As technology advances, businesses are discovering ways to be more agile and operate more efficiently via remote networks, emails via handheld gadgets, the cloud, and cell phones. However, as technology improves and cybercrime increases, so does the risk, with the so-called “bad actors” coming up with new ways to strike while increasing their attacks in speed and intensity.
For companies, the repercussions are expensive, not just in millions of dollars in direct losses as well as costly indirect costs following a breach, all while affecting the reputation of companies and possibly exposing their client’s and employees’ private information and data.
Top 5 Cybersecurity Risks for Business
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Cybercrime is showing no sign of slowing down, and threats are becoming more sophisticated. There are five areas where businesses are particularly vulnerable and some suggestions for how they can safeguard themselves.
#1. Business Email Compromise
Also known as BEC or BEC, the term usually refers to a fraudulent scheme involving unauthorized access to an email address to steal funds.
The FBI estimates that in the year last, BECs alone accounted for $2.1 billion of losses and undoubtedly a low number as it only comprises cases reported to the agency.
Apart from direct losses resulting from fraudulent funds transfers, the indirect costs associated with BECs could be incurred through forensic investigations and technical remediation, fall-out litigation, and compliance with regulations.
Additionally, these hacks could cause severe damage to a company’s reputation if the law requires notification of clients or if malicious actors make their access public.
In the wake of the government’s focus on more prominent cybercrimes, criminals will continue to use BECs. They may, for instance, use “deep-fake” techniques to continue their frauds.
Recommendation: Ensure that you and your employees know the warning indicators to look out for in the BEC scheme, and ensure that safeguards are in place whenever funds are transferred.
Also, ensure all employees utilize the multifactor authentication system and that IT professionals regularly audit the software and email rules.
Read: How Small Businesses became more Vulnerable to Cyberattacks after COVID-19
#2. Ransomware and RaaS
Ransomware is malware installed in secret on a victim’s PC and locks it until the ransom is paid. These malware attacks could shut down entire networks, preventing companies from running their business. As with BECs, they are very costly, and there is little evidence to suggest they’ll significantly slow down in 2023.
The reason behind this is the growing popularity of “ransomware as a service” (RaaS), which allows those with no technical expertise to carry out attacks with the lease or purchase of ransomware that is ready to use.
To make matters even more complicated, the attacks are usually combined with extortion demands, for example, releasing sensitive information from a company to force users to pay ransoms faster.
Recommendation: Create and implement a security plan for your data that requires you to consider where your data is kept and who can access that data, what risks include, and what you should prepare for in the case of a cyber-attack.
You should ensure that you have physical backups offline of your data. Also, establish an enterprise-wide multifactor authentication.
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#3. Data Exfiltration
Information Exfiltration Attacks are precisely what they sound like: loss of crucial business information from the company’s network. This includes trade secrets, intellectual property, client data, and employees’ personal data.
This is accomplished through phishing emails or stolen login credentials or exploiting security flaws in software; hackers use their access that is not authorized to access valuable corporate data to either sell it or extort money.
The financial sector, the legal professions manufacturing IT services, consulting companies, and engineering firms have all been targeted.
Unfortunately, the most targeted are local and state-owned organizations, like healthcare schools, providers, and government agencies.
Recommendation: As with all recommendations, the best method to protect yourself from such an attack is to train your employees about the most common attacks in addition to implementing regular patches of known weaknesses in software, encrypting the most sensitive data both while it’s in transit and when it’s transmitted and using multifactor authentication.
Read: 5 Reasons: Retail Stores more vulnerable than ever to Cybercrime
#4. Cloud Security Incidents/Security
Many businesses are turning to cloud-based technologies and services to streamline their operations, particularly in the wake of covid-19, pandemic. However, the growth rate has often overestimated measures to ensure the security of their cloud-based information.
The threat is omnipresent, mainly because companies fail to control the configuration of cloud services in conjunction with their data, leading to costly errors that could make criminals a lucrative target attack. There are also risks when cloud data is not encrypted, or its users aren’t authenticated.
Recommendation: One strategy to defend against cloud attacks is to implement the “zero-trust” model that requires all users to be authenticated and authorized before being granted access to cloud-based information and applications.
Also, ensure that your employees’ access to online resources is restricted to the specific purposes necessary to complete their work.
Read: 10 Best Online Cybersecurity Training Courses
#5. Mobile Malware
The increased use of cell phones to conduct business, for example, for authenticating remote access sessions or gaining access to sensitive information and data from businesses and data, has created an opportunity to strike.
Hackers can install what’s called spyware. It is a program that gathers information and data that the user of the phone inputs without their consent. The criminals can disguise the malware as legitimate applications or install malicious code within legitimate apps.
This issue which is especially challenging in the Android world could result in the installation of malicious software that takes banking details or makes up fake advertisements that generate profits for its owners.
Users must only download apps from trusted or known sources when using a cellphone. Don’t download an application that promises to pay or other prizes.
Like any security measure, preparation is paramount to safeguarding your company from cyber-attacks. It’s never an issue about “if” but “when.”
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