How to Protect Small Business from Cyber Attacks - Checks & Controls

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Monday, June 22, 2020

How to Protect Small Business from Cyber Attacks

Hello Friends,
In today's article we will learn about types of cyber attacks and how to protect business from cyber attacks.


What is a cyber-attack?

In simple words - A cyber-attack is an unauthorized attempt to expose, destroy or access your data.
cyber attack

Now more than ever, small players can’t afford to have their core operations disrupted. Investing in cyber-security infrastructure now can mean big savings down the line, but you have to know what you’re up against first. 
Understanding the kinds of cyber threats out there is the first step to protecting yourself — and your company — against them.
SIX MOST COMMON TYPE CYBER ATTACKS
1. Ransomware 
Ransomware, or software that publishes private data or otherwise harms your business unless a cash reward is given, has quickly become one of the biggest threats to small and medium businesses. According to IBEX, an IT training firm and Verizon’s NDR platform partner, ransomware now accounts for more than a quarter of all malware-related breaches. 
Many business owners will be tempted to simply pay a ransom for things to return to normal, but any business that's breached once can be breached again. While antivirus software is necessary to prevent the most sophisticated attacks, simply keeping your operating system up-to-date can go a long way toward preventing low-level ransomware incidents.
ransomware


2. Phishing
When Microsoft’s security team warns that a “massive” phishing scheme is currently threatening operations across the country, you should probably pay attention. Phishing is any attempt to gain sensitive information by posing as another user or administrator, and it’s rampant in today’s digital economy. The only way to safeguard against phishing is to totally secure any and all internal communications within your company. Email encryption, vigilant user management and regular channel management are all absolute musts.
3. Inside Jobs
Some of the business world’s most notable hacking scandals, from Sony to Ashley Madison, weren’t caused by sophisticated outside agents; they came from within. As much as you may trust your team, it takes just a single frustrated employee to expose catastrophic amounts of your company’s data.
Unlike the other entries on this list, the solution to internal cybersecurity is more about pastoral care than digital. Openly communicate with your workers about the sensitivity of the data they have access to, and always be open to listening to the difficulties your team may be going through. You’ll never be able to have complete control of your employees, but you can always give them a way to make their voices heard.

4. Denial-of-Service
Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks refers to users  directing extremely high amounts of traffic and server requests at your business’s website, grinding its functions to a halt in the process. Many Cyber protection firm reports that the majority of DoS attacks are of small magnitude meaning they're meant specifically to disrupt small business activity.
Boosting server capacity and at-hand computing power can help mitigate the effects of DoS attacks, but the only way to prevent them outright is by  investing in digital services that stop them in their tracks.
5. SQL Injection
Few technical journals reports that 26 percent of all small  and medium businesses have suffered from a SQL injection attack in the last year, yet it’s likely the least talked-about threat on this list. SQL injection is slightly more sophisticated than some of the other entries here, but it essentially means inserting code from the database-focused language SQL into a site, manipulating data retrieval in the process. 
Older languages, such as PHP, are particularly susceptible to SQL injection attacks, as are sites and applications that don’t receive regular updates. Preventing SQL injection is something you’ll want to leave to the experts, but keeping things as up-to-date as possible never hurts.
6. Email-Based Attacks
Several of the cyber threats on this list can originate from emails — 91 percent of cyber-crimes do — so it’s crucial to keep your email platform completely locked down. Email-based attacks aren’t a specific type so much as they’re a method of attacking.
Email encryption is an absolute must, but the need for security doesn’t just stop there. Ensure that all of your employees know not to open attachments from emails outside your organization, and be careful to check for email addresses written similarly to ones within your own company

How to Protect Small Business from Cyber Attacks
The threat to business cyber-security is nearly ubiquitous today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Investing in digital protection now is an investment for the future — an investment you can’t afford not to make. There are 7 fundamentals which small and medium business should follow to protect itself from Cyber Attacks.

1. Get educated

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), held every October, raises awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. The NCSAM toolkit offers tips and resources to protect against cybersecurity threats.

2. Create a cybersecurity plan

Your cybersecurity plan should include an employee training program and an incident response plan. The first step to securing your network is to make sure your employees understand security policies and procedures.
Training shouldn’t be a one-and-done deal; schedule yearly or semi-yearly refresher courses to keep security top of mind. Help your employees understand the importance of updating their software, adopting security best practices and knowing what to do if they identify a possible security breach.
The faster you act in the face of a cyberattack, the better you’ll be able to mitigate the damage.
An incident response plan will have crucial information such as:
·         Whom to contact.
·         Where data and data backups are stored.
·         When to contact law enforcement or the public about a breach.
The Federal Communications Commission offers a cyber-planner to help small-business owners create a plan to protect their business

3. Be smart about passwords

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) advises government agencies on password best practices. According to the organization’s Digital Identity Guidelines, NIST recommends passwords be at least eight characters long and notes that length is more beneficial than complexity. Allow your employees to create long, unique passwords that are easy for them to remember.
If you deal with highly sensitive data, you may want to require multifactor authentication, which requires users to present at least two identifying factors, like a password and a code, before gaining access to systems or programs. Think of it like an ATM, which requires a combination of a bank card and a PIN to access funds.

4. Increase your email security

Nearly half of all malicious email attachments come from office files, according to Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Threat Report.
Basic email safety precautions, like not opening suspicious attachments or links, are a first step that can be covered in your employee training plan. If you deal with clients’ personal data, you can also encrypt documents so both the sender and the recipient need a passcode to open it.

5. Use a firewall and antivirus software

A firewall acts as a digital shield, preventing malicious software or traffic from reaching your network. There are many kinds of firewalls, but they fall into two broad categories: hardware or software.
Some firewalls also have virus-scanning capabilities. If yours doesn’t, be sure to also install antivirus software that scans your computer to identify and remove any malware that has made it through your firewall. It can help you control a data breach more efficiently by alerting you to an issue, instead of your having to search for the problem after something goes wrong.

6. Secure your Wi-Fi network

Wi-Fi equipment is not secure when you first buy it. Your device comes with a default password, but make sure your network is encrypted with your own, unique password. Your router will likely allow you to choose from multiple kinds of passwords; one of the most secure is a Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) code.
wifi security

You’ll also want to hide your network, meaning the router does not broadcast the network name. If customers or clients will need access to Wi-Fi, you can set up a “guest” account that has a different password and security measures, which prevents them from having access to your main network.

7. Protect your payment processors

It’s crucial to work with your bank or payment processor to ensure that you’ve installed any and all software updates. The more complex your payment system, the harder it will be to secure, but the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCIDSS) offers a guide to help you identify the system you use and how to protect it.

Security is a moving target and your business depend on it. So it’s essential that each and every employee make cyber security a top priority. Most importantly, that you stay on top of the latest trends for attacks and newest prevention technology.




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