Today’s post was provided by The Broadband Search. This is the conclusion of the article that was published Wednesday.
Where, When, and How
While your small business is a likely target, how do these attacks occur and what targets are used specifically? What are the more precise factors involved and what types of attacks might you expect? Once you know these facts, you can devote your time and energy to meet cyberattacks head-on:
- Mobile malware is a growing threat, and Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report for 2018 states that the number of new variants for malware increased by 54 percent over 2017. As smartphones become more advanced, their value to cyber-criminals increases, smartphones connected to business accounts especially so.
- Computer World notes that Windows is the most targeted OS and that 98 percent of mobile malware targets Android phones. We recommend you choose your business’ devices and prepare them with this in mind.
- Javelin Strategy and Research released a study that noted that there were 16.7 million victims of identity theft. While your business isn’t a direct target of identity theft, you should note that small businesses are often how identity thieves get their information.
- According to Symantec, in 2017 cyber-crime activity related to coin mining increased by over 34,000 percent, in an astonishing trend that seems likely to slow down due to the cooling off of the market but is still a major consideration. For the most part, cyber-criminals will be seeking to steal your computers’ processing power, effectively damaging the performance of your equipment.
- The Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report indicates that 92.4 percent of malware is delivered via email. To protect your business, email security and email security investigation is vital.
- According to Wipro, health care was the most targeted sector of all industries, with 40 percent of breaches. The trend is upwards, as cyber-criminals are further realizing the potential profits to be made from health records and similar files.
- Another factor to consider is dwell time, which is the time a cyber-criminal has access to your systems before being flushed out. In the Americas, the 2017 dwell times averaged 75.5 days according to FireEye. In this period, a cyber-criminal would easily be able to gain access to everything and start to notice patterns about your business, opening it up for future exploitation.
- FireEye also notes that businesses that were targeted successfully previously were often attacked again the next year. Cyber-criminals remember easy marks.
- Fileless attacks, which virus scanners and other types of protection aren’t as useful with, are becoming more prevalent. Ponemon estimated that fileless attacks would comprise about 35 percent of all attacks in 2018.
It should be noted that while these are the current trends, a change in the market or a breakthrough in either cybercrime or cybersecurity (and the two are heavily related on a research standpoint) can create a new set of targets, so keep up to date on these statistics.
The Human Element
Unless every employee is trained in proper cybersecurity practices, your entire business is at risk. Most cyber-crime doesn’t necessarily occur through hacking and computer work as shown in the movies. Consider most cyber-criminals one-part hacker and two-parts con artist, using social engineering and confidence tactics to get inside your company. Here are a few more statistics on the matter:
- According to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, insiders (whether malicious or neglectful) are responsible for about 25 percent of data breaches. This number is far too high when you should be able to trust employees to act in your business’ best interest. Be wary of disgruntled or soon to depart workers.
- The same report notes that weak or stolen passwords (nearly always a preventable occurrence) were responsible for over 80 percent of the hacking related breaches that took place.
- According to Wombat Security, 76 percent of businesses reported phishing attacks happening within the last year. These are the attacks most likely to involve your employees and human error, and they’re bound to happen to your business as some point.
- The 2018 PwC report notes that only 53 percent of businesses require employees to be trained on privacy policies.
- The 2017 SMB Ponemon survey reports that 60 percent of small businesses are finding that attacks are becoming more sophisticated. This means your employees will need to be able to match this and become aware of these advanced tactics.
The best way to train your employees will depend on their learning styles, the size of your business, and a variety of other factors. Simply make your main goal to make sure and don’t neglect new team members regarding this matter as they come in.
It’s possible you might be wondering how your business can possibly protect itself at this point, but you should know that there absolutely are options to protect yourself and strategies you can use to make sure your business thrives and doesn’t become another cybersecurity statistic.
You likely have a few of these steps in place already, but here are a few things you can do to start making your business safer online:
- First off, you’ll have to deal with the human error factor before anything else. If your employees can be conned, there is nothing else you can do and it’s only a matter of time until you’re dealing with a data breach. Create an action plan and train your employees until basic vigilance regarding cybersecurity is second nature.
- Make sure your websites, data centers, computers, smartphones, and other devices have the proper protections in place. Freeware isn’t the way to go here, and there are plenty of affordable options to protect your digital assets if you take the time to look for them.
- Secure WiFi networks and devices, and be wary of things such as bring your own device policies that can bring in malware or threats to your business under the radar. Effectively, minimize the potential for programs and files to get through your other defenses via human delivery (intentionally or unintentionally).
- The previously mentioned FireEye report notes that breaches discovered internally had a far less average dwell time than breaches first discovered externally. You need to be regularly scanning and monitoring your data, noticing any anomalies. A bit of preparation now can save your business a great deal of trouble in the long run.
- Don’t be complacent in your current measures. Even if you already have systems in place, you’re going to need to adapt them regularly. When was the last time you checked if your business’ antivirus solution was the best choice? Whether the scams you’re preparing for are actually used by cyber-criminals today?
The above strategies don’t cover everything you need to do to protect your small business. That would require not only an article all its own but for a book. To protect yourself, we cannot stress enough (and we will repeat this several times) the research and work required on either your or an IT professional’s part to keep your business safe. It’s an investment, but a necessary one.
We would also like to note that every business is unique and will have unique cybersecurity needs. As such, you won’t be able to give yourself a few blanket protections and call it a day. Instead, you will either need to combine your knowledge of how your business operates with detailed research or otherwise bring in a professional (and then listen to them).
These statistics can be alarming, but we would be more concerned if you didn’t find them alarming. The web is getting increasingly dangerous for the unaware and cyber-crime is getting more profitable over time. Remember that in most cases cyber-criminals will go after the weakest target or a weak point in your businesses. If you take the steps required to protect yourself and your business, you will be able to conduct business without fear.
We recommend creating an action plan or hiring a cybersecurity expert, depending on the size of your business. We also encourage you to educate yourself on further cybersecurity matters (any advice given here is the tip of the iceberg) and to keep up to date with developments as well. The cyber-criminal element never rests for long, and you will need to remain vigilant.
We hope that the above information allows you to better protect yourself through 2019 and beyond, and we encourage you to have discussions on the topic and share this with your friends and partners. If the people around you are safer online, you will be safer as well.Share