April 15, 2024

How To Protect Your Company’s Cyber Presence

5 min read

2023’s business landscape has been marred with a lot of pitfalls – inflation at an all-time high, an unstable economy and labour shortages have made running a business more complex this year. However, one thing you may not have considered i​​s how the changing world of cybercrime may affect your company. Cybercriminals are only becoming more sophisticated in the ways in which they are targeting your company, and businesses need to get ahead of the curve. 2023 has seen a lot of changes in how hackers are getting hold of your money and your precious data, and it is getting harder and harder to stop. 

Cybercrime is becoming increasingly unpredictable. The rise of AI, and other scams such as ransomware, has made it more difficult to protect your company. In fact, when surveyed, many business owners believe that a catastrophic cyber security event will happen within the next two years. It is also predicted that by 2025, cybercrime will cost the world economy around 10.5 trillion dollars per year. As technology becomes more complex, it has the ability to help businesses massively as well as potentially destroy them. Your business should be getting ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting against cybercrime.


What Are Cyber Attacks? 

A cyber attack is most commonly defined as an offensive manoeuvre that targets computer systems, networks, infrastructures, devices or smartphones. They have been used by many organisations for many different reasons – the most common type of cyber criminal targets business infrastructures in order to extort money. However, cyber terrorists have been known to attack governmental systems and devices in order to make a political point. Countries have even attacked each other as an act of war, such as North Korea and The United States, or more recently, Russia and Ukraine. Cyber attacks usually do one of three things – steal information, hold information for ransom, or stop all organisation operations. 

Cyber attacks alter, steal from or destroy an intended target by hacking into a vulnerable system. Cyber attacks have evolved throughout the years – in 1988, Cornell graduate Robert Morris invented the modern computer virus by creating the ‘Morris worm.’ It infected university computer systems from all over the United States, including Stanford and Princeton. However, this cyber attack was relatively benign. During the 1990s, criminals realised they could use cyber attacks in order to extort money from businesses and members of the general public. Since then, cybercrime has become a massive problem. Since 2017, cybercrime has only evolved to become one of the most significant problems facing businesses today. But how are businesses more commonly being attacked? 


The Most Common Cyber Attacks in 2023

As cybercriminals evolve, the attacks most commonly used against businesses only become more sophisticated as cyber security learns to protect against them. However, what are the most common attacks in 2023?


These attacks are incredibly serious. They attack your computer systems and hold all of your data and systems hostage until you pay their extraordinarily high ransom. This ransom isn’t the only monetary damage your business could sustain – the money spent from lost productivity and data loss is often more damaging than the ransom. In the first half of 2022, there were over 230 million global ransomware attacks. They often target small businesses, as they tend to have weaker cyber security services. The evolution of ransomware is one of the most troubling things affecting businesses in 2023. 

Spear Phishing

Phishing attacks have been affecting businesses for many years now, however, spear phishing has evolved to become a massive problem. Phishing is where a cybercriminal will target email someone through deception, pretending to be another organisation. The facade will often look extremely legitimate, such as a bank. They will falsify an email structure and information so that the email looks real, and the email will often urge the receiver to click on a link, pretending that the request is time sensitive. A common example of phishing is someone pretending that a bank account has been compromised. When the target clicks on the link, it will steal their information via malware or a dodgy site. Spear phishing targets specific employees, and are incredibly dangerous as the personalisation makes it look incredibly legitimate, as it is harder to detect. 

Cloud Vulnerabilities

As organisations begin to shift to the Cloud in terms of storage, the vulnerabilities in the cloud will be exploited by more and more cybercriminals. Businesses have already reported that 27% of them suffered a form of cyber attack via their cloud infrastructure. Security misconfigurations, vulnerability exploitation and account compromisation are big cyber security risks when it comes to using the cloud. Account hijacking and Denial Of Service attacks are commonly conducted via the Cloud. This could prevent you from accessing the data that you have stored there, which could be devastating for your business. 


How To Protect Your Business

If you’ve been reading about 2023’s predicted cyber hack evolution and are worried about the security of your business, it may be a good idea to thoroughly assess your cyber security strategy. Making sure that your company is ahead of cyber criminals and can keep as protected as possible is one of the best things you can do in order to protect your company in the midst of the evolving cybersecurity landscape. 


WFH Cyber Security 

Since the pandemic, some businesses now have a large percentage of their workforce working from home. While this can be good in terms of cutting costs and employee satisfaction, it can also be a good cyber security risk. As aforementioned, Uber’s massive cyber security attack last year was down to a contractor’s device being infected with malware. If your workforce works remotely or hybrid, you need to be looking into every possible avenue to make sure your company is still protected. Things such as installing 2 Factor Authentication on your devices could protect your passwords from being compromised. Educating your staff on how to keep themselves safe online may also be very useful. 


Invest In Better Security 

Investing in your company’s business cyber security plan is incredibly important when it comes to protecting you online. For example, you should consider getting cyber insurance – many businesses spare no expense when it comes to investing in professional indemnity insurance and export credit insurance – why should cyber insurance be any different? Cyber insurance can ensure that your business finances are protected in case they are stolen by cybercriminals or if you have to pay fines. Investing in good business cyber security software and monitoring services such as dark web surveillance can ensure that your cyber presence remains safe online. 


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