5 ways cyber criminals attack SMBs

26 April 2016

3 min read

Cyber criminals are coming for you – and here’s how they’re going to do it

5 ways cyber criminals attack SMBs (Desktop)

Nearly 50 percent of all global cyber crimes in 2015 were aimed at SMEs with fewer than 250 staff. Many small business owners are feeling that it’s not a case of if they’ll experience an attack, but when.

With giants such as Sony and large companies such as TalkTalk suffering devastating cyber attacks, it’s easy to understand why.

In 2015, the British telecoms industry suffered two extremely high-profile attacks. The personal details of up to 2.4 million Carphone Warehouse customers were stolen, as well as up to 90,000 credit card details. Meanwhile, 157,000 TalkTalk customers had their data hacked, including 15,000 financial details.

While it can feel inevitable that your business will become the target of cyber attacks, being aware of how to fight them is the first and most important step in protecting your company.

Stealing personal data

Phishing and social engineering is one of the scarier forms of attack. Instead of lurking quietly in the background, these scams come straight into everyday life and try to trick you out of sensitive information.

This can also take the form of ransomware, which is as dangerous as it sounds. Cyber criminals control internet connections or even lock out an entire PC until a ransom of cash or bitcoins has been paid.

But don’t panic, there are things you can do: the best way to prevent phishing is to train your staff in how to recognise it. All it takes is one person downloading an infected attachment to infect the entire network.

Trojans, viruses, and worms

Malware encompasses cyber threats including Trojans, viruses and worms, which exist to steal data or destroy code. It finds a way onto computers by users downloading infected email attachments, software downloads or through backdoors and vulnerabilities in software and operation systems.

Protecting your business from malware isn’t difficult. The most important thing to do is ensure that your firewall and operating system are always up-to-date. Regular updates will plug holes and fix vulnerabilities, keeping you secure in the future.

Crippling denial of service

When multiple computers simultaneously flood a website or network, they have a chance to overwhelm it and cause it to crash. This stops customers from accessing your services, your employees from working, and can have a devastating effect on how people perceive your business.

The best way to stop DDoS attacks is to identify them early. Monitor your network at all times for unusual spikes in activity. If you identify an attack then call your ISP or hosting provider, who will begin filtering traffic. This will help until you get in touch with a DDoS specialist.

Redirects and pop-ups

Web-based attacks can attack businesses both directly and indirectly. If your site has been compromised, then code can be installed instructing a pop-up to appear. This can cause anything from redirecting your customers to another website to stealing their data and personal details. Customers with hacked browsers can struggle to reach sites through pop-ups.

Defending your business against web based attacks is simple and easy. Protect your code and make sure that all known backdoors and vulnerabilities are patched and protected.

Remote-controlled drone PCs

A botnet is commonly known as a remote-controlled army of drone PCs. Once infected, they can be activated and instructed to commit illegal activities. From taking part in DDoS attacks to broadcasting phishing emails and malware, most people have no idea this is going on.

The real threat to small businesses is their digital identity being taken and sabotaged by association with illegal activities. Your domain and IP could be blacklisted, meaning search engines and email providers will automatically flag you, leading to damaged SEO ranking and an auto-direct straight to spam folders.

Protect your business by using a web-filtering service, which can scan for signs of tampering and either fix or disable the problems.

If you want to stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals then discover hints, tips and guides on BusinessNow.

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