Everyday digital cyber threats to watch out for in 2021

Did you know that 43 percent of security threats are directed at small businesses? This is an alarming statistic, especially since almost half of small businesses don’t know how to protect their data and IT systems effectively. To help you safeguard your business, here’s a rundown of the most common cyber threats companies face and what you can do to defend your business. 

Phishing

The most common cyber threat? Phishing scams. With phishing, hackers pretend to be legitimate organizations to lure you into giving up passwords and other sensitive information. 85 percent of businesses have experienced a phishing attack at some point, and the problem’s only getting worse – especially since most phishing attacks occur via email. 

It’s crucial you learn how to spot these scams before they damage your business. 

  • Never click links in unexpected emails. 
  • Don’t open suspicious attachments.
  • Never download unauthorized programs onto a company device. 

Malware

Malware’s the broad term for a wide range of malicious programs, including:

  • Ransomware
  • Computer viruses 
  • Spyware
  • Worms
  • Trojans

These programs are all designed to damage your system, harvest information, and cause widespread disruption across your business. Protect your business by:

  • Keeping all antivirus and anti-malware software up to date
  • Using network monitoring tools  
  • Encrypting files you share over the internet or cloud 

Denial of service

With a denial-of-service (DoS) attack, hackers crash your network by flooding your network with traffic or bad requests. The problem? With systems down, you lose money, resources, and, potentially, customers. In fact, downtime can cost small businesses up to $50,000 an hour

It’s hard to spot these attacks, but slow networks, patchy performance, and website shutdowns are early warning signs.

While there’s no way to shield against all DoS attacks, reducing your exposure by using strong firewalls and network monitoring where possible is one viable strategy. 

Man in the middle

Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks occur when hackers intercept a two-way transaction, e.g., someone buying goods online. It’s most common across unsecured public WiFi networks, and it’s often how hackers install other malicious programs, like malware, on devices. 

Keep your business data on a private, encrypted network, and don’t use devices containing sensitive data on public networks. 

Password attacks

By stealing your password, hackers can access everything from sensitive emails to financial data. So make sure you never leave passwords lying around, and if you suspect you’ve been compromised, change your password immediately. 

Protect your business from this cyber threat by using multi-factor authentication where possible, and don’t opt for obvious passwords, either. Choose something challenging to guess, and make sure your employees do the same. 

Human error

Alarmingly, human error is responsible for around 95 percent of cyber attacks. Common errors include:

  • Losing devices
  • Opening suspicious links or attachments
  • Visiting unauthorized websites on company devices
  • Falling for phishing scams

Educate your employees, so they understand how to spot a cyber threat and what action to take. If you’re unsure where to begin, always consult with a managed services provider. 

The reality? It’s impossible to protect your business from every cyber threat. However, by devising a comprehensive cybersecurity plan and reviewing it regularly, you can safeguard your sensitive data from a large majority of intrusions. 

Ready to take a more proactive approach when it comes to protecting your business? You’ve come to the right people. Reach out to us and stay protected.