Cybersecurity is a hot topic of conversation for many businesses as the online world gets more popular. Most businesses will have some form of online presence and whilst it may present great opportunities for growth, it does make them vulnerable to the threats of cyberattacks. That’s why preventing cybercriminals is crucial.
So what steps could you take in order to prevent cyber-criminal actions on your business this year? In this guide, you’ll get a better understanding of what cybercrime is and what methods are used. There are also some great recommendations from the experts on how to best protect your business online.
What are cyber-attacks?
A cyberattack is known as an offensive maneuver that intentionally targets a computer’s information system, its networks and infrastructures in order to compromise them or/and the data.
This attack can end up causing major harm to those who are victims of cyberattacks. Due to the pandemic, cybercrime is up by 600%. It means that more care and attention needs to be made when it comes to how businesses protect themselves from harm.
Examples of cyber attacks
There are many types of cyber-attacks that are currently being used as methods to infiltrate and attack systems. These are only likely to increase in number as cybercriminals adapt and enhance their skills. Here are just a few common examples that are frequent in their occurrence.
Malware is likely to be the most well-known when it comes to cyber-attacks. The term malware encompasses a variety of attacks including spyware, worms and viruses. It usually exploits a vulnerability in order to breach the network. This is usually done by clicking on a dangerous link or email attachment that’s been “planted”.
This then installs malicious software that infects the system and can result in data being stolen or leaked.
Phishing is another form of cyber attack that’s extremely common and involves sending a mass amount of fraudulent emails to unsuspecting users. They’ll often be disguised in some cases and posing as colleagues of the individual. In 2019 alone, 88% of organizations worldwide had experienced spear-phishing attempts.
The intention is to have them click on a link or attachment where there’s malicious software hiding. These phishing attacks can often take place on social networks too and not just via email.
Password attacks are another way of breaching personal and business accounts. By accessing a person’s password, they can take advantage of confidential or critical data that could compromise the individual or business on many levels.
These attacks use a variety of methods to identify the password, these include testing the network connection, gaining access to the password database or simply guessing.
Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks
Internet connectivity is something that many of us will want to access whether that be at home, at work or on the move. It means that there are plenty of Wifi hotspots available to jump onto. However, that doesn’t mean all these places are safe. Some can be vulnerable to exploitation and cause havoc to many of those who use it willingly.
Anything that’s internet-connected within your home or business is something that can easily be exploited.
Five recommendations from the experts
With already $123 billion spent on security for businesses in 2020, this is a figure that’s projected a growth of $170.4 billion by 2022. The need for cyber security investment is certainly there but in what ways can you improve your businesses’ security. Below are some useful recommendations from experts in the field of cyber security and technology.
- Be suspicious of the urgent and unexpected
Jamie Randall, the chief technology officer of IASME Consortium said his best tip for preventing cyber-criminal actions is the urgent and unexpected.
What tends to be the most common in cyber-attacks are typically emails or social media communications that are unexpected in their arrival. There’s also usually a sense of urgency when it comes to the content of the email or message itself.
If you or one of your employees were to receive anything like this, you want to immediately suspect that this could be dangerous. That way, you can follow the relevant precautionary steps to vet what’s been received and to determine whether it’s legitimate or not.
It’s always good to trust your instincts and if your gut is telling you that something doesn’t seem right, then chances are it isn’t. As a business, it pays to be suspicious of anything that you get which is unexpected and pressuring you to make a rushed decision.
- Invest in cybersecurity training for your staff
Most businesses will understand the importance of training when it comes to their employees. Sungard AS mentions in one of their guides to educating employees on cyber security, that it’s vital to take a proactive approach to cyber security threats across your entire workforce.
You can’t expect that all your employees are going to be clued up with the current methods hackers and cybercriminals will use. In fact, it’s hard to keep up with those methods as they constantly change.
With that said, your business has a responsibility to ensure that each and every staff member is receiving informative training on how to best prevent their own human error from falling victim. An option growing in popularity for many companies is to encourage and help facilitate learning about best practices through courses and cybersecurity certificate programs from accredited institutions. This way staff are better trained and the option to grow out an internal team to create systems and protocols for the company becomes viable.
It’s important to make clear the impact that every staff member has on the integrity and security of the business when online. If the company is breached from a successful cyber attack, then this could result in serious damage to the business. It’s an event that would likely impact everyone, not just the company as an entity.
- Limit permissions when it comes to data
As a business, there’s likely a lot of individuals within the company who have various permissions and therefore, access to data. This data whether it is confidential or not isn’t something you want getting into the wrong hands.
As one of the many fraud prevention solutions, SEON offers some great products to help protect your business from these potential threats. Having these fraud detection services in place can be a life-saver for many organizations both big and small.
Another way of helping ensure your data is kept safe is by limiting your permissions. If a staff member moves to another department, make sure to restrict permissions to their new role and department in question. If they leave the company, make sure all the access and permissions have been revoked.
You can never be too careful with data and sometimes malicious intent can come from existing employees or those who’ve left the company.
- Use strong, memorable passwords
It’s likely to be pretty common for many people online to use the same passwords for pretty much everything. Whilst this might be effective for remembering them easily, it’s something that can certainly make you more vulnerable.
With that being said Pete Canavan, author of The Ultimate Guide to College Safety, stresses the need for passwords that are twelve characters or longer because they’re essentially uncrackable.
Setting strong but memorable passwords is the key to helping add that extra layer of security to your accounts. For some businesses, using a password manager can be handy so that the employee isn’t having to memorize a dozen or so passwords that are all different. Not to mention, it’s necessary to change your passwords regularly in order to maintain security.
Another good tip is to also use two-factor authentication where possible as this adds yet another layer of security to your logins. It may seem like a lot of effort but it’s all worthwhile in protecting your systems and confidential information. If there’s a way of adding more security layers, then it’s definitely worth doing!
- Outsource a team that can manage your cybersecurity
Finally, when it comes to managing your business security online, it’s not always something that you can manage internally. At least, not to the fullest. With that being said, it’s worthwhile investing and outsourcing your needs to a team that can manage it all on your behalf.
RedScan suggests that outsourcing managed IT services for your business can be more affordable than having them in-house. It can also alleviate some of the pressures that your internal IT and operations team are facing when it comes to cybersecurity.
As a business, you may also be limited to what resources, knowledge and skills are available in-house. So why prevent your business from getting the level of cybersecurity it needs? All businesses that operate in some way online, can benefit from utilizing the services of experts within the cybersecurity field.
Preventing cybercriminals activity with these recommendations
Cyber attacks can really contribute to a lack of progression within your organization. For some, it can impact businesses on a more severe level – to a point from which they cannot recover.
By taking the advice of the experts mentioned above, you’ll help provide extra security for your business when operating online. The more you can dedicate and invest into your cybersecurity, the better you’ll be for it right now and further down the line.