As a small- or mid-sized business (SMB) owner, you face a unique set of cyberthreats that can put your company at risk. Hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, and they will stop at nothing to obtain data that they can sell on the black market or use to commit other crimes. And with 43% of all cyberattacks directed at SMBs, your organization should be aware of the risks that you’re up against and take steps to protect your business.
Here are the most common cyberthreats your Ontario-based SMB should look out for.
Phishing is a type of online fraud that uses email or malicious websites to steal personal information, such as login credentials, Social Security numbers, or financial data. Some cybercriminals also use phishing to install malware on a victim's device.
There are many different types of phishing attacks, but the most common ones include spear phishing, whaling, and vishing. Spear phishing attacks target individuals with access to sensitive data, while whaling attacks are aimed at senior executives such as CEOs or CFOs. Similarly, vishing is a type of phishing attack that uses voice calls or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) instead of email or text messages.
Phishing attacks can be very difficult to detect because phishers often use spoofed email addresses and websites that look legitimate. To protect against such attacks, never click on links in emails from unknown senders and be cautious of any email that asks for personal information. If you are unsure about an email, contact the company that supposedly sent the message to verify its authenticity.
Malicious malware, more commonly known as malware, is any file or program designed to harm or disable computers, servers, and networks. It can be installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge, and it can be difficult to remove once installed. According to the AV-Test Institute, about 560,000 new kinds of malware are detected every day, with the most common types being Trojan horses, viruses, and worms.
Trojan horses are programs that appear benign but actually allow malicious code to run on the infected computer. Viruses are similar, but they replicate themselves and can spread to other computers. Worms, meanwhile, are malware that spread by exploiting security vulnerabilities.
To protect against malware, install and automatically update antivirus and anti-malware on all of your devices. Moreover, you should download files only from trusted sources and restrict employee access to sensitive data to prevent their access rights from being exploited.
Ransomware is a specific kind of malware that encrypts data and demands a ransom for its decryption. A ransomware attack tends to be costly for two reasons: first, you'll be asked to pay a ransom; second, you may incur losses from being unable to decrypt your data, whether or not you pay the ransom. Additionally, the steady increase in ransomware-related costs and the number of attacks makes it clear that ransomware is a growing problem.
To protect your SMB from ransomware, be sure to keep all of your software up to date. This includes your operating system and any applications you have installed. Regularly scan your networks and install a reliable antivirus. Back up your data frequently and keep your backups in a secure location, such as in a remote location or on a computer that’s not connected to the rest of your systems. That way, if you are attacked, you'll still have access to your data.
Structured Query Language, or SQL, injection attacks occur when an attacker inserts malicious code into an input field on a web page, such as a form field, that is used to generate SQL queries. This can allow the attacker to execute their own SQL commands on the database, potentially giving them access to sensitive data or allowing them to perform unauthorized actions.
SQL injections are one of the most common types of web application attacks, and they can be very devastating if successful. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your website from these threats. For one, make sure that all user input is validated and sanitized before it is used in an SQL query. Use parameterized queries as well instead of dynamic SQL queries to prevent malicious input from being interpreted as SQL code. Also, keep your database and software up to date and install the latest security patches so that cybercriminals can’t exploit vulnerabilities.
Cybersecurity is an important part of running a successful business, so make sure you are taking the necessary precautions to protect your company against the most common cyberthreats. If you have questions about cybersecurity or would like more information on how to protect your business, drop us a line at XBASE Technologies. Our cybersecurity experts are ready to help.