Keeping your business safe from cyber attacks may not have been top of mind when your company began, but it needs to be now. Without examining your cyber security, you may not realize you have a security risk until it’s too late. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, reported losses from cybercrime exceeded $6.9 billion in 2021 alone. Cybercriminals don't discriminate and have demonstrated they will target any company, small or large. This blog article highlights the top five cybersecurity threats you need to be aware of, so you can take steps to protect yourself and your organization.
- Malware & Viruses. Malware, also known as malicious software, is software that is designed to damage your computer, server or computer network. This includes viruses, which are programs designed to spread from computer to computer that alter the way your computer operates. Viruses have the potential to:
- Corrupt or destroy data
- Steal passwords or data
- Log keystrokes
- Spam email contacts
- Take over your computer
- Damage your hard drive
- Phishing. Phishing is a type of cyber attack that combines email and social engineering to entice victims. Phishing emails often appear to come from a known organization or individual, tricking the recipient into clicking on a link or opening an attachment that contains malicious code. Once this code runs, the computer may become infected with malware. Phishing scams have branched out from email and may arrive in the form of a text message.
- Endpoint Attacks. With many resources living in the Cloud and workstations being spread out for remote working, hackers have more possible targets for an attack. In endpoint attacks, hackers may infiltrate a personal device (such as a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone) and use it to steal information from your organization. If your business has a “bring your own device” policy in place, requiring these devices to meet security standards before allowing network access can help prevent endpoint attacks.
- Ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware that is so destructive that it merits its own category. It takes over your computer and encrypts your data, refusing you access to it until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks are on the rise across the world, with notable impacts to the title industry, such as the ransomware attack that hit Baltimore in 2019 and brought a halt to closings. Like malware, ransomware can be introduced through phishing emails or infected websites, so avoid clicking on suspicious links in texts or spam.
- Patch Management. Software and hardware that we use daily is being poked and prodded by hackers in an attempt to find a “hole” or vulnerability that will provide them access to information. When manufacturers find out about vulnerabilities in their products, they often release patches for users to install to close the hole. These patches are vital in keeping businesses safe, but they are often ignored by users or can fall to the wayside for busy IT teams. If your technology remains unpatched, your business is exposed to many known cybersecurity threats.
By taking proactive steps like the ones below, you can help protect your business from cyber criminals.
- Train your employees: Teach your employees how to do things like spot phishing emails and texts, avoid suspicious downloads, protect sensitive information and create strong passwords.
- Secure your networks: Safeguard your information by using a firewall, encryption, and secure wi-fi network.
- Require strong passwords: Improve your cybersecurity with password requirements, such as 10 characters or more and a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters in the password.
- Use multifactor authentication: Require additional information to access sensitive information, such as a security code sent to your phone.
- Invest in a cybersecurity team: One of the best ways to protect your business is by employing professional help. Finding and maintaining employees dedicated to keeping your company digitally secure is a huge step toward long-term cybersecurity.