Top 3 Cyber Threats Facing Small Businesses

It’s no secret that cybercriminals pose a great threat to businesses of all sizes, tiny businesses. To protect yourself against an attack, ensuring your IT infrastructure is secured is vital. This applies no matter the size of your business. It is essential to know what threats are out there to protect yourself. And how to begin to ensure you are protecting yourself against them.

Even small businesses often deal with large sums of money. Or a large amount of sensitive information that they have to protect. There are legal regulations, such as GDPR, that you will need to adhere to. For these reasons, small businesses can be lucrative targets for cyber-criminals. These assets and the usual lack of effective cybersecurity make for a cybercriminal’s paradise.

Phishing Attacks

The most common way small businesses are attacked by cybercriminals is through “phishing” attacks. These are usually widespread and account for 83% of all breaches in for-profit businesses. And for 79% of breaches in not-for-profit companies.

So, what is phishing?

Phishing emails are emails sent by cyber-criminals that bear a very similar resemblance to trusted contacts. It may contain hidden requests for sensitive information through a method of spoofing. They do this by using compromised credentials to request this information. Or via a harmful link to download a malicious file, which could gain access to the information on your device.

Phishing attacks have become more common due to the shift to working from home in March 2020. This could be due to employees using their devices with less cyber protection than on office workstations.

Phishing emails are so dangerous due to their use of social engineering tactics. They use convincing strategies designed to exploit users. This, therefore, leaves the onus down to the person to spot the iffy emails. Humans are the weak link compared to the cyberattack due to exploiting a technical weakness.

It is, therefore, crucial to set up and maintain an effective email filtration system. Spam filtering can help avoid the likelihood that one of these emails makes it through to a user’s mailbox.

Phishing attacks are, by nature, inconspicuous. This means they can, and often do, fool even the strongest email filtering system. Hackers use advanced methods to pretend to be a legitimate sender. It is crucial to provide training to your team of employees. And teach them what a phishing email might look like. And what they can do if they ever receive one. Whether your data is local or moved to the cloud, you must ensure its safety.

Malware Attacks

You may have heard of malware but are still determining what it means or how it can harm you. Malware is a term for malicious code that hackers create to gain access. Installed on one machine, it can infect an entire business network.

Once they are inside, the malware begins to implement a multitude of malicious activities. In an attempt to steal, destroy or encrypt data. Hackers may often hold a business to ransom for monetary gains.

“Malware” has many forms, one of which is computer viruses. The likelihood is that if you’ve had a computer for a while, it’s had a virus at some point. Viruses exist primarily to replicate and spread. Often causing harm to their hosts before moving on to infect others.

Hosting a virus may not mean the end of your computer’s life. But it could definitely mean your data is at risk of getting breached. Other devices are also connected to a network, especially if your device is connected to a network. Infected devices are vectors for other computer attacks inside or outside your company.

Depending on the scale, a malware attack could be crippling for your small business. Malware often destroys machines to clear the tracks of their malicious activities. Repairing or replacing your computer can be a great expense to a small business. And that is in the best-case scenario when the virus has not spread outside the host to the rest of the network. Worst-case scenario, potentially business-ending damage has been done to your network’s infrastructure.

In all cases, when it comes to cybersecurity, prevention is always better than cure. This means implementing cyber-security where needed. This will help to prevent any malware takeovers, including antivirus software. Implementation of antivirus software should be a no-brainer for any business. No matter your business size and the stage of your operations. If you need help with your cybersecurity, Synergy-UK can help with your IT support and services.

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware has become almost a household name over the last few years. If you’ve heard of ransomware, it might be partly due to the WannaCry attack on the NHS. It happened in May 2017, which brought both practices and key facilities to a screeching halt.

In the case of the NHS, the faceless group behind the attack initiated a sudden and intense attack. It arrived in the form of a lock of the entire computer. And then it spread to multiple machines, locking them on its way. Hackers demanded a large sum of cash via an untraceable payment method.

Businesses want to avoid having all their devices, files and servers locked behind a paywall. Especially not when it’s only unlocked for an average price of $170,404 (in 2021).

So, what can you do to prevent a ransomware attack? The first step is always to implement strong antivirus software. Then, make sure your mail-filtering software and procedures are up-to-date and continue to be effective. And your staff are clued-in concerning all the sneaky ways phishing attacks can occur.

Take steps to minimize your risk concerning cybersecurity by protecting against viruses. Implement mail filtering and user training. It’s a great initial step in the right direction. And, one, we can help you with every step of the way.

Don’t let your business become the next victim of a ransomware attack. Prepare for the worst-case scenario, just in case. Please enquire with us at Synergy-UK about the steps you can take today. And let us begin protecting your business from a potential future cyber-attack.

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I have 20 years of experience in the IT industry. I have worked as a security analyst, trainer, and writer at Synergy-UK for over ten years.

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