Are cybersecurity threats for real, or are businesses just making a mole out of a mountain? Many businesses, ‘ especially small scale firms, do not consider investing in cybersecurity a top priority. But, the tech statistics have something else to reveal. In the past few years, many businesses have experienced cybersecurity breaches or attacks. And, the result of such attacks was a loss of millions of dollars for firms. Such incidents reveal why it is essential for firms to establish a well-planned cyber-security strategy. Cybersecurity is one of the many realities of doing business today. Hence businesses’ must be aware of the risks, potential threats and develop programs that will help them in dealing and detecting the potential cybersecurity threats.
At present, we can’t think of even a single firm that doesn’t make use of the latest technologies for performing their day to day operations. This is where the firms expose themselves to potential cybersecurity threats. Any computing infrastructure or equipment can be exposed to various types of cybersecurity threats. Going by the latest statistics, WannaCRy ransomware was responsible for affecting more than 10,000 firms of all sizes in many countries. The result of such an attack was a stoppage of critical services and operations such as the UK’s National Health Service and stoppage of essential functions within several industries like Renault’s automotive manufacturing plants. But, data shows the impact of cybersecurity threats on only large business corporations. But what about the small firms. Do they also experience data security threats? Small firms are often pressed with the sales and production issues that they often overlook the overall security. But, trust us with the growing cases of cybersecurity threats, it’s high time for firms irrespective of their size to develop a rescue plan for potential cybersecurity threats.
Why is it essential to address cybersecurity threats?
When BOD of top companies meet, cyber security somehow always becomes the topic of debate. At present, one thing firms need to understand is to address the cyber threat issues. Not only large but small firms are also experiencing cybersecurity threats, hence having in-depth knowledge about the data security breaches is essential. Some of the cybersecurity risks every firm should be aware of include:
Compromise with private data: We know one thing that data plays a significant role in the success of large business firms. Whether it’s the market information, account details, or the personal information of customers, firms can’t think of operating even the minor task without using critical data. In such situations, if a cyber-hack occurs, it will be the worst nightmare for firms. In case of a security breach, there are not only chances that your valuable information will go in the wrong hands, but there can be data alteration that can be hazardous for the health of your firm.
Costly recovery expenses: Do you know it can be financially exhausting for firms to recover data lost owing to the cybersecurity breaches. Most of the recovery expenses are in the form of hidden costs that can bring that profit margin down. Some of the costs firms will have to bear can be in the form of its training costs, cost of acquiring a new software or lengthy process of restoring lost data, and, ultimately, the loss of time.
Loss of client trust: What if customers get to know that their personal information is stolen? Because of this breach of trust, firms can lose their valuable customers. Trust us; a bad name can hurt firms more than anything. One bad review can result in a decrease in the stock price. To avoid such situations, firms should always have a plan in action to protect customer data from any potential threat.
After reading the above points, it’s quite clear that firms should take responsible steps towards cybersecurity threats. But, before firms develop an action plan against cybersecurity threats, firms need to know about various cybersecurity threats.
Phishing: In phishing, cybercriminals try to access the secured network by using various techniques. The hackers use social sites or email, to convince users to click on misleading links, or provide sensitive information or download unreliable content on the network servers.
Malware: If due to phishing users download a suspicious program, there is a good chance that the program they download can harm their system. For instance, let’s take the example of a Trojan horse. It’s a type of malware that users download on their system without knowing the harmful impact it can have on the data stored in their system. But, the question is how to detect malware as it comes in various forms. To avoid the loss of crucial data, firms should follow safety policies like not downloading any content from unknown sources.
Denial of service attack: In this type of cybersecurity attack, the servers get flooded with requests from multiple sources, which results in the slowdown of the system or can lead to system crash. To avoid such situations, firms should never use the same password for various applications. Also, firms should never reveal the login information with any unknown person.
Ransomware: Last but not least, an essential cybersecurity threat is ransomware. If you come under the attack of ransomware, you will not be able to operate your system, as the control will shift in the hands of the hacker. In the malware attack, the server and system will be locked until you pay ransom to the hackers.
Various phases of cybersecurity threats you must know about
Knowing cyber-attacks is not enough. To protect your data, you must be aware of the various phases of cybersecurity threats. Keep reading to know how these phases look like and what you can expect from each phase.
Reconnaissance and Probing: This phase heavily relies on the incompetence of employees to check the warning signals and take corrective action in the first place only. In this phase, hackers wait for users to visit a fake website and give their sensitive information. Or, in some cases, hackers may place a physical device inside one of the network’s computers.
Intrusion: In the next phase, hackers will use the login information to enter the network to exploit sensitive information. Once the attackers get inside the network, they get to know about the typical working of the system. Even attackers may observe the user activity from a remote location and then plan their attack.
Malware installation: In this phase, hackers will move around the network, gather user information to expand their foothold, and exploit the sensitive data. In this step, hackers may insert various malware in the server like Trojans to increase their control. Users may not be able to detect the activity giving enough time to hackers to increase the extent of the damage.
Data capture or manipulation: After getting their hand on sensitive information, the next hackers will try to decrypt and remove information from the system. Although decryption takes a massive amount of time and skills, as hackers have reached so far, they will continue with the attack. Hackers will continue with the work until they attain their objectives.
Track covering: The last phase is to create a full-proof exit plan. Once the attackers get what they want, they will leave the network. And, to do so, they will generate backdoor entries so they can return any time in the future without getting detected. Attackers may ever destroy the evidence by making use of ransomware. Do you know even after the attack, if the hackers don’t shut the system, users may not be able to detect the attack? For this reason, firms need to keep a constant watch on the network and take corrective action to prevent the attack from spreading across the entire network.
How to detect the attack even before it occurs?
Businesses must have a capable in-house data management and protection system in place to avoid any data loss situation. From giving training to employees on the installation and usage of security mechanisms to keeping the software update, there are various preventive measures that firms have to take. Some of the data breach detection methods include:
Basic methods: The first line of defense is to use a set of technologies that offers real-time correlation and logging features. With the help of these technologies, firms will be able to highlight suspicious network events.
New methods: In the new methods, users incorporate history analytical capabilities and compare current operations with previous ones. By doing so users will be able to develop new precedents to minimize the incidents in future,
High-tech methods: By making use of intuitive security programs, firms can even prevent the insiders from conducting any malicious activity. Such methods play a crucial role in protecting the data from going in the wrong hands.
Hopefully, after reading this guide, you will gain full knowledge about the cybersecurity threats and preventive measures you can take to prevent such attacks in the first place only.