You’re living in a rapidly evolving digital world that’s forcing your business to dive deeper into the digital landscape. Even if you’re business merely dabbles in the digital world, you’re still at high-risk if you have any information stored online.
High profile cybersecurity events hitting headlines in the past year, like Ukraine’s power grid and the Equifax breach, provided insight as to the intense damages that can be caused by a soft cybersecurity plan. It’s imperative that your business has a defense strategy in place to avoid getting hit by cyber attacks.
Reading this article is a stepping stone to give your business the ability to dodge unexpected or high impact security events.
5 prominent security threats you need to be aware of in 2018:
1. Threats to IoT (Internet of Things)
Internet of Things (IoT) is the connection of the Internet embedded in common physical objects. This connection allows everyday devices to send and receive data.
With the value of real-time data collection increasing, small to large businesses are commonly making use of IoT devices. The upside is that these devices are transforming the rate of business growth for the better, but the downside is that they can be very susceptible to hacking.
For modern-day hackers, it’s easy to use these devices as a backdoor entry into your business’s network, therefore helping them gain access to any data they find valuable.
Most organizations adopt IoT devices with enthusiasm, completely unaware that these devices are often insecure by design and offer too many opportunities for hackers to infiltrate their system. A loss of customer data quickly leads to vanishing trust from the customers you’ve worked hard to gain/maintain. If you have shareholders, a breach of data will cause them to see their investment in your business as a major risk.
It’s okay if your business has jumped into the use of IoT devices as it’s almost a necessity at this point in time. It is not a coincidence that you’ve found this article and have read this far. Use this as a sign and take a closer look at the security of your IoT devices.
2. Hackers rely on human errors
Cyber attackers partially rely on their skills and partially rely on people in your business who make mistakes. In this analysis of the most common security threats faced by organizations, it was reported that cyber attackers still heavily rely on blunders in organization’s security defenses.
According to IBM’s Cyber Security Intelligence Index, one in four security breaches are caused by human error. And, to provide a real-life example: in 2017, the CEO of Equifax stated that the company had a cyber-attack which resulted in a $600 million-dollar loss and was due to human error.
If your business uses computing devices in the workplace, then it’s necessary to invest in cybersecurity training, a consultant, or a fulltime employee who specializes in cybersecurity. It’s imperative that you understand how minor mistakes and oversights can lead to a scenario that can potentially destroy your business, or at the minimum put a dent in your bottom line.
Ransomware is a simple malware (software intended to damage or disable computers and systems) that breaches security defenses and then uses strong encryption to lock down computer files. After the hackers lock your computer files, they will then demand an amount of money in exchange for the keys to unlock your data. Victims are usually forced to pay when they haven’t backed their data up.
The past year has seen an enormous amount of ransomware attacks. Some high-profile targets include San Francisco’s light-rail network, FedEx, too many regional hospitals, as well as Britain’s National Health Service.
This article runs through publicized ransomware attacks in the US. It is broken out per month, from July 2017 to February 2018. Victims range from schools to hospitals, libraries, labs, non-profits, municipalities, and more.
As technology advances, hackers advance too. The security defenses your organization has should be updated frequently to avoid new and evolving attacks.
4. Cyber-physical attacks
Hackers are increasingly targeting cars and transportation systems, manufacturing plants, systems, electrical grids, Building Automation Networks (BANs), water/sewage plants, and all other components of a business’ critical infrastructure.
These hacks are sometimes designed to cause a major disruption to a whole country. In 2017, Ukraine’s power grid was breached and it caused a 20% plunge in the nation’s capital.
Often, the cause of cyber-physical attacks is due to systems either lacking security protection or the lack of regularly updating security protocols deployed in the systems. It’s necessary to implement innovative security solutions to improve system resilience to avoid a cyber-physical attack.
If you’ve already implemented a defense plan to evade cyber-physical attacks then be sure to keep it up to date so you don’t waste your initial investment.
5. Phishing schemes
Phishing schemes are designed to get you to click on a link that you perceive as harmless, which is why so many people get caught up in them. A phishing scheme prompts you to click on a link that will then go to a seemingly innocent URL. These “innocent” URLs can lead to a disastrous online security breach if you’re not careful.
You can mitigate this risk by training your employees on the importance of paying attention to what they’re clicking on, as well as implementing best practices to avoid a full breach of your network that is caused by a wrong click.
For example, many employees will use the same weak password across multiple apps and services. It’s important that employees are aware of the consequences of using the same password. This will help mitigate the risk of your network being breached. It is also why so many companies force you to change your login password so often.
Your company’s bottom line, your brand, and your ability to do business are all dependent on how effectively you can protect the assets and information stored on your network. If you haven’t already, be sure to put a solid defense plan in place.