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We’d all like to believe we are immune to cybersecurity threats, but the truth is that anyone could be hacked at any time. It doesn’t matter if you own a large enterprise company or are an individual doing a little online shopping, hackers are hungry for your personal information.
This is especially true for small businesses. In fact, nearly half of small businesses suffered cyberattacks last year, and the average loss of business was in the tens of thousands of dollars!
While cybersecurity efforts have improved in the past decade, so have the threats.
Continuously evolving technologies and risks have locked us in a digital arms race, and cybercriminals are not showing any sign of slowing down.
Digital Arms Race
It seems that every time we discover and patch a network vulnerability, another one is exploited. It can be enough to make your head spin. Tech news source ZDNet reports that hackers, looking to combat our digital solutions, have begun grouping together to cause more damage: “Cybercrime gangs are now almost as sophisticated as the big businesses they are trying to steal from, leading to a new security arms race that companies are losing.”
That’s right. Hacking has matured beyond lone-wolf attacks and is regularly taking advantage of automated or brute force attacks to infiltrate organizational data.
Credential stuffing, for example, uses large scale automated attacks to test stolen login credentials until gaining access to financial assets. Hackers then use these accounts to transfer money to themselves or hold it for ransom until the rightful owner pays a lump sum.
Hacking software like this can be easily obtained on the dark net and used against your small business. That’s scary stuff! And, according to the OWASP Automated Threat Handbook, there is no shortage of these kind of attacks.
Of course, it’s not just company desktops and laptops being targeted. Cybercriminals are moving to mobile as more workplaces adopt bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. While BYOD is incredibly useful in improving employee productivity, it has made it even easier for hackers to exploit your data through SMS phishing scams, unsecured Wi-Fi connections or unencrypted mobile data transfers.
And it doesn’t stop there. Evidence shows that hackers are already gunning for the burgeoning Internet of Things in hopes of discovering security gaps before the market even takes off.
While the most adept hackers are developing more advanced ways to attack state-of-the-art security solutions, others prefer to infiltrate your small business through methods tried and true.
Phishing scams and spam email attachments are still some of the primary methods cybercriminals use to access your most valuable data. That’s because these techniques prey on the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain – your employees.
Human beings aren’t perfect. We are often tricked by phony sign-in pages or sketchy download offers. Hackers figure that if they cast out a large enough net of fraudulent emails, someone is bound to click it. Then boom! Your data is under their control.
Other security gaps include old software or outdate web browsers that have not patched existing security flaws. While your employees may not realize it, ignoring regular update prompts from these services could put your whole organization at risk.
In the end, educating your employees, following best practices and investing in cyber security insurance services can greatly improve your chances of fending off a data breach.
The Best Offense Is a Good Defense
While the news about data breaches can be alarming, the truth is that establishing basic cybersecurity defense measures is enough to convince many hackers to look for an easier target.
Even newer, more high-tech threats can be foiled by following a few basic rules: stay informed, avoid suspicious services or material and report data breaches quickly before things get out of hand.
Many people ignore the reality of cybersecurity risks until it’s too late. Don’t be one of them!