Cybersecurity isn’t just a serious concern for big organizations; it poses as much a risk to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Research suggests that the growth of digitalization among SMEs has resulted in an increase in cyber threats and has become a growing concern.
A Cisco 2021 report highlights the heightened awareness of cybersecurity risks among SMEs. In the past year, more than half of Asia’s SMEs have faced a cyber incident, and 85% suffered a malware attack.
You might have the best tools to detect and circumvent a cyberattack, but if you fail to educate your employees on the urgent need to integrate those tools in their daily activities, then you’re at risk. You must let them know that the risk is REAL.
Keep in mind that awareness of possible cybersecurity threats that your business faces is pertinent in today’s digital world. Cybersecurity incidents can result in a huge loss of revenue.
We’ve curated a list of common cybersecurity threats SMEs face.
1. Identity Theft:
Identity theft refers to the wrongful obtaining and usage of another person’s personal data, involving fraud or deception, mostly for economic gain. Organizations’ employees should always stay vigilant, never use the same passwords across personal and work accounts. An attack that successfully obtains an employee’s personal data can put the organization they work for at risk.
There are a variety of ways in which identity thieves operate, which includes social engineering. In most cases, thieves can be close to the victim (e.g., someone you live with or work with). In other cases, a thief might be watching you from a distance or monitoring your digital footprint. Items such as old utility bills, credit card statements, voided checks or even expired credit cards can be of great use in stealing a target’s identity. However, increasingly, the internet is the standard for stealing identity information.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files on a device, making the files and the systems that rely on them inaccessible. In exchange for decryption, malicious actors seek a ransom.
This malware encrypts files and demands a ransom payment for the decryption key, putting businesses in a position where paying the ransom is the simplest and potentially the only method to recover access to their data.
Ransomware has quickly risen to prominence as the most visible and well-known sort of malware. Recent ransomware attacks have harmed hospitals’ capacity to offer critical services, paralyzed city government systems, and wreaked havoc on a variety of enterprises.
Phishing is a type of social engineering assault commonly used to obtain sensitive information from users, such as login credentials and credit card details. When an attacker poses as a trustworthy entity and convinces a victim to open an email, instant message, or text message, they are engaging in social engineering. After this initial step, the recipient is duped into clicking a malicious link, resulting in the installation of malware, the locking of the machine as part of a ransomware assault, or the disclosure of sensitive information. According to a survey by Keeper Security, sophisticated phishing attacks accounted for 57% of attacks on SMEs (Forbes, 2021).
Malware is a catch-all term for viruses, trojans, and other disruptive computer programs that threat actors use to infiltrate systems and networks to access sensitive data. It is short for “malicious software.” Hackers write these programs to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network. Malware is usually spread by malicious website downloads, spam emails, or connecting to infected computers or gadgets (Cybersecurity Guide, 2021).
Small businesses are especially vulnerable, due to the high costs associated with engaging security professionals to identify and mitigate the affected devices. They can also serve as a backdoor into data for attackers, putting customers and staff at risk. Because of its capacity to spread quickly from one machine to another, it is a popular option for hackers looking to target small firms.
5. Password Hacking
Password hacking can be easier if you use weak passwords or reuse the same password across multiple websites.
Due to a general lack of awareness about the damage that weak passwords can inflict, small firms are frequently vulnerable to hacks caused by employees using weak passwords. According to the Global State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses report, 70% of SMEs reported a loss of employees’ passwords.
7. Remote Working
Hackers can potentially access your online activities if you use public Wi-Fi at airports, cafes, or even your own residence. With increasing work from home flexibility, such threats have gained momentum. IBM (2021) report highlights that in breaches where remote work was a factor in triggering the breach, the average cost was $1.07 million greater than in breaches where remote work was not a factor.
Businesses must ensure a strong security awareness culture within their company. This will aid in preventing insider risks caused by ignorance and assist employees in making informed cyber security decisions.
Cybersecurity risks are a threat to your business operations and your customer relationships. Trust is key to sustaining relationships and protecting your brand. Customers also watch how a business proactively protects their data and ensures safe transactions. Hence, stay alert, ALWAYS!
Get in touch with our experts today to learn more.
Cybersecurity guide (2021): Cybersecurity guide for small business
Forbes (2021): How To Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Threats
IBM (2021): Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021
Norton (2021): Identity theft: What is it and how to avoid it
Score (2021): Top 6 Cybersecurity Threats for Small Businesses