Prevent These 5 Common Cybersecurity Threats from Impacting Your Business

Advice From The Experts

Photo of Rick Ball

By Rick Ball, Security Expert

When more people work from home, your business’ risk of a data breach grows. It’s easy to make mistakes. Even the SolarWinds hack, the largest in history, was likely due to a weak password. Cybercriminals are regularly introducing new viruses, scams, and attacks designed to gain access to your valuable information. Cyberattacks can target anyone, but small businesses are popular targets due to their lack of IT resources and training.

A data breach can harm your business, brand, and customers. To fight back, you need a proactive strategy that mitigates security vulnerabilities. If you don’t, you will end up paying for it in the long run. According to a 2020 report conducted by IBM, the average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million, and it took an average of 280 days to identify and contain the breach.

Here, our IT experts discuss some of the most common cybersecurity issues businesses are facing this year, and how you can help bolster your security with advanced IT security services and cloud computing solutions. 

Be Aware of The Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats in 2021

While many data breaches are sophisticated, others rely on user error and are remarkably simple. Here are five of the most common cybersecurity threats that you and your employees face.

1. Phishing

Phishing is a common hacking tactic that dates back decades. It involves sending emails or text messages that appear to be from a trusted company or individual requesting personal information, including passwords, usernames, and credit card numbers. By utilizing these types of social engineering attacks, the emails may look authentic and legitimate at first glance, but they’re not.

Hackers use the information you provide to gain access to email accounts, banking information, customer records, and more. In order to further gain your trust, messages frequently say something like “suspicious activity has been spotted” or “there is a problem with your account.”  

2. Social Media Credential Harvesting

Credential harvesting is a type of phishing attack goal where the goal is to use one account to gain access to other connected files and accounts. People are frequently creatures of habit and will use the same or similar passwords for different accounts. That’s one reason why hackers often target social media accounts, like Facebook, to gain access to personal data in other locations.

At the consumer level, for example, you may think you’re using a legitimate online vacation rental account that is asking to connect via Facebook. Once there, though, the hacker may be able to hijack your personal data, including email accounts, social security numbers, financial information, and more.

At the business level, you may be connected to online accounts that handle advertising like Google Ads or customer-related information that need to be protected.  

3. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that uses encryption software to lock down your network. Once locked down, the only way to restore access to your business’ databases and file services is to pay a ransom. Many businesses don’t have the ability to restore their data quickly and effectively, so they pay up.

However, even if you pay the requested ransom, there is no guarantee that a hacker will provide an encryption key regardless of payment. For this and many other reasons, ransomware attacks are costly challenges for organizations of any size.

4. RAT Malware

Remote access trojan (RAT) malware attacks attempt to monitor or even take control of your computer or network without your knowledge. While tech support teams often use remote access to provide legitimate IT support to employees, RAT malware is specifically used for spying and hijacking purposes.

By using keystroke logging that records everything you type, for example, hackers can gain access to credentials and can follow transactions, file changes, private conversations, and other sensitive information, or even infect your network with a virus.

Related: What Does the SolarWinds Hack Mean For Your Business?

5. Credential Stuffing

Hackers try to use credential stuffing to breach a network or system by taking advantage of a list of stolen usernames and passwords. Since many people will recycle the same usernames and passwords across multiple platforms, hackers will frequently employ bots to quickly automate fake login credentials and attempt to circumvent security procedures that ban multiple failed login attempts from the same IP address.

 

Protect Your Business’ Data With “Zero Trust,” Multilayered Security

While hackers are getting smarter and their attacks are becoming harder to detect, there are steps you can take to prevent yourself, your business, and your customers. One of the best methods to protect your sensitive data is to adopt the “zero trust” model of IT security, which takes the approach that all access is denied by default.

These systems are continually authenticating, authorizing, and validating their users. This security measure requires email and login attempts to be constantly scrutinized. Even a one-time validation code would be rejected in this model since a network or computer can be compromised at any moment. Since hackers are learning to hide their activity through entities or vendors that you might inherently trust, the zero trust model is only going to become more prevalent in coming years.

A multilayered approach to cybersecurity is also recommended. This includes using a strategy that combines:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Multiple data backups available both onsite and offsite
  • Whitelisting geographical areas within the cloud
  • Implementing secure VPNs for remote access

A multilayered approach also allows you to evaluate cybersecurity at the granular level for your business needs to mitigate cyberattacks and hacks from taking place. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices will continue to help slow the spread of cybersecurity risks through continual monitoring and updating.   

The old way of cybersecurity was to establish firewalls before and after an attack, but that required consistent updates that were inefficient, expensive, and not always effective. The new way is to use an end point detection system that can immediately terminate any network activity that isn’t normal until it can be evaluated and fixed.  

That’s where an experienced IT company can step in to help improve information security for your business.


Verdant TCS Can Help Strengthen Your Security Efforts

We founded Verdant TCS to help you plan, implement, monitor, and support the right proactive multi-layered cybersecurity strategy for your business. Our experienced team of cybersecurity experts can work with you to find an efficient and intelligent IT solution that can reduce your costs and help your business plan for the future.

For information on how Verdant TCS can help prevent cybercrime and security breaches from affecting your business, please call 616-210-1760 or fill out this short form.

References

IBM. (2020, July). Cost of a Data Breach Report. Retrieved from https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach