Small businesses across industries need to be aware of cybersecurity threats as cybercriminals constantly modify their techniques. With the rise of remote work due to COVID-19, vulnerabilities in many companies’ infrastructures have been exposed, making it more critical than ever to have a cybersecurity plan.
According to Norton Security, nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft, which contradicts the belief that cyber criminals only focus on larger companies. The projection for the year 2023 suggests that cybercriminals will steal about 33 billion records annually. Although cyberattacks target people from all walks of life, statistics indicate that small businesses are among the most frequent targets. Approximately 43% of cyberattacks are directed at small businesses. In this article, we’ll explore 8 cybersecurity threats that small businesses encounter and offer solutions to mitigate these risks.
Why is Cybersecurity So Dominant for Small Businesses?
Cybersecurity is dominant for all businesses, regardless of size. The stakes are even higher for small businesses. Developing an effective cybersecurity plan can be challenging with limited resources and a smaller staff base. Thus, small businesses are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and breaches. Cybercriminals know that many small businesses don’t have the resources or human resources to invest in cybersecurity, making them more attractive targets. The 2023 Global Cybersecurity Index ranks the overall cybersecurity risks for each country, highlighting the importance of protecting online assets. Whether it’s a mini business or a large enterprise, the threat of cybercrime remains the same.
Below are the 8 Cybersecurity Threats and Solutions for Small Businesses:
Malware is malicious software intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems. Some common examples of Malware are viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, and ransomware. Malware can be spread through malicious links, emails, and downloads.
To Protect your Business from Malware:
- Keep your operating system up to date
- Be aware of suspicious emails
- Avoid downloading files from unknown sources
- Antivirus programs installed on your computers
- Keep it updated regularly
Ransomware is a cyber-attack in which a hacker takes control of a victim’s computer or files and demands a ransom to restore access. It spreads through phishing emails or visiting infected websites. Recovering affected data is challenging; even if victims pay the ransom, there is no guarantee of regaining control.
To Protect Against Ransomware:
- Computers are updated with the latest security patches
- Regularly back up your data
- Good antivirus program installed on all computers
- Consider using a cloud-based backup service
- Regularly back up your data
Phishing is a prevalent cyber-attack that uses email or malicious websites to obtain sensitive information, like as passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information. Attackers can use this information to access a company’s network or financial data.
To Protect your Business from Phishing Attacks:
- Always be wary of suspicious emails or websites
- Only click on links in emails from familiar sources
- Train your employees to recognize suspicious emails and websites
- Don’t provide personal information or company data over email or the phone
DDoS attacks, or distributed denial-of-service attacks, flood a network or server with traffic to overwhelm it and make it inaccessible. These attacks are aimed at disrupting the services of a business or organization, making them difficult to defend against.
To Protect Against DDoS Attacks:
- Using a cloud-based service that can detect
- block malicious traffic
- Investing in an anti-DDoS solution
- Consider implementing an IP-blocking system
- Train your staff
Social engineering is a cyber-attack that relies on manipulation and deception to access information or resources. Attackers use social engineering techniques, like posing as customer service representatives or IT staff, to access sensitive information.
To Protect Against Social Engineering Attacks:
- Have strong policies to protect sensitive data.
- Train your employees to recognize phishing attempts.
- Be wary of emails or requests from unfamiliar sources.
- Educate your staff about safeguarding confidential information.
- Remind them not to provide it over email or the phone.
Spoofing is a cyber-attack involving impersonating another user to access sensitive information or resources. It can use a variety of tactics, like sending fake emails or creating malicious websites, to gain access to accounts and steal information. Attackers can use spoofing to launch other cyber-attacks.
To Protect Against Spoofing Attacks:
- Using a two-factor authentication system for all charges and systems
- Strong password policies
- Regularly update your password
- Don’t provide personal or company information over email or the phone
- Train your staff
Code injection is a cyber-attack in which malicious code is injected into legitimate code to gain access to systems or resources. Attackers can use code injection to gain access to data or manipulate systems, and code injection can be used to launch other cyber-attacks.
To Protect Against Code Injection:
- Always ensure your systems are up-to-date with the latest security patches
- Regularly monitor for suspicious activity
- Invest in an intrusion detection system to detect malicious code
- Using a web application firewall to protect your website
- Train your staff on proper coding practices
- Ensure all code is reviewed before deployment
DNS tunneling is a technique attackers use to bypass security measures and gain entrance to systems or resources. Attackers use DNS tunneling to route malicious traffic through networks or servers without detection. Attackers can use DNS tunneling to exfiltrate data from a network without being detected.
To Protect your Business from DNS Tunneling Attacks:
- Always ensure that your systems are up-to-date with the latest security patches
- Regularly monitor suspicious activity
- Using a DNS monitoring service to detect malicious traffic
- Implementing an encrypted DNS tunneling solution
- Train your staff on proper DNS tunneling solution
Small businesses must take cybersecurity threats seriously and implement the necessary measures to protect their sensitive data and operations. With the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, implementing strong security measures, educating staff on recognizing potential attacks, and staying informed about the latest threats can help protect your business from becoming a victim of malicious actors. By following these best practices and arming yourself with the knowledge of common cybersecurity threats, you can help protect your business from becoming a victim of cybercrime. Cybersecurity threats are an ever-present danger for businesses of all sizes.