Top 3 Cyber Threats Facing Small Businesses

It’s no secret that cybercriminals pose a great threat to businesses of all sizes, especially small businesses. In order to protect yourself against an attack, it’s important to ensure your IT infrastructure is secured, no matter the size of your business. In order to protect yourself, it is important to know what threats are out there, 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 a responsibility to protect, under regulations such as GDPR. It is mainly for these reasons that small businesses can be lucrative targets for cyber-criminals. These assets paired with the usual lack of implementation of effective cyber security infrastructure make for a cybercriminal’s paradise.

Phishing Attacks

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

So, what is phishing?

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

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 own devices with perhaps less cyber protection than they had previously when they were working in the office.

The main reason that phishing emails are so dangerous is due to their use of social engineering tactics designed to exploit users. This, therefore, leaves the onus down to the individual to identify the email, rather than the cyber attack being due to exploiting a technological weakness.

It is therefore important to initiate and constantly develop an effective email filtration system in order to avoid the likelihood that one of these emails makes it through to a user’s mailbox.

Phishing attacks are, by nature, inconspicuous. This means that they can, and often do, fool even the strongest email filtering system due to pretending to be a legitimate senders. It is important to provide training to your team of employees about what a phishing email might look like, and what they can do if they ever receive one.

Malware Attacks

You may have heard of malware, but are unsure exactly what it means or how it can harm you. Malware is a term for malicious code that hackers create in order to gain access to potentially an entire business network.

Once they are inside, the malware begins to implement a multitude of malicious activities in order to steal, destroy or encrypt data, often in order to hold a business to ransom.

“Malware” has many different 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 in its life. Viruses exist to do harm for their own fain and growth, most likely exploiting the host and then moving to the next victim.

Hosting a virus may not mean the end of your computer’s life, but could definitely mean your data is at risk of being breached. Especially if your device is connected to a network that other devices are also connected to, meaning your device could then be used as a vector for other attacks on machines inside or outside of your machine’s organisation.

Depending on the scale, a malware attack could be crippling for your small business. Malware often leaves machines destroyed in order to clear the tracks of its 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 of the host to the rest of the network. Worst-case scenario, potentially business-ending damage has been done to the infrastructure of your network.

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

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomeware 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 ransomware attack on the NHS in May 2017 which bought both practices and key facilities to a screeching halt.

In the case of the NHS, the faceless organization behind the attack had designed and initiated a sudden and intense attack in the form of a lock of the entire computer and then multiple machines, locked behind an untraceable payment.

No business wants to deal with the hassle of having all your 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 anti-virus 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 take place.

Taking the steps to minimise your risk concerning cyber security through protecting against viruses, mail filtering and user training is 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. Enquire with us at Synergy-UK about the steps you can take today to begin protecting your business from a potential future cyber-attack.

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