Did you know that every 32 seconds, hackers attack someone online? Did you also know that most breaches go unnoticed for over 200 days in most companies? It might also interest you to know that the revenue pooled from cybercrime would qualify as the world’s 13th-highest GDP.
Cyber attacks are always costly to fix, with some attacks costing companies over $3 million. To make things worse, half of the American population doesn’t know what to do in the case of a security breach. Also, over 67 per cent have never checked to see if they were ever affected by a security breach.
For companies that understand the severity of cyber attacks, there is always a dedicated budget set aside for cybersecurity. According to reports, worldwide spending for companies that are aware of this global issue should hit $133.7 billion by 2022.
Online fraud significantly rose in 2018, with account takeovers and credit card scams topping the list. In 2019 alone, data breaches exposed over 9 billion records, with a majority of those breaches coming from hacking, malware, and phishing, respectively.
What’s more, experts predict that the number of passwords used by both machines and humans online will grow to about 300 billion, further placing more sensitive data at risk.
Popular Forms of Cyber Attacks
There are various forms of cyberattacks, and their ultimate goal is to either extort or steal sensitive information from their victims. Let’s have a look at these various forms.
1. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) and Denial-of-Service (DoS)
Unlike other forms of attack that steal sensitive information from their victims, a DoS attack is carried out to frustrate the victim or extort them for rewards or personal gains.
By flooding the central server of the victim with multiple fake data requests, a DoS attack can prevent the system from attending to genuine requests from real visitors. If you try accessing your favourite website, but you keep getting multiple errors, then take a closer observation. The website’s server might be suffering a DoS attack.
A DoS attack carried out through multiple systems is called a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS).
2. Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) Attack
MITM attacks enable the hacker to insert themselves into the victim’s system unnoticed. This allows them to eavesdrop or monitor conversations between the victim and a second party in such a way that they can steal, modify, or filter specific data as they see fit.
Two common entry points for MITM attacks are malware attacks and insecure public Wi-Fi networks.
3. Phishing Attack
Phishing involves sending out email communication in the form of attachments or links to fraudulent websites that are capable of installing malware into your system. They usually take place through emails, and the aim is to steal sensitive information from the victim.
4. Password Attack
Password attacks are the most common form of cyberattacks. Hackers can gain access to your password through guesswork or constant monitoring of your network server for unencrypted passwords, and also through password databases.
5. Malware Attack
This involves the use of dangerous software to gain access to the network of a victim. This software is designed to exploit vulnerabilities within the system of the target. Malicious links and email attachments are the most common source of malware attacks.
6. SQL (Structured Query Language) Injection Attack
SQL injection attacks allow a hacker to insert malicious codes into a server running SQL, forcing it to reveal customer-sensitive information that it normally would not reveal. An SQL injection is mostly common for servers running SQL.
Tips to Protect Your Business From These Cyber Attacks
Use these tips to protect your business from cyber attacks:
1. Install Firewalls, Both for Hardware and Software
Firewalls are needed to protect your whole network from malicious websites and attachments. They are designed to detect various forms of malicious software and traffic, thereby serving as a digital shield for both hardware and software.
In cases where your employees can connect to your company’s server through their PCs and mobile devices, ensure that they have firewalls installed on those connected devices as hackers can easily exploit any type of vulnerability. Also, do not forget to keep the firewalls updated.
2. Enable Data Encryption for Sensitive Data
According to research published in the International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications (IJACSA), data encryption is the most effective means you can use to protect a company’s database.
When your database is encrypted, any form of successful hack on your company will ensure that your hackers do not have access to customer and employee sensitive information contained in your database. Most cloud database providers offer data encryption services.
Still, when you are not using a cloud database, you can have all interconnected devices running on your server to install encryption software.
Aside from encrypting your data, you might also want to consider backing up your encrypted database in case of a successful attack. That way, you can recover all that was stolen without breaking a sweat. Also, remember to keep your encryption software updated.
3. Purchase a Cybersecurity Insurance
For many people, this might not be a feasible option to start with, but it is one of the most critical steps to take if you wish to protect your business from bankruptcy successfully.
Hackers are working tirelessly every day to devise new means of attack, but the reverse is not the case for companies, with only a few indicating interest in cybersecurity. For this reason, you must protect your business from possible cybersecurity loss by applying for a cybersecurity insurance plan that will help cover your losses in case of an attack.
4. Encourage a Security-Conscious Workplace and Train Your Employees
One of the most common causes of a data breach is employee error, and the most common cause of employee error is a lack of awareness about cybersecurity. Hence, it is essential in this age and time to provide basic training for your employees on cyber attacks and how to prevent them.
That way, you are not only securing your business but are also creating a security-conscious workplace where everyone is alert to malicious online activities.
5. Consult a Cybersecurity Expert to Perform a Regular Risk Assessment
Hiring a cybersecurity expert either on a full-time or contractual basis will be one of your best decisions in protecting your business from cyber-attacks.
Cybersecurity experts have the necessary skills to analyze, evaluate, and identify potential risks through various security factors already in place.
With the plethora of people taking cyber security courses online, it shouldn’t be a challenge to find a cybersecurity expert.
Conclusion: Cyberattacks and cybersecurity
Cyberattack is a never-ending situation, given the fact that new versions and upgrades of various software and hardware are uploaded every day on the internet.
Hackers are consistently testing these devices, looking for new ways and vulnerabilities to penetrate their victims. From phishing to malware attacks, hackers are utilizing advanced methods to exploit various businesses.
However, a good understanding of the various cyber threats that exist can go a long way to aid prevention methods.
Installing firewalls, encrypting sensitive data, buying cybersecurity insurance plans, and employing cybersecurity experts can go a long way in minimizing damages in the case of an attack.
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Andriana Moskovska is proud to call herself SmallBizGenius’s community manager. Her mission is simple: to connect small business owners with the best tools and resources to help them thrive. When she’s not working, Andriana likes to go for walks with her two pet dachshunds and binge-watch documentaries, usually not at the same time.