The end of the year is coming up quickly, and the time is right to make sure your small business is ready to protect itself from the world’s biggest cyberthreats.
Here’s a quick look at 3 major cyberthreats facing businesses today, along with some advice on how to keep your data safe, secure, and accessible in 2017 and beyond.
Ransomware computer viruses are more prominent, more sophisticated, and more troublesome than ever. Hospitals, consumers, and businesses of all sizes made headlines in 2016 because they fell victim to nasty ransomware viruses designed to encrypt digital files and render them useless until a hefty ransom is paid to get them back. About 4,000 ransomware infections occur every single day in the United States alone, according to the U.S Department of Justice.
The best way to avoid a devastating ransomware infection? Make sure employees use extreme caution when opening email attachments or clicking on links inside the bodies of emails. Any unsolicited email—or emails that look suspicious in any way—should be avoided altogether. It’s also important to keep business applications updated and to use firewall and antivirus software.
While those preventative measures are helpful and necessary, they are not foolproof. That’s why you need to make sure that all data gets properly backed up and is easily recoverable in the event of an attack. Consider a high-quality cloud backup solution—the only way to make sure your data will be safe and accessible no matter what happens.
Cybercriminals regularly use “phishing” emails—or phony emails purporting to be from friends, co-workers, or businesses. They want to spread malware or gain access to sensitive business information. And phishing attacks are on the rise, according to a recent report from Wombat Security Technologies, a firm that specializes in helping businesses steer clear of phishing emails.
Wombat surveyed its database of IT security professionals and found that 85% of organizations were victims of phishing scams in 2015, a 13% increase over 2014. And 60% of respondents believe that the number of phishing attacks is continuing to rise this year. Businesses can expect that trend to continue in 2017.
Wombat found that phishing emails disguised as legitimate work emails are by far the most effective when it comes to hooking victims. Some of the different types of phishing scams your employees need to watch out for include:
CEO phishing scams—often referred to as CEO fraud—are sent by criminals who pose as a senior person within your firm, such as the CEO or a senior vice president. They’re designed to trick victims into making a financial payment, sharing sensitive information, or clicking on a link that unleashes a computer virus.
Corporate email scams are designed to look like official corporate communications. Examples of these include benefits enrollment messages, invoices, and communications about confidential human resources documents.
These types of scams typically pose as error reports and bounced email notifications. A “Delivery Status Notification Failure” is a popular example, according to Wombat.
These are business-related emails that may not be specific to your organization. Some of the topics of these phishing emails include insurance notifications, shipping confirmations, and wire transfer requests.
Cybercrooks are always looking for ways to break into your company’s network—and they usually accomplish this by exploiting unpatched software security holes. They want to steal sensitive business information or personal information about employees so that they can commit identity theft.
And hackers are increasingly breaking into networks and manually launching ransomware attacks—a tactic that allows them to forego the process of tricking employees into opening malicious email attachments.
The key to fending off a hack attack? Make sure all your applications are regularly updated with the latest security patches. High-quality firewall and antivirus protection are also a must for the first line of defense. Be sure to have a backup system in place—in case you need to recover critical business data.
Here’s hoping your business has a safe, secure, and prosperous 2017!