Cybersecurity firms have warned SMEs to tighten their cybersecurity measures. The number of cyberattacks targeting small-to-medium sized businesses is around 43%.
When you consider a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, the likelihood of falling victim to malicious actors is not stretching the imagination.
Hackers use a variety of sophisticated software and techniques. Even large corporations are falling prey to talented hackers. Cybersecurity firms say they are increasingly finding new programming languages that are classed a malicious.
One report indicated that ransomware is up by 300% since lockdown. Pegasus spyware has been hitting the headlines too, but phishing attacks are still the most frequently used tactic by cybercriminals.
Phishing involves embedding malicious code in an attachment or link via email. The content of the email is designed to persuade the recipient to click on the file or link.
You’re probably familiar with phishing attempts. Many of them are low-quality. However, sophisticated phishing techniques can look very convincing.
How Cyberattacks Affect Businesses
Cybercrime is a very lucrative business. It is estimated that hackers have cost the global economy US$6 trillion worth of losses already this year.
There are various types of malware that can tear a business apart. Ransom takes over your IT system. You have to pay hackers the amount they demand before they give you access.
Spyware is another popular tool. This type of malware is able to crawl your network undetected and steal sensitive information such as passwords, contact details and access to financial accounts.
There are also heavy costs to pay in the aftermath of a data breach. Companies typically have to hire specialists lawyers to help pull them out of a compliance mire.
There’s also the cost of the disruption to operations. Not only do you lose hours, days, or even weeks of productivity, you also have to alter work practices when you’re up and running and could lose customers on the back of a data breach.
The average cost of a cyberattack on SMEs is estimated to be around $108,000. Statistics reveal that 60% of small businesses close their doors within six months of a data breach.
And if the cybercriminals don’t wipe out your accounts, the authorities will.
The GDPR Trap
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was initially created to protect data privacy. As part of the commitment to customers, businesses are obligated to keep the personal data of European customers safe.
Compliance, therefore, involves ensuring your IT system does not have any vulnerabilities that provide a gateway for hackers to steal data. Businesses that fail to install adequate cyber defences are handed a financial penalty.
And regulators are ramping up their efforts to ensure businesses that fail compliance are punished. 2021 has already seen 40% more penalties handed out than in 2020.
The good news is that cybersecurity defences rely on identifying malicious code. Anti-virus software captures around 90% to 98% of malicious codes. Where small businesses typically fall down is due to staff being unaware of the various ways you could fall victim to cybercriminals.