For SMBs, cyber security threats can feel like something out of a horror movie. You know, the kind where one minute you’re minding your own business and the next minute you’re surrounded by ghastly phishing scams, malicious malware, and menacing ransomware — flying right under your radar under the guise of attractive, sophisticated social engineering tactics. However, the right precautions in place, SMBs can protect themselves from these cyber security nightmares. This blog post discusses the most common small business network security threats and how to avoid them.
Common Network Security Threats for SMBs
Here are some of the most common cybersecurity threats every small business needs to avoid.
It all starts with understanding what types of network security threats are most common for small businesses. Phishing scams are one of the top menaces to watch out for — if an employee receives an email from an unknown sender containing suspicious links or attachments — be forewarned. Without the proper training, they will fall prey to these hyper tailored scams, particularly now that hackers and other cybercriminals have A.I at their fingertips to do their ‘dirty work’ for them.
In fact, hyper tailored attacks on high net worth individuals are on the rise. “We’ve seeing an increase in the number of successful attacks on unprepared small businesses due to the level of sophistication and subtly in their approach. These email campaigns easily pass as actual real emails, even to seasoned professionals,” says Tom Kirkham, CEO of Kirkham Irontech. “Spearfishing is more common than ever and network security can be compromised within minutes with the right access codes being exposed,” adds Tom.
Protecting Your Small Business from Malware Threats
Malware is common security threat, in the form of malicious software that disrupts business operations by taking control of a computer’s resources and even stealing sensitive data. By some estimates, over 24 billion credentials had been stolen by late 2022 via malware deployed by cybercriminals. Many of these programs are openly shared on the deep web, where hackers create ever-increasingly complex bots that harvest credentials and scrape critical enterprise information — much readily publicly posted on their own websites — ripe for the taking. “The real threat at hand is the lack of awareness around privacy and cybersecurity best practices,” says Tom. Today, even more dangerous malware created with generative AI is becoming popular called polymorphic malware.
And finally, ransomware rounds up this list of the most common small business network security threats. “Ransomware is an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption. These resources are designed to help individuals and organizations prevent attacks that can severely impact business processes and leave organizations without the data they need to operate and deliver mission-critical services,” according to CISA. This type of malware encrypts an organization’s files and holds them hostage until certain conditions are met — requiring payment from the victim to access their own data once again.
Ignoring These Network Security Threats Will Cost Your Small Business
Safe to say that these cyber security threats should be taken seriously by all SMB owners. After all, prevention is always better than finding a cure when it’s already too late. So don’t wait until you face any of these nightmares — take action today. Investing in solutions like firewalls, malware protection, and reliable backups are all steps in the right direction, but they simply aren’t enough. In order to lay the foundation for a cyber secure company and mitigate there risk of catastrophic cyberthreats longterm, you’re going to need to educate every single employee on the floor about the risks involved, and how subtly and swiftly threats can waltz right into your company undetected.
There’s no time for naps when it comes to protecting yourself against malicious actors trying to break into your precious networks. Stay alert and stay secure. The bottom line is that SMBs need to take proactive measures to protect themselves against these most common network security threats at all times. Investing in tools like firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems (IDS) are a step in the right direction, but your first line of defense against hackers is raising employee awareness. Education is the most crucial component to establishing best practices within your company, along with working hand-in-hand with an expert to flesh out a cybersecurity policy that responds to the specific threats to your business and its unique security gaps. Use this information to avoid some of these common small business network security threats. If you need additional protection, consider a professional service like our managed cybersecurity services.