Cybersecurity Risks and Threats Businesses Need to Be Aware Of

cybersecurity risks

Cybercrime has gotten complicated over the years. Now that every business out there uses more online tools than ever, hackers have countless opportunities to compromise businesses. That’s why the number of cyberattacks increased by 31% in 2020 alone.

There are many cybersecurity risks businesses need to be aware of in today’s world, so it pays to learn what to watch for. Below are 10 cybersecurity threats companies of all sizes need to know about.

1. Malware

Malware is the number one threat businesses have faced online for a while. Malware is malicious software that users download on their machines. Typically, these files are disguised as legitimate software and files that trick people into downloading.

The malware gets installed when a user opens the program. You’ll need to install anti-malware software on every machine to stop this from happening. Anti-malware will scan and remove files before they make it to your computer.

Of course, new threats get released all the time, so your malware definitions won’t always be up to date. You’ll need to run regular scans and updates to keep everything secure.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is a new type of malware that has come around over the past several years. It’s become more popular with the rise of cryptocurrency. Since it’s hard to track cryptocurrency payments, authorities have difficulty tracking criminals who hold company files for ransom.

Ransomware locks every file on your computer system with an encryption key. Unless you pay for the unlock code with a cryptocurrency payment, your files will lock and not open again.

Many malware scanners will spot these files and stop them from harming your organization. You can also make backups a regular occurrence to ensure that you can save your files in case they get locked with ransomware.

3. Phishing

Phishing is a social engineering attack that takes advantage of the goodwill of people. Hackers contact employees and pretend to be representatives of companies you work with. It can be anything from cloud software to banks.

If a phishing attempt happens over the phone, the perpetrator will pretend to be a customer support representative and get information about your organization from your employee. They can use that information to gain access to your accounts by calling the company they pretend to be from and using that information to gain access.

Another place phishing happens is email. Hackers will send fake emails that appear to be from professional companies. You click a link from that email and go to a phony domain name.

From there, employees get tricked into entering sensitive information like login credentials. That gives hackers all the information they need to compromise your online accounts.

4. DDoS Attack

A DDoS attack is useful for hackers who can’t infiltrate a company network. Instead of breaching a company’s defenses, a hacker sends a lot of internet traffic to a company network to bog it down.

If someone sees success doing this, it will grind your entire operation to a halt. There will be so much traffic that you can’t use any internet resources critical to your company’s operation. You’ll also lose your website if you host it on your company network.

You’ll need to invest in IT monitoring services to detect this type of traffic and block it before it becomes an issue. Working with a managed cybersecurity company will allow you to get the help you need.

5. Data Loss

Hackers aren’t the only cybersecurity threats out there. You also have to maintain your computer equipment and verify data quality. Unfortunately, you will run into situations where your safeguards fail, and you experience data loss.

That’s what data backups are for. You’ll sign up for a backup program and set your software to back up your files regularly. Updated critical files often get done daily, while less-used files are done weekly or monthly.

Your data is safe once your backup solution is in place. You’ll be able to log into your backup system and restore your files with a few clicks if you ever suffer from data loss.

6. Weak Passwords

Passwords are the key to protecting all your online accounts. Unfortunately, some people don’t do enough to create secure passwords. They create passwords that are easy to remember based on things in their real life.

That makes them easy to guess. A hacker can learn about your employees and use things in their life to figure out what those passwords are.

You’ll need to convince your team to create secure passwords. A great option is to use a password manager for your accounts. It will generate secure passwords automatically and fill them in for your team.

On top of that, you can create team accounts that don’t require people to know what passwords are. Doing this will help you secure your accounts further and make it so nobody can access an account from an unauthorized computer.

7. Insider Threats

Unfortunately, excellent security practices won’t be enough to protect you from every cyber threat. As good as your security practices are, it only takes a misstep from an employee to expose your entire organization.

That’s why employees are one of the biggest security threats you have. People don’t always make wise choices on the internet. Someone will eventually make a mistake that compromises your security.

You must train your team and put safeguards in place to limit exposure to protect your business. Train your team on what to do and not to do on the internet. You can also restrict data access to prevent widespread exposure when an employee gets compromised.

You also have to worry about employees purposely causing your company harm by stealing data. You’ll need to put tracking systems in place to monitor what people do and spot when people take home data they shouldn’t.

8. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

A man-in-the-middle attack happens when a hacker creates an internet access point disguised as another internet connection. It often occurs in public locations where companies offer free WiFi. A hacker will set up an open WiFi hotspot and give it a name similar to the location.

This action tricks people into logging on to these access points and using them for their internet connection. The problem with this is that hackers can monitor all the internet traffic on their access points. If you have unencrypted data, that means attackers will see sensitive information.

On top of that, hackers can redirect traffic from websites to fake pages and steal login credentials for sensitive websites. That means your accounts will get compromised without your internal network being hacked.

One way to avoid this problem is to educate employees about this problem. You can also invest in robust VPN software for your remote team. Your internet traffic gets encrypted on a VPN, meaning anyone watching traffic can’t see what’s happening.

9. Unknown Hardware Devices

Free WiFi is a must for most businesses these days. Almost everyone carries internet-enabled devices these days. They want to have internet access to those devices wherever they go.

That’s why many companies open a WiFi connection for employees and guests in the building. However, doing this also opens companies to cyber threats.

You never know what threats someone’s personal device contains. You’re opening your company to threats if you connect your public WiFi to the same network as sensitive company devices. Put your public WiFi on a separate network to ensure there’s separation, and you can limit your risk if someone brings a compromised device to your company’s property.

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10. Third-Party Attacks

With the rise of cloud software, you don’t only have to worry about your company’s security anymore. You also have to worry about your software partners. A hacker doesn’t need to infiltrate your business if they can hack the software company of the cloud software your business uses.

You can’t control your cloud software’s security practices, so you’ll need to learn about them before you sign up for your software. Ask your cloud providers what they do to ensure your data gets stored safely. If a company doesn’t help you understand how they keep your data safe, look for another provider that will.

Don’t Underestimate the Issue of Cybersecurity Risks

You only need to make one mistake to expose your entire organization to a hacker. Unfortunately, you have more opportunities than ever to make that mistake.

You must understand the cybersecurity risks out there if you want to protect yourself online. Keep the risks above in mind and work with a cybersecurity company to build the defenses you need to stop hackers in their tracks.

Are you wondering what else it will take to build a robust IT infrastructure for your business? Check out the blog to learn more business IT tips.

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