The Top 5 Cyber Threats Facing Businesses

Cyberattacks pose a significant risk to business security. Here are the top cyber threats facing businesses and how avoid a breach.

Business owners everywhere are under attack. Many of them just don't know it yet. What's even more worrisome is that they are being attacked almost daily by criminals trying to break into their business and steal their hard-earned products, software, information, and money. No, I'm not talking about your classic bandit wearing a ski mask and breaking a window to get into your business. I am referring to cyber-criminals. So, let's take a look at the top 5 cyber threats that companies face every day.

1. Good ol' ransomware

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past few years, you probably know a little something about ransomware. You might have even dealt with ransomware in the past and know all too well about this little piece of demonic code. There are so many articles out on the web about what ransomware is, but for the sake of simplicity, ransomware is a piece of software that sneaks onto your computer and encrypts your files. Ransomware is part of 10% of all breaches, and it nearly DOUBLED in frequency in 2021.

The scariest part of a ransomware cyberattack is that, in most cases, it’s not discriminatory when it comes to its targets. This means that the hacker puts the code out into the internet and just waits for it to infect a computer/network. Worse than the shotgun approach of infection, the hackers are getting smarter. When ransomware first appeared in computers, it was very upfront about its presence and encrypted your files immediately. This meant that there was a high likelihood that you had a backup you could restore from. This is no longer the case.

Modern ransomware is more intelligent and more sophisticated. Some current ransomware software will now hide in wait for a certain period of time before encrypting your important business files. You might wonder why this matters. Well, it's written with the delay in hopes that you won't notice the software until you back it up and inadvertently backup the ransomware as well, putting your business at risk.

2. The classic virus

A modern virus is not that different from a classic virus. The virus is written by a cybercriminal to attack a specific part of a computer system and simply disable it. One of the worst parts about viruses is that they have only one purpose: to destroy. Viruses are written by people who just want to watch the world burn. While these cyberattacks are less likely to show up anymore because our antivirus software has become much more efficient at detecting the infection and removing the viruses, the threat still very much exists.

There is not much more to say about viruses except that you MUST ensure that your antivirus software is always up to date and running. This is crucial to protecting your business from this type of cyber threat.

3. Business email compromise

A business email compromise is just a fancy term for someone spying on your email and waiting for the right moment to attack. This is usually a two-part attack in which a malicious user has gained access to your network through a phishing attack and now waits to spring the trap inside your network. These cyberattacks are troubling because the hacker is watching every email you are working on and waiting for the proper conversation to attack. This can last months and even years.

What these cyber-criminals are trying to do is catch a single, sizeable electronic transaction (such as a real estate transaction or a stock purchase), and then they pretend to be you. They will send an email in your tone, with your email address, and request a wire transfer for the transaction (this is why they need to monitor your email. They need to wait until both you and your client are expecting this transaction to happen). The attack occurs when they send a fake email with a link or routing number to send the funds. Once the client sends the funds, the cyberattack is over, the hacker is exposed as they run out the door, and the funds are now overseas and unrecoverable in most cases.

The FBI places business email compromise at the top of its list for lost money, outpacing ransomware attacks over 6 times. Ensuring that you and your client are safe is as easy as picking up the phone on both ends while the transaction takes place. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

4. Phishing

Businesses are constantly under attack from phishing, and so are individuals. How often have you opened your email with messages that look legit and want you to click a link to submit further information? This is the simplest form of phishing. But phishing really isn't an attack; it's a setup for the actual cyberattack. Once the cyber-criminal has the information they need from an unsuspecting employee, they may be able to gain entry into your network or systems and cause untold amounts of chaos.

Phishing attacks come in many forms, from email to phone calls. Ensuring that your employees are adequately trained to detect a phishing cyberattack is paramount to the defense of your business assets.

5. Employees

Yes, you read that right; your employees are a top cyber threat to your business. While malicious employees could easily disrupt your entire business, this is rare. The main problem with employees is that they simply don’t know what to look for.

Training your employees to be skeptical about every external email should be ongoing training that happens regularly. Your employees are your last line of defense before a cyber-criminal can get into your network, but they are also why the doors are left unlocked and opened. Training on phishing, ransomware, cyber-hygiene, and other threats should really be as frequent as reminding them to set the alarm before they go for the evening.

The Conclusion

In today's business world, every single business owner and employee is under attack, regardless of whether they know it or not. Finding an IT partner or hiring an IT professional to watch over your network should be as much a part of your business as having business insurance. You must protect your assets through diligent determination every single day. Getting started can be an overwhelming task, but Bit-Wizards is here to help guide the way or take on the job of protecting your business from cyber threats.

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Jason Monroe, Associate Director, Solution Development
Jason M. Monroe

Director of Solution Consulting

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