October is Cyber Security Awareness Month according to Days of the Year but whatever the time of year, hackers continue to disrupt and steal data from companies and earn millions by doing so and yet too many people and businesses remain under the illusion that it won’t happen to them.
Three-quarters of businesses (74%) and over half of all charities (53%) say that cyber security is a high priority for their organisation’s senior management, according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018.
To this end, constructaquote.com suggests businesses watch out for these five common types of cyber-attack as it becomes more and more clear that sole traders through to large corporations all need to protect themselves and their clients:
Malware can infect a computer through seemingly harmless web browsing so each time you view a website or a compromised message, your company is vulnerable to an attack.
Brute force attack
This kind of attack is used by hackers to crack encrypted data. The cyber-criminal attempts to identify passwords or PIN numbers largely through trial and error whereby automated software generates a large number of consecutive guesses as to the password needed to access your data – leaving you and your customers at severe risk.
This is the criminal’s attempt to steal sensitive information – account details or financial information from a specific person. These cyber criminals are smart and disguise themselves as trustworthy. They typically target someone through email or online messaging platforms.
Ransomware is one of the sixth biggest cyber threats according to MIT and both individuals and companies are at risk of ransomware attacks. Ransomware encrypts user data on all connected devices and databases – bringing all computer related activity to a halt. Hackers then usually demand a ransom from the victim leaving them with little choice than to pay to get their own data back.
Crypto jackers compromise millions of computers and can make a fortune doing so. This type of hacker targets people that invest/own crypto currency such as bitcoin and they do so by hacking your personal digital devices.
The number of global large-scale breaches have not only increased in recent years but the severity of the attacks has increased too, according to Varonis.
In 2017, ABTA, the travel trade organisation, suffered a cyber-attack that affected 43,000 people.
In 2016, 3 billion Yahoo accounts were hacked in one of the biggest breaches of all time. (Oath.com)
In 2016, Uber reported that hackers stole the information of over 57 million riders and drivers. (Uber)
In 2017, 412 million user accounts were stolen from Friend finder’s sites. (LeakedSource)
In 2017, 147.9 million consumers were affected by the Equifax Breach. (Equifax)
Some 100,000 groups in at least 150 countries and more than 400,000 machines were infected by the Wannacry virus in 2017, at a total cost of around $4 billion. (Malware Tech Blog)
In 2017, 5.4 billion attacks by the WannaCry virus were blocked. (Symantec)
There are around 24,000 malicious mobile apps blocked every day. (Symantec)
In 2017, the average number of breached records by country was 24,089. The nation with the most breaches annually was India with over 33k files; the US had 28.5k. (Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study)
With the cyber-world saturated with harmful viruses and hackers working hard to disrupt data, if your business relies on technology, it’s important to protect your customers or business details by taking the correct security measures. Here are some suggestion from IT Pro Portal.
How do I protect my business?
Identify the threats
Have a think about what the basic threats are to your business as hackers are always on the lookout for the opportunity to steal private information and your data. Identify and deal with potential threats to your business before they cause harm.
Employees are the key to your business so empower them through training on how to help keep crucial information safe. Keeping passwords in a safe place and away from unauthorized personnel and ensuring computer programs are up-to-date and secure is a good starting point.
Beware of cybercrimes
Always be wary of cybercriminals, work like you expect an attack. This will allow you to ensure that your corporation is covered at all times with the necessary strategies and plans. Always keep records of which information is attractive for criminals and which is not. In addition to this, develop multiple strategies with proper risk assessments on a regular basis to ensure effective solutions should the need arise.
Use two-factor authentication
You can minimize the risk of getting hacked by using a two-factor authentication for your company. Encourage all employees to use two-factor authentication as it increases security by adding an additional step for accessing accounts. In this particular system, you have to enter a password plus you have to enter a code which is sent to your smartphone, something that only you have access to. This double authentication allows you to protect your data and discourages hackers from attacking.
Bring in the experts
As your business starts to grow, you will need to reevaluate the security of your data in a bid to minimize potential risk. You may want to call in cyber consultants at this point who will be able to advise you on the best way forward when it comes to protecting your data and customer information.
Create a staff sign-off policy
In order to keep your company safe and secure from online threats, you need to develop and implement a strong sign-off policy for all employees. This sign-off policy should ensure that the employees return laptops and mobile devices before they leave the premises. In addition to this, the email address that you use must be encrypted so information doesn’t leak and data remains confidential.
Protect your data
Always protect the most sensitive information of your company. Data which is vulnerable and can be targeted by hackers should be protected first. Keep a check on how this crucial data storage is being accessed by staff and make sure that it cannot be accessed by anyone without authorization. Double check the procedures that you use to lock the data to ensure that it is safe and out of reach from intruders.
Insure your company against cybercrime
Cyber insurance cover will help protect your company against all the risks and threats that arise because of hackers and viruses. Moreover, by covering your company for cybercrime, you will also have an idea about the damages that you could potentially suffer and have an estimate of the level of the risk that your company is involved in.
Disclaimer: The advice provided here are our own interpretations and opinions. We have tried to simplify the main points of cyber-attacks to create this blog but for more in-depth information please refer to the UK government’s cybercrime information.