Small Business Tax Center
Small Business Ideas, Grants &
Plans to Start & Run a Business:

Small Business Grants
CyberSchmooz
Network in Cyberschmooz Community Ask Questions Questions and Answers Share Tips Small Business Ideas List Your Business Business Advice from Idea Cafe Experts Coffee Talk with Experts Starting A Business Business Plan Biz Planning | Sample Plans Small Business Ideas Idea Name Your Biz Name Plan Your Biz Plan Financing $ Starting a Business Do It! Running your Business Marketing Tips Promotional Merchandise Marketing Tips Marketing | Sales | Customers Human Resources HR | Employees | Contractors Legal Forms & Tax Information Legal | Biz Forms Managing a Business Managing | Operations
Financing Resources Financing Your Business E Commerce & Webhosting eCommerce Take Out Info Trade Publications FREE Trade Publications Business Books Biz Books Your Own Business Small Business News Small Biz News Gen X Biz Gen X Biz Work at Home Work @ Home Business Information The Fridge - Biz Info on Ice Destress Send Awards Send Awards & Greetings Yoga At Your Desk Yoga @ Your Desk Fun Guide Guide to Find FUN Online About Idea Cafe Press Idea Cafe has received Idea Cafe in the News Idea Cafe's Kudos Kudos for Idea Cafe Advertise on Idea Cafe Advertise on Idea Cafe Privacy Policy Privacy Policy Contact Idea Cafe Contact Idea Cafe Link to Idea Cafe Link to/from Idea Cafe Join Idea Cafe
Search Idea Cafe Site Directory Site Map Online directory to business resources Biz Web Guide



Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

color business bar

The 7 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats You Should Prepare For

 

These days, businesses are increasingly relying on technology to operate successfully. They collect consumer data and use it to understand their customer base. They manage complex and innumerable financial transactions over the web. And of course, they rely on several software applications and a standing internet connection to do business on a daily basis. 

All it takes is one smart cyberattack to knock many of these systems out of commission, steal your data, or make your customers vulnerable. And considering 43 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses, cyberattacks are something you need to take seriously. 

Most cyberthreats, however, aren’t overt brute force attacks. The truly dangerous (and common) threats are sneakier and hard to notice. 

 

The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats

These are some of the most common and noteworthy cybersecurity threats facing small business owners: 

  1. Phishing. Phishing is one of the most common attempts to gain access to your important systems. The idea is simple; a cybercriminal mimics or replicates a trustworthy source and requests sensitive data from the recipient. For example, they might send an employee an email claiming to be Microsoft and asking them to verify their password. If the employee obliges and hands over their password, it can immediately be used against them. Phishing can also occur when a cybercriminal replicates an online form. 

  2. Fake updates. An increasingly common attack is executed through the guise of a “fake update.” As you’re undoubtedly aware, most software programs encourage users to update on a regular basis, issuing patches, fixes, and new features. But if a cybercriminal can effectively mimic the developer of that software, they can issue an update of their own. Only instead of updating the software, they may sneakily install a piece of malware, or otherwise compromise the integrity of your systems. 

  3. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attacks are remote attacks designed to prevent people from accessing something on the web or on a server. Basically, every server or network has an upper threshold of the number of requests it can serve within a period of time; arbitrarily, let’s say a website server can only handle 1,000 requests at a time. A DDoS attack coordinates many devices to access the website over and over, bombarding it with 1,100 requests; now, the site is inaccessible to any normal user who tries to access it. DDoS attacks are sometimes executed out of spite, but are usually done to take the site hostage. 

  4. Malware. “Malware” is the generic name for a large number of different types of malicious software. This category includes spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms. Different malware types have different purposes, but none of them are good; for example, spyware has the potential to witness your actions on a computer, eventually stealing your passwords, and ransomware can render your machine inoperable until you pay a ransom to the hackers responsible for installing it. Most of the time, malware is installed when a user makes a mistake; they click a suspicious link, open an email attachment from an unknown sender, or plug in a mysterious flash drive they found on the ground. 

  5. Man in the middle (MitM) attacks. MitM attacks take advantage of a connection between two devices or systems, and “listen in” to the conversation. For example, they may get between your computer and a public Wi-Fi network, or try to steal data from a connection between two apps communicating through an API. 

  6. Opportunistic attacks. Many attacks are simply opportunistic, and don’t require any technical expertise or forethought. For example, if an employee leaves a password on a sticky note at their desk, someone passing by could notice it, log in with it, and wreak havoc on your systems in any way they choose.
     
  7. Insider threats. Similarly, don’t discount the possibility of an insider threat. If a malicious or rogue employee with ample access to your data decides, they may sell your data to a third party or damage your systems in some way. This is best mitigated with limited employee access. 

 

The Importance of Employee Training

Most of these cyberthreats have a few qualities in common. First, they’re preventable; if someone chose a stronger password or recognized a suspicious link before clicking it, the threat would cease to be. Second, they’re dependent on employee actions. Your employees are creating new passwords, browsing their email inboxes, and possibly using unsecured Wi-Fi networks. 

Accordingly, one of the best things you can do to improve your cybersecurity is better train your employees on cybersecurity best practices. Obviously, good antivirus software, secure third-party apps, and firewalls can help, but better trained and alert employees will dramatically increase your chances of preventing or mitigating the risks of a cyberthreat. 

Google      

Small Business Tax CenterIdea Cafe HomeSign UpBiz Grant CenterCyberSchmoozCoffee Talk with ExpertsPeople in Biz ProfilesStarting Your BizBiz PlanningRunning Your BizFREE Trade PublicationsMarketingFinancing Your BizHuman ResourcesLegal & Biz FormsManaging Your BizeCommerceYou and Your BizGen XWork@HomeThe FridgeDe-StressSend an AwardSend an eGreetingYoga @ Your DeskWeb GuideIdea Cafe in the NewsAbout Idea CafeAdvertise on Idea CafeContact UsPrivacy PolicySite MapSmall Biz News

Copyright 1995-2019, Idea Cafe Inc. Downloads are for personal use only, not for resale to others, and may not be reprinted in any form without written permission from Idea Cafe Inc.

DISCLAIMER: We hope whatever you find on this site is helpful, but be cautioned that it may not apply to your own situation, or be totally current at any given time. Idea Cafe Inc. and all of its current and past experts, sponsors, advertisers, agents, contractors and advisors disclaim all warranties with regard to anything found anywhere on this family of websites, quoted from, or sent from Idea Cafe. and its related sites, publications and companies. We also take no responsibility for comments published by others on these pages.

TRADEMARKS: The following are Registered Trademarks or Servicemarks of DevStart, Inc.: Idea Cafe®, Online Coffee Break®, The Small Business Gathering Place®, Take out Info®, Biz Bar & Grill®, Complaint-O-Meter®, A Fun Approach to Serious Business™, CyberSchmooz™, and BizCafe™.