the same day a weakness is discovered in software. At that point, it’s exploited before a fix becomes available from its creator.

  9. AI-Powered Attacks Machine Learning can find the optimal Cyber Attack strategy by analysing all possible vectors of attack.

  10. DNS Tunneling Transmits information through the protocol that resolves network URLs and directs you to the incorrect destination.

  11. Password Attack
    Brute-force, Dictionary Network Attacks. A third party trying to gain access to your systems by cracking a user’s password.

  12. Birthday attack A method of cracking cryptographic algorithm.

  13. Eavesdropping Passive eavesdropping, Active eavesdropping. The attacker simply listens to messages exchanged by two entities.

  14. Business Email Compromise (BEC) An exploit in which an attacker obtains access to a business email account and imitates the owner’s identity, in order to defraud the company and its employees, customers or partners.

How to Prevent Cyber Attacks on Businesses?

Every business wants to ensure they stay protected from Cyber Attacks all the time. Here are 7 simple ways to protect your business against Cyber Attacks in 2021.

  1. Software & hardware updates
    Are you keeping all your business software or IT devices software updated irrespective whether it is being utilised by your company or employees? If not, then this is the first thing that you need to do and ensure all are updated to the latest version. Don’t use any pirated softwares, apps downloaded from unknown sources or software that hasn’t received updates for quite some time. Check for security patches or software updates on a bi-weekly basis.

  2. Data encryption and backups
    Ensure that all your important business data such as employees data, customer data, purchase orders, invoices, agreements, financial data, document templates, password files etc. are encrypted before you backup safely at regular intervals. It’s recommended to use offline backups along with cloud backups to avoid any worst case scenario to ensure that your critical business is not lost.

  3. Enable two or multi-factor authentication
    One of the best ways to prevent cyber attacks is to enable two or multi-factor authentication on all software / user accounts, as password login is not safe and can be easily compromised. This will help to ensure that any unauthorised person(s) don’t get access to your systems.

  4. Train your employees
    It’s very important to provide basic level Cyber Security training at regular intervals to all of your employees so that they identify suspicious emails or calls, tricks and techniques that hackers can use to steal access or sensitive data as well as how they can safeguard from these attacks.

  5. Install Antivirus software & firewall
    Ensure that all devices have a licensed antivirus software installed, updated with the latest version and active. Plus, a firewall is installed on routers and servers too. 

  6. Prepare a Disaster Recovery Plan
    Having an action-oriented disaster recovery plan in place will allow you to take immediate actions to safeguard your business in the event of Cyber Attacks in the near future. It should clearly mention all items to be monitored, how to escalate and effectively communicate with designated personnels, if any unforeseen incident occurs along with immediate steps to be taken to nullify or reduce impact.

  7. Regular Cyber Security Audits
    Conduct Cyber Security Audits at regular intervals to examine and access your entire organisation’s IT infrastructure. This will help to identify your IT systems vulnerabilities / weaknesses, check your security controls, compliance checks etc.

How to Report Cyber Crime and Fraud?

If you are a UK based business or organisation and think that you are a victim of Cyber crime or fraud, you can report this to Action Fraud (www.actionfraud.police.uk) using their online reporting tool or call them on 0300 123 2040.

About Us

Tech Results is a Cloud and on premise IT Solutions provider. If you have any questions about Cyber Security or IT in general please contact us on 020 3138711 or via our website – www.techresults.co.uk