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The Biggest Cyber Threats Faced By Small Businesses

Here are some of the biggest cyber threats and how you can defend yourself against each of them.

43% of cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses. The damage caused by these cyberattacks can be costly and some businesses never recover.

By understanding the different forms of cyberattack, you can make sure that your business is protected from all angles. Here are some of the biggest cyber threats and how you can defend yourself against each of them.

The Biggest Cyber Threats Faced By Small Businesses

Phishing

Phishing is a form of online fraud that involves tricking companies and individuals into giving away sensitive information such as passwords, bank details, and even customer data. A cybercriminal will usually send an email posing as a trusted organization such as a bank, the government, a client, or a supplier in which they will ask for private information.

Some phishing emails are easy to detect, while others can be very convincing and harder to distinguish. A few tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with a phishing email include:

Generally speaking, you should never give out private details via email without confirming the identity with the other party first. This could be done via phone (don’t ring the phone number supplied in the email – research the phone number online to make sure it’s an official number). Make sure to train your employees to do this or to report such emails to you. This guide at Business Insider offers more information on how to defend yourself from phishing. 

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Malware

Malware is short for ‘malicious software’. It’s typical software that contains viruses, often programmed to steal data or extort money. Ransomware is the most serious form of malware – often encrypting all your data and requiring you to pay a ransom in order to access all your data again.

Malware can be automatically downloaded onto a computer by clicking on a malicious link in an email or visiting a malicious site. By being careful of which links and sites you click on, you may be able to avoid accidentally downloading malware (security screening tools can often warn you if an email or website is potentially unsafe).

Up-to-date anti-virus software can act as an added defence against malware. Backing up data on the cloud and using programs such as disaster recovery software can meanwhile protect against the likes of ransomware.

Hacking

Hacking can take various forms from SQL injection attacks to DDos attacks. It typically involves breaking into a computer system or network in order to access sensitive data such as passwords, account information or company secrets – which may be exploited directly by a hacker or sold to other thieves on the dark web.

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Creating strong passwords and regularly changing them is the best form of defense against hackers. Investing in cybersecurity support from companies such as Networking Solutions can also be beneficial – such companies can monitor your network for attacks and carry out penetration tests to help you strengthen your defenses. Keeping software updated can also help.

Insider leaks

Sensitive data can also be accessed and leaked out to thieves via insiders (i.e. your employees). This is one of the hardest forms of a cyberattack to prevent – your employees may need to access sensitive data as part of their job, which means you can only trust that they won’t leak it.

It’s rare that employees go through the entire hiring process with the intention of accessing sensitive information (unless your company has access to a lot of money or top secret information, no-one is going to go to these lengths). Employees are more likely to leak information out of malice (usually as a result of frustration with the company) or by accident. By treating employees well and training them well, you may be able to prevent these leaks.   

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