Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

7 Startling Types of Cyber Attacks Small Business Owners Face and How to Stop Them

Your small business is a target for cybercriminals. Are you doing everything you need to do to protect yourself and your business? 

Cyber attacks are expensive. As a small business, can you afford the risk? It’s estimated that cyber attacks can cost your small business between $84,000 and $148,000.

Prevention saves money. But you need to know what types of cyber attacks are out there. 

Here are seven startling cyber attacks to watch for and how to protect your company against them. 

1. Ransomware and Randsomworms

Yes, these are real things. You might have heard of ransomware but have you heard of ransomworms? 

Ransomware is a form of malicious software. Cybercriminals infect your network with this software and hold your files hostage. 

The only way to get your files back is to pay a ransom to the cybercriminals. 

Ransomworms are one of the ways a cybercriminal gets into your network. They send a digital “worm” to breach your network and plant the malicious software. One of the most common ways to infect your network is an email with an attachment.

Protect against ransomware by backing up your system regularly. Daily backups are a good start. If you have a backup of your system, the cybercriminals have less leverage to hold your data hostage. 

Use security software to prevent and detect ransomware. If cybercriminals can’t send their software in, you’re protecting your business from a ransomware situation. 

2. Fileless Malware

Malware is not a new cyber threat.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an all-encompassing term for worms, trojans, viruses, and other harmful computer programs. Hackers use malware to gain access to secured systems. 

Until recently, malware worked by leaving a file on your system. These files gain access to your computer by attaching to other files, like Word documents or emails. 

Hackers program malware to find a hiding spot on your computer after it rides in on another file. The file changes your registry and other important things on your computer. 

Now, some forms of malware don’t need files to cause harm to your system. 

Cybercriminals can use software vulnerabilities to send code directly to your computer. With that access, they load fileless malware to cause destruction.  

To protect malware, find an anti-malware software that looks past files and the settings of your registry.

3. Stolen Credentials

Most data breaches happen as a result of stolen authentications and resources.  

It’s easier for a hacker to gain access to your system with credentials than any other way. Cybercriminals are good at hacking emails and passwords. With this information, they can walk right into your network. 

Monitor access to your system. If anything is suspicious or doesn’t seem like a trusted login, investigate immediately. 

You can’t be too careful with authentications to your system. Learn more about protecting against hackers making unauthorized access to your system using known credentials. 

4. Go Phishing

Phishing is a tried and true cyber attack. It’s sneaky, and it works. 

Hackers gain access to your network through a process. They use email or other online social media methods to get you to provide sensitive information.

Cybercriminals then take that information and use it to hack into your system.

You might get an email requesting banking information or other personal information. Or you might click a link on social media or in an email that downloads malware onto your computer.

Make sure your employees are aware of these kinds of phishing scams. Beware any website that asks for personal information unless it’s a trusted, secure source.

5. Crypto Jacking

With cryptocurrencies on the rise, it makes sense that cybercriminals would want to find a way to steal it. 

Cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin or Namecoin) are digital money. Your company doesn’t need to operate using cryptocurrency for cybercriminals to hack your system for crypto jacking. 

To acquire cryptocurrency, you buy it, or you mine it. Hackers prefer to steal it through mining. 

Mining takes most of a computer’s resources. Cybercriminals hack into your computer and program it to mine cryptocurrency. 

This causes your computer to run slow. It’s also engaged in an illegal activity: crypto jacking. 

Use anti-malware software to detect crypto jacking hacks. You can also add extensions to your web browser to help block crypto hacks. 

6. Distributed Denial of Service

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is a massive request on your servers that forces a shutdown. 

Multiple sources target your server or website at the same time. It’s an overwhelming flood of messages, requests, and activity. 

Your server can’t handle it, and it denies access to everyone and everything. It shuts down. Your company can’t conduct business while your server is on overload. 

Most of these attacks start from a botnet site. Be sure your security software can detect these attacks early or block your server from known botnet sites to prevent an attack. 

7. Insider attacks

On some occasions, an attack on your company’s servers doesn’t require an outside cybercriminal. 

Employees make mistakes. Your IT team tests the system, and it fails to protect from an attack. A disgruntled employee leaves a parting piece of malware on his way out the door. 

Make sure your employees understand the proper protocol for your company’s computers and network. Sometimes clicking a link in a personal email message can open a company computer to malware. 

Train your IT team to know the correct ways to test your servers without leaving your company open to attack. 

Knowledge Protects Against Different Types of Cyber Attacks 

Knowledge is the first step to protecting against different types of cyber attacks. Understand what they are and how they happen to keep your company’s resources safe. 

You can’t afford to make the security of your networks and computers a priority. When you’re a small business, budgeting for your IT needs can be a challenge. 

But, cybersecurity is not where you want to be cheap. Savings in other areas can help your business afford the critical cybersecurity you need. 

If you’re looking for ways to save money, check out our article on creative ways to cut expenses.