The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats and How to Prepare for Them

Cybersecurity experts report that online cybercrime created over $4 billion in damages for American markets in 2020. Companies submitted almost 800,000 complaints to the FBI, reporting their losses. By 2023, cybersecurity criminals will also hijack more than 30 billion confidential records and other secured data.

Companies today rely on systems that can protect confidential customer data. These business leaders need to know how to prepare for cyber threats to protect this data from loss or theft.

Check out this guide to discover more about cybersecurity threats and how to protect your company’s online security. With these safeguards in place, you can fend off countless attacks against your business. Be sure to protect the company you’ve worked so hard to build.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity means protecting your company’s online networks from cyber threats. This protection extends to your company’s desktop computers and any handheld device as well. These cybersecurity threats will try to unlock and damage your business’s sensitive information or historic files.

These cyber-attacks threaten employees, company owners, and clients every day. Sometimes these threats might try to demand payments. One attack on confidential data might completely stop all of your company’s operations.

Why is Cybersecurity so Important?

Cybersecurity can help a big or small company protect their individual data set assets. When these companies don’t work to regularly safeguard their assets, they’ll be subject to regulatory fines and penalties. Examples of these data sets include:

Availability

“Availability means whether companies can keep their services available to their clients when these clients need to have them. “Availability” also refers to either destroyed or lost data.

Reliability

Maintaining “reliable” data means keeping it accurate. You can see if your data is reliable if your customer responds to the data, in the same way, every time, they interact with it.

Confidentiality

“Confidentiality” means you have implemented efforts to restrict data access to only a few authorized employees. Only a certain number of employees should have this kind of access. These limits will guarantee that a customer’s sensitive information can’t be stolen.

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

A cybersecurity vandal is an expert at releasing a new internet security threat every day. There tend to be similar characteristics between each method out there that attacks a business’ network security. Some different types of cybersecurity threats include the following:

Phishing

Phishing is a type of cyber-attack when data is stolen from another online user. The data stolen might include a credit card number or other password login credentials.

A cybersecurity vandal masquerades itself as a trusted entity. They persuade the victim to open their emails or text messaging.

This messaging can often persuade a victim to open any attachments or click links that contain malicious code. Once a user opens a code or downloads a file, malware invades the victim’s computer.

Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attack

A Denial-of-Service attack (DoS) invades a network system so that they are unable to respond to a customer’s request. A DoS threat is different than those threats that try to get illegal access to private information. Its primary purpose is to keep a business from providing a basic service to its clients.

A DoS attack can also lead to other types of system damage. A DoS attack can shut down operating systems and take them offline. When a network is down, a hacker will then try and launch more cybersecurity attacks.

Ransomware

Ransomware will infect and restrict access to a network system. Access isn’t released unless a user pays a “ransom” amount or fee.

A user receives instructions on how they should pay off the ransom. They’ll receive a decryption code that will unlock their system. A ransomware fee can range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Threats

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks occur when hackers come between the communications of a server and a client. Some common forms of a MitM threat include the following:

Session Hijacking

In a session hijack, attackers hijack a session between a trusted client and their network server. The attacker’s computer substitutes its IP address for the client’s. This happens while their server continues the session, thinking it’s communicating with the client.

Watering Holes

Watering holes are legitimate websites seized by cyber vandals. They transform these legitimate sites into malicious sites. Original site owners don’t even know what’s happening.

When you click on their links or download their files you grant access to your system. Soon these attackers learn which websites you visit the most. Then they infect those sites with malware.

Drive-by Download

Drive-by downloads install a malicious virus on operating systems without permission. These attacks generally occur when no online security software is installed. Drive-by-downloads will also take place if there are companies that use any outdated operating systems.

A drive-by-download can penetrate a network’s security firewall. A drive-by-download can attack your system’s firewall with fragments of code that will usually go unseen.

A drive-by download can also connect itself to other systems. These viruses then introduce a code they need to access these other systems.

Cybersecurity Threat Prevention

If you’re ready to protect your company with a maximum level of security, try these cybersecurity prevention tips. They can help you make sure your company is prepared to meet these threats head-on.

Draft a Cybersecurity Policy

A cybersecurity policy is a written plan. This plan outlines the methods a company will use to protect its technology and information assets.

The policy advises employees on their responsibilities and obligations for protecting these assets. These policies can also outline employee and contractor levels of access.

A cybersecurity policy is also a preventative tool to help identify and head off threats before they do their mischief. Cybersecurity policies should always contain procedures for responding to security incidents. These policies should also contain preventive measures to keep them from ever happening.

Leverage Existing Cybersecurity Resources

Many organizations will provide cybersecurity resource information free of charge. For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers this Cybersecurity Planning Guide resource.

The Cybersecurity Planning Guide contains many templates, based on company size. Both large and small companies can use these templates to create the best cybersecurity plan for their company.

Many private and public organizations also share security resources that are free to use or adapt to your organization. These templates are especially helpful for small business cybersecurity planning. Smaller firms can’t always hire a trained cybersecurity analyst to protect the company from cyber threats.

The SANS Institute of Philadelphia provides resources for cybersecurity threat prevention. You can find cybersecurity policy tools and templates on their website here.

Train Your Teams on Cybersecurity Fundamentals

Build your team to be your front line of defense to fight off cybersecurity attacks that threaten your business today. Advise them on the role they play in safeguarding your operations.

Show them how they can protect your business’s sensitive data records. Use these educational opportunities to share more about the cybersecurity threats there are out there.

There are numerous training sources available. These resources can provide you samples of online communication practices or rules.

One example of these sources is the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS.) NICCS is a division in the Department of Homeland Security.

You should also coach your staff and other company members on your business cybersecurity policy. Outline how you need their help to protect sensitive customer data and other digital assets.

Teach them about their cybersecurity responsibilities. Make sure they understand the role they play in safeguarding records.

Limit Physical Access/Establish User Accounts

Each individual who can access your company data should have their own user account. A single employee should be responsible for system administration tasks. Lock and store company mobile devices or laptops when not in use.

Passwords and Other Authentications

Be sure every member of your team has their own individual, unique strong password. Change these passwords regularly, at least every two to three months.

You can also use multi-factor authentication systems. These types of systems require added log-in credentials as well as secure passwords.

Install Updated Software on all Devices and Networks

Install an updated version of security software in every online browser in your company. A current software version will help safeguard any data from malware or viruses.

Mobile Device Procedures

Be sure that anti-virus software is loaded on any of your company’s mobile devices, tablet, phone, or laptop. Anti-virus software can safeguard confidential data when you want to access it in public networks. Personal devices must also include individual password-protections as well.

Produce Backup Copies of Data

Establish a schedule for regular backups of data on all your company’s computers. Back up documents like spreadsheets, human resource files, and accounts receivable/payable records. Keep these backup copies either in the cloud or stored offsite.

What are Your Next Steps to Promote Your Company’s Cybersecurity?

Download the planning guide from the FCC. This guide can get you ready to start creating a cybersecurity policy. Make sure that your employee’s mobile devices and other equipment have updated versions of security software.

You can check out our website for more helpful information on some of the latest cybersecurity trends. Cybersecurity is a necessary reality for those companies that rely on a digital environment. Implement these steps today so your company won’t become a cyber-attack victim.

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