With business development, information exchange is growing – with suppliers, contractors, partners, and customers. Each of these relationships creates a new set of cyber threats. The need for safety and the way it is implemented must be balanced, thoughtful by the organization’s needs to conduct effective activities.
A successful business is always a goal that any entrepreneur sets himself. It is also a goal for consumers to enjoy owning or using a particular product. Aim for followers who are inspired by ideas to create or upgrade their services. The goal for competitors is to stop the growth of development.
Many companies have experienced external attacks or internal information security incidents at least once a year. Imagine hundreds of new pieces of malware are being created every second in the world. The black market for viruses is large enough. The site of a small but growing demand project can quite easily find itself under an accidental DDoS attack. An unprepared resource will become inaccessible to users due to the influx of new users who decided to test the service after an excellent promo article.
If most programs can hide your IP, then what about protecting your business? A well-designed proactive and integrated small business cybersecurity program will minimize the negative impact on short-term and long-term business goals. Let’s learn how to make a trustful storage database and how to take care of site security.
What Cybersecurity Means And Why It Is Important For Business
Cybersecurity is an eternal race for technology, the pursuit of security experts on cybercriminals. The higher the technological level, the more perfect and sophisticated the attacker acts. Defense usually goes one step behind. First comes the threat, then the defense. It rarely happens when the defense is proactive.
A prime example is the US government. In this country, there are separate institutions engaged in studying cyber threats and the development of protection. There are security communities whose mission is to collaborate on developing solutions to defend against cyber threats.
Cybersecurity is applying security measures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Cybersecurity protects resources: information, computers, servers, enterprises, individuals. Cybersecurity aims to protect data at the stage of its transfer and storage. These security measures include access control, training, auditing, risk assessment, testing, management, and security authorization, ensuring that outsiders do not download data.
The cybersecurity specialist develops security systems for small business internet security and electronic databases, tests and improves his own and third-party developments to avoid the risk of leakage of information constituting a trade secret, confidential information. Unlike information security, cybersecurity includes protecting information resources and other assets, and therefore the person himself. That is, it is something similar to the function of how to hide your IP.
Cybersecurity management is not only the backbone of a company’s cybersecurity management. It is the basis for managing business safety, protecting its profitability, development, and online reputation. A wide range of risk areas allows you to manage a completely new business concept: cyber policy.
The problem with cybersecurity is that businesses rarely use reliable antivirus software or specialized solutions to protect against DDoS attacks or take action to protect information and financial transactions. An elementary problem: remember how many passwords you have? Most likely, there are only a few of them, which are combined. The issue of cybersecurity is now quite acute for the entire business. Businesses can not live without digital technologies. It has already gone into cyberspace, so it is better to start assessing and managing cyber-crises now, before incidents occur, than to calculate losses later.
Cyberattack And Its Types
A cyber attack is a malicious, deliberate attempt by a person or organization to penetrate another person or organization’s information system. Typically, by disrupting the victim’s network, the hacker seeks to gain profit.
Attackers seek to exploit vulnerabilities in corporate systems, which leads to an annual increase in cybercrime. Often hackers demand a ransom: 53% of cyber-attacks resulted in losses of $ 500,000 or more. Cyberattacks can also have ulterior motives. Some attempts by hackers to destroy systems and data are peculiar manifestations of “hacktivism.”
The number of cybercrimes continues to grow, and the situation is becoming more dangerous. However, the main types of attacks have not changed; they have been known for many years. “Why invent something new if the old works well,” modern cybercriminals seem to say to themselves. No one is protected from hacking – neither ordinary users nor small businesses. Only users can hide IP online to avoid danger from online criminals, and businesses cannot. Let’s take a look at five of the most famous hacker attacks.
Viruses and ransomware viruses
Typically, a virus is malicious software that infects a computer or other computing device when a user opens an email attachment or follows a link to a malicious site. A ransomware virus is a specialized virus that, when infected, encrypts all files on the system and does not give data to the user until the ransom is paid. To reduce the likelihood of getting infected with such viruses, you need to be vigilant and learn to recognize suspicious files and questionable requests. Also, end devices must use security software.
Potentially unwanted programs
Potentially unwanted programs are Trojans, spyware, or adware. They are usually installed along with another useful program that the user has chosen to download. Such programs can secretly record all keystrokes, scan files on your hard drive, and read browser cookies. To protect against this threat, do not download or install applications, browser extensions, or other programs from untrusted websites. It is also worth setting up regular backups of the device’s contents to an external drive or an online backup service.
Phishing is a hacking method with the help of emails, in which the user is tried to deceive and force to transfer a username and password from a service or other important information. For this, the letter can be drawn up as a notice from the bank or a friend’s message. Using an email protection program will help detect suspicious links and block spam and messages with malicious attachments. Multi-Factor authentication (when the user is asked for an additional code via SMS when entering a service) will help protect the account, even if the password has been stolen.
A hacker can also gain access to a user account using a “frontal attack” when a particular program tries many variants of a username and password – usually using a dictionary and other passwords stolen earlier. To prevent this from happening, you need to block the login after a certain number of login attempts. You can also protect against automatic login attempts by using a human-to-robot test, such as reCAPTCHA.
Not updated or outdated software
Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in system software and web applications to execute unauthorized code by gaining access to the system or stealing information. Consider Equifax’s example – they had the Apache Struts web framework installed, which was not updated in time, which led to a rage of 143 million social security numbers, addresses, driver’s license, and credit card numbers. There is software to scan for vulnerabilities, and it tries to find systems that need updating and alert the user.
How to Stop Cyber Attacks?
Everyone knows that cyberattacks threaten all companies on the Internet. But many executives still take this risk irresponsibly and neglect understanding cybersecurity. Even Internet users use a VPN to protect their data, because it hides your IP. Your business should be twice as secure.
Whatever corporate software is, the human factor is considered the primary source of risk. Employees themselves are often the cause of cyberattacks on businesses. They lose laptops and devices, store passwords insecurely, and, contrary to arguments, do not believe the threat is real.
An essential part of the security system is creating a corporate culture that helps each employee ensure safety. It should be a set of rules that clearly explain what actions can pose a threat to the company and what to do to reduce the risks.
You also need to improve the security system from the technical side. If you turn to the experts, the tips for preventing cyber-attacks will be simple and accessible:
- Antivirus software. Yes, threat detection and security management software can be expensive, but small companies with limited resources can find the right solution. Renowned vendors such as Kaspersky, McAfee, and Symantec offer small business solutions for 20-25 devices. Subscription prices for these solutions start at £ 115. Subscriptions typically include data loss prevention and automatic backups, antivirus and spyware protection, firewall, and personal data security.
- Employee training and free online training. Before you start calculating your cybersecurity budget, remember that most security is not caused by cybercriminals’ insidious plans but by your employees’ digital illiteracy. According to Willis Towers Watson, roughly two-thirds of all data breaches result from employees, whether unintentional, such as a laptop left unattended on a train, or intentionally. Only 18% of attacks were external, and only 2% of cases required a ransom for data return.
- Network performance and security services. If your company has a website but is not yet using productivity tools like Cloudflare or Incapsula, we recommend doing so. These tools – both free and paid versions are available – help protect your website from attacks that could compromise data integrity or stop working. Cloudflare developers offer several versions of the solution: free trial, professional, small companies, and large corporations. However, even the free version is better than nothing.
- Identity Theft Protection Services. The attacker introduces himself as the company’s head and asks his subordinates to put a certain amount into a bank account. The number of such cases, the official name of a compromised corporate email, is growing rapidly. The cheapest way to protect against such incidents is through strict email regulations. For example, you can instruct employees to respond to managers with a separate letter rather than a reply to an incoming message.
- Inexpensive, but reliable mobile apps. Today, with so much important information stored on mobile devices, it is imperative to have a solution to protect this information from the device’s loss or theft. Fortunately, the world of applications does not stand still, and something new appears every day. Password managers remember complex passwords that are difficult to guess and eliminate the risk of hacking the device because the same password was used for different purposes. Often, such applications can also generate strong passwords. There are such applications for end-to-end encryption of calls and messages. Use them if you need to protect confidential information from prying eyes and ears.
What Problems Can Arise If Someone Steals Business Data?
The first problem you may face in a cyber attack is crypto lockers. This is when the virus encrypted the drive and demanded a ransom for the data. The second problem is hidden attacks, the so-called targeted attacks. They are specially designed to “survive” in the company without revealing themselves as long as possible, to collect more information, and somehow to forward this information to the one who created or ordered this virus.
When a hacker acts against a specific organization, the methods are fairly standard. Usually, the first studies the people working for the company and its infrastructure. If the infrastructure is poorly protected and information security solutions cannot detect sophisticated attacks. The path is simple: a hacker penetrates the network or can secretly send an infected file.
Small businesses need to work with integrator companies to help them choose the right security systems, install, configure, and teach them how to use them. It is worth buying not just an antivirus, and the cheapest option, but those antivirus systems that have new modules that help protect against modern types of attacks.
What To Do If You Subject Your Business To Cyberattacks?
Two aspects are worth paying attention to in the first place – technical and legal. To be able to remedy the situation quickly, the company must have a response plan.
Let’s start with the technical aspect: if the attack succeeds, it needs to be mitigated. Therefore, the main goal is to remove the hacker from the network without giving a chance to aggravate the situation. Then you need to identify the vulnerabilities and fix them. Only after this is the system restored.
In the event of a successful cyber attack on a company, the first step is to ensure the isolation of the attacked systems and take all measures to prevent the spread of the attack. To eliminate the consequences of an attack, you first need to understand how the attack became possible and what contributed to its development. And based on the knowledge gained, develop a set of measures to eliminate vulnerabilities. It is necessary to carry out a regular risk analysis to prevent further attacks, constantly minimizing them.
The legal aspect is to assess the business impact of a cyber-attack. In addition to the loss, which on average for small and medium-sized businesses is $ 14 thousand per incident, and for a large one – $ 695 thousand, there are other risks.
After hacking, you need to understand what information ended up in the hands of the attackers. This can be data from clients and partners, secret reports for investors or shareholders. Without legal advice on the leakage of this data, the situation risks turning from bad to catastrophic. Lawyers will help you understand the issues of notifying authorities, partners, and clients.
A cyberattack can cost large companies millions of dollars, but small and medium-sized businesses are threatened with bankruptcy. Building the security of a small business will not be able to use a huge budget. Therefore, it will have to focus on the responsibility and efficiency of staff and partners.
It is important to use antivirus software. Everyone is used to signature versions of these products. They work according to a simple principle – if a virus is in the database, it will be detected. But given the speed of malware updates, this method is not the best solution. Therefore, you will have to use new antiviruses that detect malicious programs using analytical methods.
For employees of companies who want to protect themselves from various cyber threats, this is, first of all, compliance with “digital hygiene.” Competently work with email, do not open attachments, do not follow links from letters from unfamiliar sources, do not download unlicensed files, constantly update licensed cybersecurity software – on personal computers. It is also worthwhile to carefully share your data and make sure that any company is responsible for them and takes all measures to keep them safe.
The goal of every company is to minimize the risk of being hacked. This can only be done using the latest developments in the security industry, tracking vulnerabilities, and training employees. It is essential to understand that protection is an ongoing process that requires vigilance. In the 21st century, the company’s own efforts alone will not be enough; joint actions will be needed.