Cyber-attacks on small businesses aren’t cheap. IBM reports insider threat-related incidents alone cost small businesses an average of $7.68 million — and they don’t have that kind of money laying around.
With that in mind, the first step in protecting your business from cyberattacks is understanding the types of attacks out there. Here are the five most common cyber-attacks that threaten small and midsize businesses:
Phishing is when attackers lure users into giving up sensitive data or installing malware on their systems. Phishing attacks are commonly made over email but can also happen over the phone and text messages. This is one of the most common forms of cyberattack, accounting for 36% of breaches in 2020 (up from 25% the previous year).
Malware is a malicious type of software that attackers use to damage an organization’s computer systems, networks, and data. The intent of malware is usually profit, such as through forced advertising, stealing information, spreading email spam, or extorting money. Attackers may also use it to gain access to your network without your knowledge or authorization.
Ransomware is a specific form of malware used to access a system or network and block the organization out. It’s typically only released when the victim pays a ransom. Specific ransomware attacks will steal confidential data (like patient data or customer credit card info) and hold it hostage until the sum is paid. This can be especially detrimental for companies in industries with stringent regulatory compliance.
To steal credentials, hackers will usually try one of two options: a phishing attempt or an attack that compromises a company’s database with sensitive information, such as social security numbers and username/password combos. Employees at mid-market companies may be particularly prone to having their credentials compromised because they’re likely to use the same password across different sites without proper training or a highly informed password policy.
Misconfigured security tools
This is more of a vulnerability that many small businesses find themselves susceptible to. It is inherently insecure if you have a security tool in place but it’s misconfigured. If a firewall is misconfigured, threat actors can get in and take control of a server, leading to a ransomware attack. Hackers are always on the lookout to exploit these types of weaknesses.
These are the most common types of attacks on small businesses, but this is not an exhaustive list. Hopefully, it will help you build up your cybersecurity plan and protect your small business.
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