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Would you believe that only 16% of businesses are adequately prepared to deal with cyber threats? It’s a clear indicator that many IT pros and businesses are unaware of the threat actors that aim to attack the weakest aspect of any business’s data protection plan – their employees, or in other words, their “human firewall.”

Given that hackers generally target the weakest links in any security system, that's setting businesses across a wide range of industries up for failure. That is because while firmware not currently the attack vector preferred by most hackers around the world, there's nothing preventing them from shifting gears any time they want to.

All that to say, if you're not currently paying much attention to firmware threats, you should probably start. If you don't, you're leaving yourself wide open to attack and unnecessarily vulnerable.

Cybersecurity attacks to look out for

One of the best ways to prepare for an attack is to understand the different methods hackers generally use to gain access to that information. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of potential threats, since cybercrime is a constantly evolving phenomenon, business owners should at least be aware of the following types of attacks.

  • APT: long-term targeted attacks in which hackers break into a network in multiple phases to avoid detection. Once an attacker gains access to the target network, they work to remain undetected while establishing their foothold on the system. If a data breach is detected and repaired, the attackers have already secured other routes into the system so they can continue to plunder data.
  • DDoS: attacks occur when a server is intentionally overloaded with requests until it shuts down the target's website or network system.
  • Inside attack: This is when someone with administrative privileges, purposely misuses credentials to gain access to confidential company information. Former employees, in particular, present a threat if they left the company on bad terms.
  • Malware: programs introduced to the target's computer with the intent to cause damage or gain unauthorized access (ie. viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, spyware).
  • Man in the middle (MitM) attack: Hackers use this method of intrusion by installing malware that interrupts the flow of information to steal important data.
  • Password attack: There are three main types of password attacks: a brute-force attack, a dictionary attack, and keylogging.
  • Phishing: Perhaps the most commonly deployed form of cybertheft, phishing attacks involve collecting sensitive information through a legitimate-looking (but ultimately fraudulent) website, often sent to unsuspecting individuals via email. Spear phishing requires in-depth knowledge of specific individuals and social engineering to gain their trust and infiltrate the network.
  • Ransomware: infects your machine with malware and, as the name suggests, demands a ransom.
  • SQL injection attack: through a successful SQL injection attack on your servers, sensitive information can let bad actors access and modify important databases, download files, and even manipulate devices on the network.
  • Zero-day attack: Unknown flaws and exploits in software and systems discovered by attackers before the developers and security staff become aware of any threats. These exploits can go undiscovered for months, or even years until they're discovered and repaired.

Just as more companies continue to grow their businesses online, so, too, will the need for robust cybersecurity measures. For businesses looking to ensure that their networks have at least a fighting chance against many attacks, that generally means installing any number of basic types of security software available on the market, each with varying levels of efficacy.

Cybersecurity Best Practices

In addition to implementing some sort of software-based solution, small businesses should adopt certain technological best practices and policies to shore up vulnerabilities.

  1. Keep your software up to date. Hackers are constantly scanning for security vulnerabilities, Cobb said, and if you let these weaknesses go for too long, you're greatly increasing your chances of being targeted.
  2. Educate your employees. Teach your employees about the different ways cybercriminals can infiltrate your systems. Advise them on how to recognize signs of a breach and educate them on how to stay safe while using the company's network.
  3. Implement formal security policies. Putting in place and enforcing security policies is essential to locking down your system. Protecting the network should be on everyone's mind since everyone who uses it can be a potential endpoint for attackers. Regularly hold meetings and seminars on the best cybersecurity practices, such as using strong passwords, identifying and reporting suspicious emails, activating two-factor authentication, and clicking links or downloading attachments.
  4. Practice your incident response plan. Despite your best efforts, there may come a time when your company falls prey to a cyberattack. If that day comes, it's important that your staff can handle the fallout that comes from it. By drawing up a response plan, attacks can be quickly identified and quelled before doing too much damage.

SpartanTec, Inc.
800 25th Ave S #4320
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
(843) 418-4792
https://www.spartantec.com/

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