A data breach can have disastrous results for any business. By 2025, the estimated damage from cybercriminal activity will cost $10.5 trillion globally (source). Given the striking statistics, Securus Communications urges companies of all sizes to prioritise data security.

Your organisation must invest in robust cybersecurity defence and supporting systems to mitigate these cyber-attacks. Today’s threat landscape constantly evolves, especially with the expansion of the remote workforce. You can be sure that cybercriminals are taking full advantage.

Threats such as phishing, ransomware, and malware attacks require your IT team to be vigilant and partner with an experienced security consultancy such as Securus to implement and enforce strict cybersecurity protocols. Such protocols should also involve providing cybersecurity training to employees along with constant monitoring of systems.

8 Cyber Attacks That Businesses Should Prepare For

Below are eight of the most common cyber-attacks that every business should anticipate and prepare for.

1. Ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malware that aims to encrypt your data. Hackers then extort a ransom to release your data by giving you an unlock code. Most ransomware finds its way in through links in malicious emails. 

Ransomware is the primary reason your business remains at constant risk of encryption-based malware corrupting your systems. Once that happens, you must choose to either pay the ransom or risk losing critical data. What’s worse, there’s the likelihood that you still will lose your data, even if you choose to pay the ransom. Most companies that fall victim to ransomware never recover their data fully.

The most effective way to guard against a ransomware attack is to ensure that your anti-virus software is up to date across your network, down to individual user devices, including those with limited security protection, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

In addition, firewalls protecting the perimeter of your network must have the latest cyber-threat signatures and security patches in place. We recommend using the most current Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) or Secure Web Gateway (SWG) security models.

It is also essential to have a backup strategy with stringent disaster recovery and business continuity plans already in place. Should ransomware make it past your security, having uncompromised backups will significantly increase your organisation’s chances of recovery.

Should your enterprise use a cloud-based disaster recovery backup solution, you can recover your data or at least a recent backup of it. It is worth pointing out that cloud backup solutions can also be compromised by ransomware. For that scenario, Securus can help you employ immutable air-gap backup technology to minimise your risk further.

Finally, having a reliable business continuity plan means you have set restoration processes ready to go, which will lessen the impact on your business workflows and productivity.

2. Phishing, Viruses, and Malware

Antivirus-Malware-Ransomware-Protection

Phishing attacks are usually fraudulent texts, emails, and websites that trick their victims into providing sensitive information like passwords, login credentials, and credit card information. Phishing emails can also deliver other malware and viruses that can upend your business operations altogether.

On average, at least 1 out of every 100 emails received contains a phishing attack. Alarmingly as many as 30% of phishing emails are opened by users, and 12% click a link. (source).

Without a doubt, the most impactful way to protect your systems against phishing attacks is to train your staff to recognise malicious emails and links. Limiting system access is also essential; ensuring only those who require full network access to back-end systems are a small number of trusted administrators is also highly recommended.

In addition to education and limited access, you should also ensure that you integrate the latest anti-phishing software to your email services to intercept fraudulent emails, links, and requests from cybercriminals. This is where we can help.

3. Hacking

Hacking is the process of a cybercriminal gaining access to your company’s IT systems. For the most part, hackers come from outside your network. Once a hacker infiltrates your network, they can steal data or other assets. Primarily, the intruder seeks to gain access to sensitive financial information or intellectual property. Cybercriminals use social engineering to trick employees into providing login credentials.

To protect your business from hackers, you need several layers of interdependent security, including next-generation firewalls, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) or Secure Web Gateway (SWG), to protect your network’s perimeter. Centrally managed anti-virus software that can safeguard individual user devices is also a requirement. 

Armed with these tools, IT administrators can define explicit corporate security protocols, implement security procedures for employee access, and train staff on your company’s security policies and threat awareness.

4. DDoS attacks

A Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attack is a cyber-attack that bombards your network with a deluge of invalid requests. This type of attack overwhelms the target system, temporarily disabling it from processing legitimate requests. DDoS attacks are designed as volume-based attacks, though they can also be protocol-based or application-layer attacks.

To counter volume-based attacks, your IT team can add sufficient bandwidth to withstand a sudden flood of requests. You can fortify that still further by blacklisting IP addresses in real-time as an attack evolves.

To prepare for and handle protocol-based and application-layer attacks, Securus Communications has the specialised knowledge to analyse your systems and recommend the best way to protect them.

Even with protection in place, a DDoS attack is still possible. Thus, you should have a robust disaster recovery or business continuity plan available to reduce the impact of a DDoS attack. Should one of your significant services or applications be attacked, your disaster recovery plan may include a backup server to come online and handle user requests through a different IP address or URL.

5. Inadequate Cloud Security

Perhaps one of the most challenging cybersecurity issues your organisation will face is cloud vulnerability. Businesses are taking advantage of cloud services, including storing sensitive data in the cloud. Cybercriminals are well aware of this and are targeting cloud services now more than ever.

83% of company workload will move to the cloud by 2022 (source), creating ripe new targets for hackers who know that cloud services often have more weak points than local services.

Data breaches occur through vulnerabilities created by poor cloud architecture design and weak Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). An enterprise also may fall prey to attacks like malicious insider threats, hijacking, and DDoS attacks.

The best defence against these attacks is a fortified cloud security strategy. We recommend technologies like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) in conjunction with Secure Web Gateway (SWG). Together, these platforms provide constant security monitoring of LAN, WAN and Cloud.

6. Insider Threats

Insider Threats

While insider threats are increasing, not all of them are deliberate. Employees are human, and they occasionally make mistakes and inadvertently leak critical data. Even an accidental leak can have serious consequences.

To mitigate the likelihood and severity of data leaks, educate staff on your company’s security requirements for handling proprietary and other sensitive data—proper training results in fewer human errors.

You can also restrict access to data services so users can only access what they need to do their jobs. Controlling and limiting the use of portable USB storage devices, memory keys, and portable hard drives is another of our recommendations. Enhancing endpoint security is another key area to focus on.

To complement these security measures, your company should also ensure that business processes include data protection at every point. For example, whenever an individual leaves your employ, they should immediately lose access to all systems and facilities.

7. Man-In-The-Middle (MitM)

A MitM attack occurs when the attacker intercepts communications between two parties. The hacker does this by secretly eavesdropping or modifying traffic between the two parties involved. They use MitM attacks to hijack login credentials, corrupt data, sabotage communications, or spy on the target to gain other useful information.

The best defence against MitM attacks is strong end-to-end application encryption such as HTTPS or using encrypted VPNs. Such steps make it difficult for hackers to reroute traffic to sniffers, phishing sites or another destination.

8.SQL Injection

Structured Query Language (SQL) SQL Injection attacks find their way through a SQL database like Oracle, MySQL, or SQL Server, among others. The hacker sends malicious SQL code to your server and forces it to yield sensitive information it usually would not. SQL Injections can also be used to add, modify, and delete database records. A cybercriminal can execute a SQL injection by submitting malicious code into an unsecured website search box, for example.

Because user input channels are the primary vector for SQL injection attacks, the best defence against them is to watch for attack patterns. One of the best ways to do this is to have a Web Application Firewall (WAF). The WAF operates in front of the web servers and monitors traffic. It identifies patterns that indicate potential threats.

Conclusion

During this age of globalisation and digital transformation, businesses have boundless growth opportunities. As your network expands, your security vulnerabilities increase, creating opportunities for cybercriminals.

These cybercriminals continually look for new methods and entry points from which they can infiltrate and steal sensitive data. Your business must keep one step ahead of emerging cybersecurity threats at all times. 

Securus Communications can help your business protect itself against ransomware, malware, insider threats, and other forms of cyber-attacks like MitM and SQL injection. We can even assist with training and educating your staff about security risks.

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