Cybersecurity matters to businesses more than ever before. Cybercrime has become increasingly widespread and sophisticated. No business is exempt from it since cybercriminals target whoever is vulnerable.
Sadly, most smaller businesses think of cyber protective measures last, assuming only big companies are targeted. It is further from the truth. Micro-SaaS companies in the new normal economy, for example, are mostly affected since cybersecurity is not everybody’s biggest priority.
In reality, while global corporate data breaches grab the headlines, cybercriminals find small businesses highly attractive and have since been escalating their attacks on them for years.
Malware, ransomware, spam ware, and social engineering weapons like phishing and spear-phishing emails, are all common threats today. As internet crimes continue to evolve, so must our cybersecurity.
Types of Cybercrime Businesses Need to Avoid
1. Data Breach
A data breach is exceptionally profitable for hackers and cybercriminals, hence the rampant data breach cases nowadays. A data breach is incredibly dangerous to individuals or companies. All businesses, even private users, store big data.
From confidential information like login or administration access to credit card and financial records information to consumer insights and employee data, hackers are looking out for what they can steal and exploit.
The best way to avoid data leaks is by restricting the amount of sensitive data available in the public domain. Limited privilege access to accounts and networks must also be limited, kept on a need-to-know basis. Both individual and corporate users must also use secure passwords and incorporate 2-step verification processes whenever possible.
It may be cumbersome to employ all these measures, but it is well worth it if it ensures your cyber safety.
However, there are also other ways in which organizations can mitigate their risk of exposure. One way is to set up a ‘burner email,’ which is simply a dummy email account that companies can use when signing up for a website or service that they just don’t want to send their real email address.
The benefit of a burner email is that it could automatically send every response to the real email address. Still, it assures businesses that their email address is not passed around.
When hackers get hold of your privacy, both corporate data and customer data are at risk. Hackers will misuse all kinds of private digital data, especially corporate trade secrets, data analysis, customer identity, and payment records.
It is why identity fraud is rampant and extortion, data failure, and sensitive operating systems’ shutdown.
To defend against these risks, businesses must store data safely in this data-centric economy to safeguard against data breach and protect consumer interests.
Another cybersecurity danger to businesses is ransomware. Ransomware encrypts data of a company that is only unlockable in return for a ransom payment.
About 20% of the cyberattacks are ransomware attacks that often small to medium-sized businesses encounter. Without the assurance that the data will be recovered, the majority of small businesses pay the ransom. The amount of ransom fees made by businesses is rising every year, but this is not the only problem. Ransomware also impacts a business’s operating time.
Cybercriminals will lock your data in two ways. They could lock the entire machine or lock your device with a specific file. Ransomware is also activated by the receipt of a phishing email containing a malicious attachment or a pop-up ad.
Attacks on data stored on computers increased the emergence of cloud data storage providers. More and more companies prefer cloud-based data storage.
However, there appears to be a misunderstanding that saving files in the database is much better than the computer’s hard disk.
To defend against ransomware threats, companies can ensure critical data is backed up in several locations. Not limited to cloud storage, but both locally and on a compact hard disk.
3. Malware Attacks
Malware is another common danger that small businesses face. It differs from Trojan, malware, worms, spyware, and adware. It’s a common online threat because it’s easy to deploy.
Malware is a malicious code that can steal and delete data or harm the software once it has access to a computer or website.
Since small business owners use their own devices or employ someone who uses their tools, this puts the business at risk. A malware attack also comes from installing a malicious app or web material, email spam, or connecting to an infected computer.
It is why using a personal computer or the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system is a danger to small businesses unless steps are taken.
Although malicious software can continuously evolve, security software often adapts to handle these threats. That’s why a company keeps its antivirus and malware program updated at all times.
4. Advanced social engineering tactics
A phishing attack is a method of fraudulently seeking to obtain an individual’s information to manipulate the account in which data is linked through accessing emails to bank accounts.
With artificial intelligence development, criminals no longer need to be involved in this process directly but can automate these attacks instead.
Businesses may stop opening or responding to unwanted emails asking for personal details to avoid phishing scams. Do not share too much personal information publicly.
Opportunist scammers can use even your business’ credentials or that of your team to persuade companies of their validity.
5. Distributed Denials of Service (DDoS)
DDoS is an assault that affects the period of service of a business or a website. The hacker would be using several computers to deploy the attack. It overloads a website with an elevated traffic rate that could slow down the site or close down the server entirely during its operational hours.
Because your homepage is filled with unwanted traffic, it would be impossible for your actual customers to access your website. This downtime on your website will affect your revenue, and you will lose your clients.
Conclusion: Global Cybersecurity Risks Can Affect Your Business
The need to ensure your business from cyber threats should be a top priority. Cyberthreats plague even governments and international organizations because hackers are not just interested in stealing data for money.
Social engineering, for instance, has been a ploy used for social disturbances and even political gains. For example, questions about election hacking attempts include propaganda efforts, shutdowns of voter registry lists, fraudulent voter records, or locked elections office machines, according to the Washington Post.
With regard to businesses, cyberattacks can be significantly damaging. The direct economic cost of such attacks on the company, such as hacking of corporate documents, trade interruption, or even fixing affected networks, results in financial loss.
Besides physical effects, violations of cybersecurity may also affect, even damage, a business’s reputation.
When businesses lose their consumer’s trust due to a data breach or cyberattack, they will easily venture elsewhere, resulting in revenue and profit loss.
Besides the immediate effects of a data security breach, the aftermath also has legal implications. For instance, for businesses under the latest GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), failure to handle a customer’s personal information can result in a group decision. It is because the error comes from a company’s managers or staff.
Therefore, regardless of scale, businesses need to ensure that everyone in the organization is up-to-date with the current threats and trends to cybersecurity. For instance, employees must know when a software is genuine or cracked or leverage software to boost business.
The easiest way to keep employees updated is continual training, providing a structure for team collaboration on main targets to achieve a quality that prevents data breaches as much as possible.
Mayleen Meñez used to work in media before finding her true passion in NGO work, traveling the Philippines and Asia doing so. She homeschools 3 kids and loves reinventing Filipino dishes. She is a resident SEO writer for Softvire Australia and Softvire New Zealand.