If you think that small businesses aren’t targets of cybercriminals, check out the following cyber security threats that can affect small businesses. Unfortunately, most small business owners think that cybercriminals only target large enterprises. As a result, many entrepreneurs lack cyber security measures. Worse, some know little about cyber security threats.
However, even if your business is small, it still holds data or money that hackers can use. Most cyber criminals even target small businesses knowing that they can easily penetrate their system. This vulnerability can lead to loss of money or even your whole business. In addition, you may even lose customers because they’ll be afraid of sharing their information with you. That’s why it’s recommended to be aware of the following cyber security threats that may affect your business:
1. Malware Threats
One cyber security threat for small businesses is malicious or malware threat. This can wreak havoc on your computer network, client, server, or the computer itself. By enticing you to download a software embedded with ransomware or viruses, cybercriminals can spread the viruses to your system.
Not only that, but cybercriminals can then access your system or computer through viruses. And, whatever device is connected to your computer, these viruses can infect them as well. So, if you’re connected to a larger company, you may also cause malware infection to their system.
You may not be the focus of the attack, but hackers may use you to penetrate their target: larger businesses you’re working with. That’s because they may want to ask for ransom from these larger companies in exchange for decrypting the latter’s data.
Another way they can spread or install the ransomware is through unpatched vulnerabilities in your software. That’s why it’s best to install software that has undergone fuzz testing from forallsecure.com and other reputable companies. That way, you can be sure that hackers can’t easily penetrate the software with viruses or ransomware.
2. Malicious Cryptomining
Another cyber security threat that can negatively impact your business is malicious cryptomining or cryptojacking. Since the popularity of crypto mining, attackers use malicious cryptomining to siphon off some of your CPU’s power.
They can do this via installing crypto mining software that can help cyber criminals earn money from such. They can use your computer’s resources and power to steal your cryptocurrency wallets while mining for cryptocurrencies. What’s worse is that it can be hard to detect while it’s too easy for attackers to deploy.
With cryptojacking, you can experience higher electricity bills, overheating computer devices, increased processor usage, and decreased computer responses. This can be a major concern because it can affect your business operations. For example, since your computers may work slow, you may not finish your paperwork quickly. Or worse, you can end up paying for electricity bills even if you’re not using too much of it.
To prevent malicious cryptomining and protect your company data, a high level of protection is a must. Whether you’re using online payment methods, require your clients to pay via credit cards, or you’re protecting business data and personal information, consider using a hardware security module or HSM. An HSM offers an extraordinarily high level of security to companies owning sensitive data.
An HSM is a physical device that’s plugged into a computer that handles cryptoprocesses. HSMs encrypt and decrypt information and manage digital keys. They’re especially designed to protect sensitive information. A hardware security module partner is therefore one way to protect your company and clients’ information.
3. Denial of Service (DoS)
If you’re experiencing an unresponsive network or computer, you may want to check if you’re under a DoS attack. This type of cyberattack floods your network or computer from multiple return IP addresses. When this happens, your legitimate users may not access your network.
Worse, your system may shut down because your web services may crash, which can happen with large-scale DoS. It can then damage your customers’ trust and web infrastructure, making you offline for a long time.
Aside from installing tools to protect your online security, the following can enhance your security against DoS attacks:
- Buy DoS protection services: One of the best ways to protect your network is to pay for a DoS protection service. By having such, you can stop DoS attacks because you can identify before it happens. That’s because DoS protection services have a distributed network of proxy servers monitoring incoming traffic to your network. If it’s malicious, then they can implement a solution.
- Use Quality Router: You can also use a quality router to enhance bandwidth buffering when an increase in traffic happens. That way, you can react to the attack in real-time.
- SMS Phishing
Phishing is among the most damaging and most widespread threat that companies face today. Phishing occurs when an attacker pretends to be a trustworthy contact, and urges a user to give confidential information, data, or download a malicious file.
SMS phishing is rising because many people never thought that a cyber security threat could happen via an SMS message. However, SMS messages can appear legit and unharmful as they can deceive receivers into clicking on the attached link, which may contain viruses that can penetrate the mobile device of the SMS receiver.
For instance, an SMS message may instruct you to change your bank account password because of system updates and other reasons. When the receiver does this, the attacker can steal the former’s information and use it to steal their fund. However, this may be deceptive since most banks use multi-factor authentication, which you can receive through an SMS message.
However, if the attacker is so good at imitating your bank’s SMS message, you may fall into this scheme. To prevent this, it’s best to check if the message comes from the same bank’s number, or confirm it with your bank, especially if it’s asking for critical details, such as multi-factor authentication and the like.
5. Security Breaches
Lastly, you may want to consider security breaches from within your business. For example, your current or former employees may unknowingly pose a threat or due to malice. There are many forms of security breaches that you may experience, endangering your business, such as the following:
Former employees having login credentials may use them to access your system. They can then steal your data and sell it to your competitors or create issues that can destroy your reputation to your clients. That’s why you must remove this privy that your employees have when they leave your business.
Outsourcing individuals, like website developers, for your business means you give them login credentials to access your system. That way, they can do their task anytime without asking you each time. The downside, however, is when you hire the ones who have ill-intent. They may steal your data or infect your system with bugs, like the ones mentioned above. That’s why it’s best to hire reputable ones, especially if you’re outsourcing from other countries.
Another way that businesses experience security breach is when their personnel use weak passwords. Some businesses utilize cloud-based services that require several accounts. The services may have confidential data and financial information. Thus, companies should use business password management technology to strengthen passwords. This kind of technology also helps your personnel in managing their passwords or suggesting strong passwords. It’s also helpful to use multifactor authentication.
Many forms of cyber security threats now exist. This may cost you money or you may lose your whole business if you’re unprepared. One way to avoid such is to learn and understand what these threats are. That way, you can appreciate how hiring cyber security experts can protect your business. You may also consider using various security tools for your company to prevent or counter the cybersecurity threats that businesses face today.