Small businesses are attractive targets because they have company’s sensitive data that cybercriminals want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses.
According to a recent SBA survey, 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyber-attack. One of the best ways to prepare for an attack is to understand the different methods hackers generally use to gain access to sensitive data.
Malware (malicious software) is an umbrella term that refers to software intentionally designed to cause damage or gain unauthorized access to a computer, server, client, or computer network. Malware can include viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware and spyware. Knowing this is important because it helps you determine the type of cybersecurity software you need.
A computer virus is a type of malicious software, or malware, that spreads between computers and causes damage to data and software. Computer viruses aim to disrupt systems, cause major operational issues, and result in data loss and leakage. A key thing to know about computer viruses is that they are designed to spread across systems and give cybercriminals access to it.
Ransomware is a specific type of malware that infects and restricts access to a computer until a ransom is paid. Ransomware is usually delivered through phishing emails and exploits unpatched vulnerabilities in software. It is one of the fastest-growing types of security breaches.
Phishing is a type of cyber-attack that uses email or a malicious website to infect your machine with malware or collect your sensitive information. Phishing emails appear as though they’ve been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often entice users to click on a link or open an attachment containing malicious code. After the code is run, your computer may become infected with malware.
MAN-IN-THE-MIDDLE (MITM) ATTACK
This attack is also known as eavesdropping attacks, it occurs when attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction. Once the attackers interrupt the traffic by installing malware, they can filter and steal data. The most common point of entry is unsecure Wi-Fi, attackers insert themselves between a visitor’s device and the network. The visitor unknowingly passes all information through the attacker.
Another big threat facing small businesses is employees using weak or easily guessed passwords. Many small businesses use multiple cloud-based services, that require different accounts. These services often can contain sensitive data and financial information. Using easily guessed passwords, or using the same passwords for multiple accounts, can cause this data to become compromised.
An inside attack occurs when someone with administrative privileges, usually from within the organization, purposely misuses their credentials to gain access to confidential company information. Former employees present a threat, particularly if they left the company on bad terms. Your business should have a protocol in place to revoke all access to company data immediately when an employee is terminated
If you follow the above best practices, you’re on your way to protecting your business from cyber attacks. To ensure that your business is not vulnerable, schedule a free consultation today!