Cyber attacks are an ongoing and ever-present threat for businesses in every industry. Organizations of all sizes and types are vulnerable to threats including ransomware, phishing, zero-day attacks and the installation of malware into what were thought to be secure networks. The sheer volume of cyber crimes grows every year and the risks seem to evolve as the fixes do the same at a similar lightning pace. Let’s explore the current state of cyber crimes, what the most common threats are and how your business can prepare for these in a proactive manner.
What’s The Word on Cyber Crimes?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) database of internet crimes, “Cybercrime statistics show that a minimum of 422 million individuals were impacted, with 800,944 complaints registered in 2022. Nearly 33 billion accounts will be breached in 2023 with the cost of these breaches predicted at $8 trillion.” If this number doesn’t have your jaw hitting the floor the number of ransomware and phishing attacks reported will. “Around 236.1 million ransomware attacks occurred globally in the first half of 2022. Additionally, 53.35 million U.S. citizens were affected by cybercrime in the first half of 2022.” (Source: FBI) The reported cases may seem high but the consequences of the attacks are what many IT experts are most concerned about. The FBI reports that many businesses are ill-prepared for a cyber attack making it no surprise that data breaches cost businesses an average of $4.35 million in 2022.
Cyber Attacks To Prep For
As the start of the year approaches and new security reports are published, we thought this was a perfect time to review the top cyber attacks that may find their way to your business’ doorstop. Let’s look at each and then discuss potential solutions that can help you deter and avoid such instances going forward.
It seems fitting to start with the most common cyber attack - phishing schemes. The FBI reports that these scams are the largest threat to businesses both large and small and across all industries. Phishing is a unique type of attack in that it could come in the form of a general scam targeted toward a general group, such as all PayPal users, or be a more targeted attack, such as an attack toward all C-suite level users. That’s why it’s important to understand the type of phishing attacks and how to potentially deter them from happening in the first place. Most businesses have probably heard of email phishing which has been used since the 1990s. This scheme alerts a user that an account has been left vulnerable and to log in using the link in the email. This link directs you to a malicious site where you enter your information and the hackers gain access to your sensitive information. Users must be hyper-vigilant today that any outside links could be a disaster waiting to happen.There are other forms of phishing including; spear fishing which targets a specific group or individual; whaling, which gets even more specific by targeting a certain type of individual such as leadership within organizations; smishing, which uses text messaging to bait a user into clicking on a malicious link; or vishing which uses voicemail to do the same.
Another cyber attack that many businesses are aware of but not completely ready to combat is ransomware. According to the FBI, “Ransomware is malware designed to deny a user or organization access to files on their computer. By encrypting these files and demanding a ransom payment for the decryption key, cyberattackers place organizations in a position where paying the ransom is the easiest and cheapest way to regain access to their files.”Often organizations are caught in a situation where they need to get their access back in order to avoid downtime and malicious access to sensitive information but are wary of paying for the access to hackers. The fear is that by paying the attackers the ransom they have no guarantee that access will be given back. This is where IT experts believe backup and disaster recovery plans come in handy.
A zero-day attack happens when the hackers are ahead of developers who have not yet discovered or created a patch for a security flaw in software. Since hackers discover this problem before the software can create a patch or fix for it, they named it zero-day.
Solutions To Consider
Businesses both large and small should plan for such attacks in the coming weeks and months and be prepared for any such possibility. To do so, there are several courses of action that organizations can take to put them ahead of the cyber attacks and ready for any eventuality.
Keep systems updated on all fixes and patches as they roll out.
Maintain a backup data plan and test it regularly.
Train team members on how to identify phishing scams and ransomware schemes.
Create and practice a response plan should an attack occur.
Create a best practices protocol for passwords and remote use for employees who travel or work from home.
Implement regular vulnerability assessments.
Is your business prepared for a cyber attack? Do you have a response plan, backup plan and disaster recovery plan prepared? If you can not answer yes to each of these, consider talking to our team at Spectra Networks about how to be ready for the next wave of cyber attacks that can be prevented or deterred and save your organization time, money and energy.