Top Cyber Threats for Businesses

It seems that every day we hear about a new hack on a major company that has caused millions of user’s data to be exposed or millions of euros to be stolen. Hacks and security breaches are becoming more prevalent across the globe and as we become more connected and leave more of our data with websites, apps and social media companies’ hackers will only become more ambitious. Now you don’t need to become a cyber security expert or a coder demon but it’s important to know basic principles for cyber security to protect your website and business. Remember you’re not just protecting your business you’re also protecting your customers. Here are some of the top cyber threats to be aware of:

 

Phishing

This is the most common threat for businesses and consumers and frequently makes its way onto the news. While we’ve all received emails that are obviously fakes (I’ve one the lottery three times according to my inbox), the threat is becoming greater. Scammers are using photoshop and editing software to create very convincing email templates that could be easily mistaken for a legitimate email from a bank or service provider. These emails normally request login or bank details because of some undisclosed issue or threat. This threat has become so great that even Google and Microsoft have had to issue warnings to users. No company or bank will as for financial or login details via email.

Malware

Malware is a collective name for malicious software including viruses and ransomware. The software usually comes onto a system through suspicious links either via email (such as from a Phishing attack) or from a suspicious website. Viruses can slowdown a system or delete work and cause huge delays or compromise user’s data. Ransomware is a malicious form of software that threatens to reveal or block user’s data unless a ransom is paid. Ensuring your antivirus is up to date and not opening suspicious links will help to reduce this threat.

Spyware

Spyware is another form of malware that is plaguing businesses and IT professionals. Like Malware, Spyware can enter a system from suspicious links and websites. Spyware aims to gather information about a person or organisation without their knowledge and to send that information on to hack another entity. Keeping your anti-virus up to date and running frequent scans while avoiding suspicious links and websites will reduce this threat.

Script Kiddies

Script Kiddies refers to a malicious agent who may pose a cyber threat.  In hacking and programming culture a Script Kiddie is an unskilled individual who uses existing code and programmes to hack systems and websites. A Script Kiddie is an unskilled individual who normally doesn’t have the skills to write their own original code. In terms of malicious actors Script Kiddies are on the low end of the spectrum, normally they just try hacking to test themselves or for fun as opposed to hacking a target for financial gain. While they’re less of a threat than a hacking collective they’re the most common type of hacker businesses have to worry about. Keeping your website safe with SSL Certification will make the task of hacking more difficult.

SQL Injection

This is the first hack every Script Kiddie has tried. This is a design flaw that, unfortunately, many websites possess. SQL is a programming language used for the majority of databases, any website that is connected to a database, such as an E-commerce site that uses a database to store stock and customer details, will use SQL.  An SQL injection can result in an entire database being deleted with a single word.  When you search for something on an E-commerce site the user types what they’re looking for in a search bar. In an SQL Injection attack the attacker types in a piece of SQL code that can affect the entire database, sometimes with a single word. Talking to your web or database develop about this matter as there are numerous approaches to counteract this problem with some inventive coding to detect the presence of SQL code.

 

Denial of Services (DoS)

This is another attack that has made appearances in the news after numerous high-profile cases. This requires more knowledge and skill than a Script Kiddie is capable of but it’s not just something that happens to huge businesses or political parties.  A DoS attack is where a perpetrator seeks to make a network or resource unavailable to its users temporarily, this is accomplished flooding the target with traffic or sending information that triggers a crash.  There are many ways to deal with a denial of service attack and it’s important to talk to your developers and systems admin. The most important thing is to develop a plan in case this event occurs. Securing your network and having a strong system architecture are key for preventing this type of attack. Cloud based service providers offer many advantages in terms of security for businesses worried about this threat.

 

Cyber security is a constantly evolving field and everyday new threats and attacks are occurring. We’ve tried to condense information about the most common threats that we believe people should be aware of.  Remember if you have any concerns about cyber security you should contact your developer or seek the opinion of experts.