In 2021, cybercriminals targeted high-profile companies such as Microsoft, The Colonial Pipeline, and Kaseya, proving they weren't afraid to take on organizations both large and small. These breaches sent shockwaves through global supply chains and networks, causing business owners to realize that strong cybersecurity measures have never been more urgent.
And as cybercriminals grow in number and sophistication, their target pool has drastically expanded because of the popularity boom of remote workforces.
It's easy to feel paralyzed by this onslaught of rapidly evolving cyber threats to your business. That feeling isn't misplaced – data breaches broke records in 2021, and 2022 is forecasted to be just as dangerous. Cybercriminals are setting their sights on the SMB market, too. 43% of cyberattacks in 2021 targeted smaller organizations that don't have the robust cybersecurity protections of larger entities.
Let's sort through all the noise and explore the most common threats to your Enterprise Security (and some key tips on avoiding them altogether).
Phishing attacks are fraudulent messages that often appear to come from reputable sources, large companies, or even cybercriminals masquerading as trusted colleagues. They're after sensitive information, such as your credentials, credit card numbers, or valuable client information.
Phishing accounts for almost 90% of data breaches, according to Cisco's 2021 Cybersecurity Threats and Trends report. Of the organizations surveyed, 86% had at least one person click on a dangerous phishing link. This study also found that one in every 323 emails sent to small organizations is malicious.
The best way to protect your organization from these omnipresent phishing attacks is to know what to look for:
- Several obvious spelling or grammar errors.
- Suspicious-looking email addresses.
- Inconsistent names - for example, an email may say "Account PayPal" rather than "PayPal Account."
- Using greetings like "Customer" as opposed to your name.
- Messages that have a sense of urgency – for example, "Your account has been suspended. Recover your account now."
Staying vigilant for phishing attacks isn't normally top-of-mind for most busy employees. Simple reminders about these signals can help prevent an attack.
An astounding 37% of all organizations were hit by ransomware in 2021. It's not surprising then that ransomware attacks are the biggest concern of cybersecurity experts this year.
Ransomware is malware that locks your organization’s files until you pay a ransom in cryptocurrency to unfreeze them, forcing executives to make an impossible choice.
To protect yourself against ransomware, there are some simple steps you can take, like:
- Implement consistent backups, both immutable and offsite, so if your systems are ever breached, you can restore quickly and securely.
- Training your organization in cybersecurity literacy is critical. Teaching your employees how to spot suspicious emails and having them regularly change their passwords can be the difference between just another day and the end of your business.
- Keep corporate devices patched and up-to-date to avoid known security vulnerabilities.
If your organization does become a victim of ransomware, experts recommend an incident response investigation rather than jumping to pay the criminals. Learn more about post-incident actions from cybersecurity and insurance experts in this panel.
Malware is an all-encompassing term that includes ransomware, viruses, and spyware. It intends to harm its victims for financial gain. While malware is a broad category, there are a few common warning signs of malware attacks, including slow computer performance, problems starting or shutting down your computer, and frequent pop-ups. When working to protect your organization against malware, you should focus on these methods of prevention:
- As we've discussed in this space previously, endpoint security is critical. With the drastic increase in remote work, endpoint risks continue to compound. Malware attacks can originate from several sources, but they all have one thing in common: an end-user connected to the internet. Securing all your endpoints is vital to protecting you from malware attacks.
- Keep your systems updated. Cybercriminals are predators, and predators look to exploit vulnerabilities. Outdated software is an easy way for them to find a way inside your devices, so stay on top of patches and updates.
- Be wary of unfamiliar links and attachments. The most common way cybercriminals enter your network is through a malicious link or infected attachment in a phishing email, clicked on by an unsuspecting employee. Regular communication with your employees to educate them on the warning signs of a malicious message is critical.
Sometimes, cybersecurity risks aren't coming from outside cybercriminals. Insider threats are defined as members of your organization that can be potentially dangerous, whether it's intentional or not. Employees, both current and former, pose a threat to your organization's cybersecurity. For example, a current employee who isn't following digital best practices may accidentally click on malicious links or files. On the other hand, a disgruntled ex-employee may try to re-access company information with bad intentions.
74% of organizations feel vulnerable to insider threats, and they should – it's a growing cybersecurity issue. The cost of addressing insider threats has increased by 34% since 2020, and it’s up another 44% for 2022.
So how do you prevent these threats? Here are some tips:
- “Principle of Least Privilege”: When it comes to valuable data, follow the "Principle of Least Privilege” and ensure that no more people have access to documents or credentials than necessary. It's much harder for an inside threat to commandeer data they don't have access to.
- Secure Authentication: Two-factor or multi-factor authentication should be the norm. Passwords should also be changed regularly.
- Employee Awareness: Remember, most insider attacks result from mistakes, not malice. Educating your employees and periodically reviewing how to avoid malicious links and attachments, as well as regularly updating applications, is crucial for your organization's safety.
We're Here To Help
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the growing cybersecurity threats to your organization, we're ready to help. Our cybersecurity experts can help protect your data with top-of-the-line, comprehensive security measures through both managed services and consulting. Contact Ascend today to chat with our team.