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I used to think I was insecure until I saw my password

How to protect your company from the inevitable cyber attack

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IT Cybersecurity incidents have a devastating impact on businesses and small home offices, with the average loss in 2021 costing over $330,000 per incident, according to London insurer Hiscox. You can not measure the loss of data or damage to your reputation. So professional service companies are a sweet target.

Cybersecurity experts recommend action. Any action is better than nothing and could reduce the impact of the most common incidents.

You may not want to dedicate time to the complexities of cybersecurity. However, the future of your business, your clients, and your profitability will depend on you doing so. 

This guide is for small business owners, even a simple business email. Take a little time so your business continues to grow and innovate, creating value for customers and shareholders.

Types of Cyber Security Threats

With so many types of attacks that hackers can carry out, business owners should note some of the key threats. Any of these methods can cause harm to your business.

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) 

These long-term targeted attacks steal, spy and disrupt. Intrusion into networks is usually quiet and slow. Once in, attackers may not even do anything for extended periods–waiting for a strategic moment.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) 

DDoS attacks disrupt the operations of a network or website by flooding it with requests and information. When the server can no longer cope with the flood, services will fail and shut down.

The ICO (UK data protection office) fined British Airways £280ml for leaking passenger details, including customer credit card details. In 2020, they paid less than £30 million, citing COVID-19 with their fleet grounded. 

Phishing

Phishing is a common cybersecurity threat that is easy and usually successful. Often the cardholder does not know that someone has hacked them. Phishing is sending fraudulent emails that resemble legitimate ones to entice recipients to send back or enter sensitive data. Phishing attacks capture;  

  • Usernames 
  • Passwords
  • Credit Card Details
  • Financial information
  • Bank Access details
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Ransomware 

Ransomware targets a wide range of victims. Victims may find their office hard drives encrypted with a note asking them to pay a ‘ransom’ for a decryption key. Users who don’t pay normally lose all their data. Many pay the ransom to discover the fix does not work, no honour amongst thieves.

World Rugby breached all the details of WC Tickets buyers for the last 20 years

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Cyber-securing your Business

Protecting networks against a cyber-crime attack requires basic security software. However, software alone isn't sufficient. Businesses need to change staff behaviours and procedures to beat cybercrime.  

Data flow for most businesses;

  • Confidential communications sent via email
  • Devices in and out of the office may transmit data wirelessly
  • Individual devices connected directly to the Internet
  • Remote workers logging in to company servers
  • Using messaging apps to communicate, including WhatsApp
  • No password culture

There are so many potential points of entry where hackers can gain access to any part of your business operations. 

Articles of Interest

Articles, links and connections from the BeSecureOnline site you might find interesting.    

What is a VPN - VPN Explained

Ransomware - To pay or not to pay - Ransomware

Cybersecurity Essentials for Business

Five things to use VPN for - VPN 5 things

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