While technology advances and its applications become widespread, the need for investing in cybersecurity increases. Cybercrime groups are increasing in number, and they are targeting businesses of all sizes across various industries. This is alarming, considering that the rate of detection in the U.S. is as low as 0.05 percent, according to the 2020 Global Risk Report of the World Economic Forum.
Most cybercriminals target both small and large businesses, and an attack will impact your business for months. In a 2019 report of CyberCrime Magazine, an average global cost of a single breach is about $3.62 million. And 60 percent of small companies are likely to go out of business within six months after falling victim to a cyber-attack or data breach.
Top security threats for businesses
If you haven’t thought of cybersecurity for your enterprise, now is the time to do so. You need to protect all of your data from theft, damage, or getting ransomed, which can include establishing proper database security protocols in place, along with other technology and behavioral optimizations.
In 2021, the top types of attack include:
- Ransomware – hackers lock the information/computer of the victim, and ask the victim to pay a ransom. It can spread from visiting infected sites and opening phishing emails.
- Malware – malicious form of software designed to harm computers. It can invade computers through internet downloads, external hard drives/USB, and physical hard drives.
- Social engineering – the attacks depend on social interaction with employees who unknowingly become manipulated to reveal confidential data.
- Phishing – belongs to social engineering attacks. In phishing, hackers use false identities to trick individuals to download malware, divulge classified information, or visit malware-laden sites.
Ransomware – raking in money by exploiting a security weakness
Out of the four major threats to businesses, ransomware is the most prevalent, according to a Cybersecurity Ventures report. In 2021, the frequency of attacks is projected to be every 11 seconds. The projected cost of ransomware attacks in 2021 is about $6 trillion. The same report estimates that by 2025, cybercrime will cost businesses around the world about $10.5 trillion each year.
Moreover, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission of the U.S. points to ransomware as the fastest growing and the most damaging form of cybercrime.
Top ransomware attacks in 2021
In a ZDNet article, it was mentioned that 292 organizations fell victim to just six ransomware groups. From January to June 2021, they have already raked in over $45 million in ransom money.
Recent major cyber-attacks that made the news are the attacks on Colonial Pipeline and the JBS branch in the U.S. These companies are not the only ones. Some of the high-profile ransomware attacks are the following:
1. Brenntag is a chemical distribution company that was attacked in May 2021. Responsible for the attack was DarkSide, the same gang that targeted Colonial. They managed to steal 150 GB worth of data and demanded $7.5 million in bitcoin. The company negotiated and ended up paying $4.4 million. Unlike Colonial, the payment is yet to be recovered.
2. Acer was also attacked in May 2021 by REvil. The gang found a vulnerability on a Microsoft Exchange server and exploited it, managing to access the company’s bank communications, bank balances, and financial spreadsheets, which they posted on their dark web page. They demanded a ransom of $50 million, the highest ransom amount to date.
3. Quanta, a computer manufacturer in Taiwan and a major business partner of Apple was attacked by REvil in April 2021, demanding a $50 million ransom. The company refused negotiations, and the gang shifted to Apple. They leaked Apple product blueprints they stole from Quanta and threatened to release other sensitive information. But it seems it was called off by May, and the cyberattack was never mentioned by Apple.
4. AXA, a European insurance company was attacked by the Avvadon group, which announced that they were able to access 3 TB of data from the company. What was ironic was the company announcing that they will cease reimbursing ransomware payments.
How to secure your data
While there is no surefire method to ensure data security, you can reduce the risk of cyber attacks by following some proven methods.
Use strong passwords. Using weak passwords is one of the most common reasons for the occurrence of a cyber attack. Use a password manager and ensure that everyone does not use a single password for multiple accounts.
Update your software. Eliminate vulnerabilities in your software by setting them to update automatically.
Minimize data transfers. Train your employees, especially those working remotely, to stop transferring business data to personal devices.
Download files carefully. Another thing to teach your employees is to stop downloading files from unverified sources. Likewise, they should understand that clicking links in emails from unknown senders is risky.
Maintain regular data monitoring. It will be easier to identify leaks when you monitor your data regularly. You can install a data breach monitoring tool to alert you when there are suspicious activities.
Create a breach response plan. A formal plan can help you manage potential breaches, making your organization ready to respond when an attack occurs so that you can minimize the damage.
Benefits of investing in cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is now a business problem, as the recent attacks proved that any type of business can be exploited by cybercriminals. Investing in a cybersecurity program is now imperative. This move can give your organization a more comprehensive edge in staying safe, especially when you get your entire organization to participate in cybersecurity training.
When you integrate IT support and cybersecurity, you’ll gain these benefits:
1. Protection for remote working employees by securing sensitive information, and removing the risks of them being vulnerable to adware, malware, and phishing attempts.
2. You boost productivity by eliminating the risks of cyber attacks and potential work stoppage. With the right cybersecurity training, you increase the employees’ knowledge of cybersecurity, which makes them inclined to work better.
3. Customers’ confidence and trust in your business increase because they know that you are protecting their confidential data. They feel safe when doing business with you.
4. You improve your revenue. Investing in cybersecurity training, cybersecurity tools, and IT infrastructure will pay huge dividends in the long run. You prevent cyberattacks and avoid paying claims by customers and fines to regulators. Further, you comply with the data security regulations of your state and the federal government.
It’s critical to invest in a cybersecurity program to ensure that your organization will not be vulnerable to a cyber attack. Use a comprehensive cybersecurity platform that will protect all your data onsite or in the cloud. Updating your backups regularly, storing them offline, and providing training for your employees will help mitigate cyber attacks.