In today’s combative cybersecurity climate, small businesses are increasingly at risk. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity report, fifty percent of small and medium-sized businesses have experienced a cybersecurity breach in the last twelve months.
Why is My Small Business at Risk of Cyberattack and What Can I Do About It?
It’s no secret that large corporations like Home Depot and Target are prime targets for hackers—but most small businesses don’t realize that they represent a preferred target for cybercriminals. Small businesses have more digital information and assets than the individual consumer, coupled with less security and sub-par protections when compared with larger corporations. This presents an ideal balance between vulnerability and opportunity for sophisticated hackers.
Additionally, small businesses are vulnerable to hackers because hackers know that small and mid-sized businesses have limited resources and fewer perimeter defense systems. Cybersecurity practices at many small and mid-sized businesses are inadequate, in part, because many small business owners feel their information isn’t worth a hackers time—and nothing could be farther from the truth.
What Types of Cyberattacks Make My Small Business Vulnerable?
In most cases, the ultimate goal of a cyberattack is to exploit a small business’s systems to gain access to their valuable sensitive data. Since sophisticated hacker’s tactics evolve on a daily basis, businesses should be aware of the most frequently deployed attacks:
Advanced Persistent Threat (APT): An Advanced Persistent Threat is a long-term targeted attack that compromises a business’s network via multiple phases of attack. Since APTs are made up of many small threats, the tactic allows hackers to avoid the detection of less-sophisticated perimeter defense systems.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): In a Distributed Denial of Service attack, hackers intentionally overload a server with a barrage of requests with the ultimate goal of compromising and shutting down the vulnerable company network or website.
Insider Attack: An Insider Attack occurs when someone within the organization (usually an employee with administrative privileges) intentionally misuses credentials to compromise or gain access to confidential business information. Separated employees can present an even greater threat if they left the company on bad terms—which makes revoking a former employee’s credentials absolutely mandatory immediately upon termination.
Malware: Malware is malicious software that targets a victim’s computer with the intent to gain unauthorized access, hold data hostage for ransom (as is the case with ransomware), and cause potentially catastrophic damage to sensitive company files and folders.
Password Attacks: In a Password Attack, a hacker will attempt to use the following methods:
- Brute Force: The hacker initiates multiple persistent attempts to guess a victim’s password until they achieve success.
- Dictionary: A program automatically deploys multiple combinations of dictionary words to gain access to a victim’s system.
- Keylogging: A keystroke tracker that keeps a log of all of the user’s keystrokes including their passwords and login credentials.
Phishing: Using Social Engineering techniques to get vulnerable employees to open an infected email attachment or click a download link, phishing typically involves convincing an employee that an email is legitimate. The infected email content persuades the employee to click on a damaging file that ultimately unleashes malware or other damaging software into the company network.
How Can I Protect My Business From Cyberattacks?
An effective cybersecurity strategy begins with a risk assessment through a third party provider like Intrinium. With the Intrinium Vigilance™ program, your small business will benefit from a 24/7/365 Security Operations Center that monitors your entire company network and all related devices in real time. To learn more about how to stay vigilant in your business’s cybersecurity efforts, contact the experts at Intrinium for a free consultation.