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TOP 5 CYBERSECURITY THREATS TO SMES AND HOW TO STOP THEM

Large businesses are regularly exposed to cyber threats, and so are SMEs. It is a misconception that SMEs will not be the target of cyber attacks, but unfortunately, this is not true. As attackers increasingly automate attacks, it is easy for them to target hundreds, if not thousands, of SMEs at once. While SMEs typically have less stringent technology protections, less threat awareness, and less time and resources to focus on cybersecurity. This makes them easier targets for hackers than large organizations. SMEs are also believed to suffer the most from cyberattacks. For these reasons, SMEs need to be aware of threats and how to prevent them. This Tech Town article will cover the top 5 security threats businesses face and how organizations can protect themselves.

  1. Phishing

The biggest, most damaging, and most pervasive threat facing SMEs are phishing attacks. Phishing accounted for 90% of all attacks faced by organizations, they grew 65% year-over-year in 2021 and cost businesses more than $12 billion. Phishing attacks occur when an attacker pretends to be a trusted contact and entices users to click on a malicious link, download a malicious file, or give them access to information sensitive, account details, or credentials.

Phishing attacks have become much more sophisticated in recent years, with attackers becoming more and more convincing in pretending to be legitimate business contacts. There has also been an increase in Business Email Compromise, which involves bad actors using phishing codes to steal business email account passwords from senior executives, then use these accounts to fraudulently demand payments from employees.

Part of the reason phishing attacks are so dangerous is that they are so hard to resist. They use social engineering to target people in a business, rather than targeting technological weaknesses. However, there are technological measures to protect against phishing attacks.

There are powerful Email Security Gateways like Proofpoint Essentials or Mimecast that can prevent phishing emails from reaching employee inboxes. Cloud-based email security providers like IRONSCALES can also protect your business from phishing attacks. These solutions allow users to report phishing emails, then allow administrators to delete them from all user inboxes.

The final layer of security to protect email from phishing attacks is Security Awareness Training. These solutions allow your business to protect your employees by testing and training them to detect phishing attacks and report them.

  1. Malware

Malware is the second biggest threat facing SMEs. It covers a wide range of cyber threats such as trojans and viruses. Malware is a diverse term that refers to malicious code that hackers create to gain access to networks, steal data, or destroy data on computers. Malware often comes from malicious website downloads, spam emails, or from connecting to other infected machines or devices.

These attacks are especially damaging to SMEs because they can cripple devices, requiring costly repairs or replacements to remediate. They can also give attackers a backdoor to access data, which can put customers and employees at risk. SMEs often use people who use their own devices for work, as it saves time and money. However, this increases their chances of being attacked by malware, as personal devices are more likely to be at risk from malicious downloads.

Businesses can prevent malware attacks by instituting strong technology protections. Endpoint Protection solutions protect devices from malware downloads and provide administrators with a central console to manage devices and ensure security updates for all users. Web security is also important, it prevents users from accessing malicious websites and downloading malware.

  1. Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most common cyberattacks, it attacks thousands of businesses every year. These attacks are becoming more and more common, as they are one of the most lucrative forms of attack. Ransomware involves encrypting a company’s data so it can’t be used or accessed, then forcing the company to pay a ransom to unlock the data. This leaves businesses with a difficult choice – pay a ransom and potentially lose a large amount of money or cripple their services due to data loss.

SMEs are particularly at risk from these types of attacks. Reports show that 71% of ransomware attacks target SMEs, with an average ransom demand of $116,000. Attackers know that SMEs are more likely to pay the ransom, as their data is often not backed up and they need to be up and running as soon as possible. The healthcare sector is particularly hard hit by this type of attack, as locking down a patient’s medical records and appointment time can be so damaging to a business that there is no other choice. in addition to shutting down unless a ransom is paid.

To prevent these attacks, businesses need to have strong Endpoint Protection on all their devices. These will help prevent ransomware attacks so that data can be effectively encrypted. The SentinelOne endpoint protection solution even offers a “ransomware recovery” feature, allowing organizations to detect and mitigate ransomware attacks very quickly.

Businesses should also consider setting up an efficient cloud backup solution on-premises. These solutions back up company data securely in the cloud, helping to minimize data loss. There are different data backup methods available to organizations, so it’s important to research the method that works best for your organization.

The benefit of data backup and recovery is that in the event of a ransomware attack, IT teams can quickly restore their data without paying any ransom or losing productivity. This is an important step towards improving resilience in cyberspace.

  1. Weak Passwords

Another major threat that SMEs face is employees using weak or easily guessed passwords. SMEs use a variety of cloud-based services that require different accounts. These services can often contain sensitive data and financial information. Using passwords that are easy to guess or using the same password for multiple accounts can expose this data to a compromise. 

SMEs are often at risk from employees using weak passwords, due to an overall lack of awareness of the damage they can cause. On average 19% of business professionals use easy-to-guess passwords or share passwords across multiple accounts.

To ensure that your employees are using strong passwords, businesses should consider Enterprise Password Management technologies. These platforms help employees manage passwords for all of their accounts, recommending strong passwords that can’t be easily cracked. Businesses should also consider implementing Multi-Factor Authentication technologies. These technologies ensure that users not only need a password to gain access to a business account but include multiple verification steps, such as a passcode sent to a mobile device. These security controls help prevent attackers from accessing business accounts, even if they guess the right password.

  1. Insider

Threats The last major threat that SMEs face is the threat of insiders. An insider threat is a risk to an organization caused by the actions of an employee, former employee, business contractor or associate. These actors can access important company data, and they can create harmful effects through greed or malice, or simply through ignorance and carelessness. A 2017 report from Verizon found that 25% of data breaches were caused by insider threats.  

This is a growing problem that can put employees and customers at risk, or cause financial damage to the company. In SMEs, insider threats are on the rise as more employees have access to more accounts, holding more data. A study by the Ponemon Institute found that 62% of employees reported having access to accounts they probably didn’t need.

To block insider threats, SMEs need to ensure that they have a culture of security awareness in their organization. This will help prevent insider threats caused by ignorance and help employees detect early when an attacker has entered or is trying to compromise company data.

Conclusion

There is a wide range of threats that SMEs face at the moment. The best way for businesses to protect against these threats is to have a comprehensive set of security tools in place and use Security Awareness Training to ensure that users are aware of the threats. security threats and how to prevent them.

Tech Town hopes the information brought above will be useful for your business.

Tech Town is a technology company from Vietnam, with representative offices in the United States, Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands,… As a reputable technology partner, specializing in implementing software development projects Customization, website design, and application development with the application of the most modern technology techniques such as AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain… For more than 5 years of operation, Tech Town has become a prestigious IT outsourcing partner recognized by the industry. trusted by SMEs and enterprises in the fields of EdTech, FinTech, and E-commerce,… from many countries around the world such as the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, the UK, and other developing countries.

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