The landscape of cybersecurity has changed drastically over the past several years, both in terms of the type of attacks launched and who is behind them. Small businesses remain an attractive target for hackers in this new age of online crime, but there are certain measures that can be enacted to better protect your business from cybercriminals.
The Human Behind the Threats Has Changed
Gone are the days when a hacker always meant a computer mastermind with outstanding programming and network skills who formulated their own personal toolkit for spreading chaos. Now those same masterminds are still at work, but their toolkits are for sale and their knowledge is shared in peer-based communities. And those willing to pay a high price can obtain the necessary code, tools, and instructions to start launching cyberattacks. Those purchasing such toolkits can be anyone from a skilled online criminal to a disgruntled low-level employee out for revenge.
One of the simplest yet most devastating tools that even a low-level, minimally skilled hacker can use is the keylogger. This records all of your keystrokes — including the login information you use to access sensitive data, the password for online access to your company’s financial data, and sensitive correspondence.
Another common tool that can be found for sale is a RAT, or remote administration tool. When used properly, RATs make it easier to administer a network. In the wrong hands, however, they can be used to infect machines for stealing valuable private data, spying on users, obtaining information such as logins and passwords, and enabling webcams to record compromising media.
With just those two tools, consider the amount of information and data that could be stolen from your company and sold online to the highest bidder. Think about the aftermath of such a breach, including the loss of your customers’ confidence and the legal fees and settlements that will result.
Small Businesses Are In Danger
Your immediate response might be, “But I have a small business — hackers only target large corporations and big businesses.” That is a myth, however. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Report for 2019, 43% of data breaches occur with small businesses. Small businesses are a major target for hackers because of their easily compromised cybersecurity. They simply do not have the funds to invest in the online security that larger companies do.
Protecting Your Small Business
The threat against small businesses is serious enough that the FCC has developed cybersecurity guidelines for them. For example, the FCC encourages small businesses to train employees to understand why cybersecurity is important, not just that they need to have strong passwords and should protect sensitive data. In fact, having a cybersecurity policy in place with definite repercussions for failure to comply is an excellent line of defense against online attacks.
Another key element of a robust cybersecurity plan is to use the latest virus software and keep all software (including the operating system, browsers, and applications) up-to-date. Many people do not realize that the annoying patches and updates that seem to be downloading all the time enable your system to be better secured against weaknesses that hackers will exploit. For the best possible defense against cyberattacks, your company should take a layered approach to security. That means enacting measures such as encryption, endpoint security, identity management, and other security products.
A major target for hackers, amateur and professional alike, are WiFi networks. Your WiFi network should be secure, hidden, and encrypted. It is also imperative that every small business has a robust firewall in place. Firewalls go far in preventing cybercriminals from accessing your network and the data that it contains. And if you have employees that work remotely, make sure that their laptop and any other devices they use to connect to the company network have a firewall and security software in place.
It is also important to realize that laptops, desktops, and networks are not the only thing that hackers target: devices such as smartphones and tablets are an excellent target because they can usually access the company’s network and data without requiring the same level of authentication. Employees that use devices to access your company’s network must make sure those devices are password-protected, have appropriate security apps installed, and have their data encrypted. Otherwise, anytime they connect to a public network they are putting the company at risk.
The hackers behind modern cyberattacks are not always the skilled computer experts we saw in the past — many of them have purchased powerful hacking toolkits that grant them access to networks and systems to steal, disable, and create havoc. And large companies are not the only targets of such hackers: small businesses make ideal targets because their online security is not as robust as that of larger businesses with larger cybersecurity budgets and IT staff. However, taking an informed approach to cybersecurity will go far in protecting your business against the most common cyberattacks.
ITSG: the Answer to Your Security Needs
Whether your business is small or large, ITSG will help you secure your data and networks. We have the state-of-the-art tools needed to provide you with a robust, multi-layered security approach that includes not only your network but the devices that connect to it. We offer a variety of effective and affordable security solutions to meet your company’s needs. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you!