What are the biggest cyber threats to your business?

27th April 2018

Cybercrime is a constantly evolving threat that every business needs to tackle. But with many large firms employing sophisticated techniques to keep their operations protected, it’s the SME community that can find itself the most vulnerable. Yet some of the most secure businesses in the UK have found themselves becoming victims of this type of crime so how can you keep your business safe? As well as utilising up to date security systems, education also plays a vital role. By making sure that you and your staff are fully aware of what threats are out there your business will be in a much stronger to position to minimize the threat posed by cybercriminals, no matter where in the world they may be. So to help you, here are some of the most common cyber attacks to plague UK SMEs.  

Ransomware

Cybercriminals often use ransomware as a means of withholding access to devices and data in exchange for funds. It usually works by either you or your employees opening a phishing email and clicking on either a link or attachment that it contains. However, some attacks, such as WannaCry, don’t require you to interact with an infected email in any way, but may instead exploit a vulnerability in your software or operating system. So how can you defend yourself against this type of crime?

As soon as an Anti-Virus software, firewall or operating system update is released you need to make sure that you install it on all your devices as soon as possible. Doing so will help plug any potential vulnerabilities before a cybercriminal can get the chance exploit it. You should take steps to keep your staff fully informed of the dangers posed by suspicious email, encouraging them to think twice or seek advice before taking any unnecessary risks. You should also consider manually backing up your business’ data on to a sufficiently sized external hard drive, saving you from having to bow down to the attacker’s demands.

Worried about how secure your business’ is against cybercrime? Need help reinforcing your business’ security systems, but lack the necessary funds? Apply for business finance today or learn more about how your business could benefit.

DDoS

DDoS (or Disrupted Denial of Service) attacks another growing problem for the UK business community, especially SMEs. Unlike other forms of cybercrime, DDoS doesn’t require you to install malware onto your system, making it very difficult to safeguard against. Instead, it works by overloading your business’ servers with requests, causing your systems to crash. The fallout from such an attack can be devastating as it may have left your business unable to trade for lengthy periods of time. Plus, as well as hitting your cashflow, it’s also the damage that this can do to your PR. This why having a backup plan for such an event is vital.

As well as figuring out alternative methods of resuming trade, you need to decide how you’re going to inform your customers without losing their business. You should also consider using a DDoS defence service that may utilise a number of techniques and tools to help mitigate these attacks. Such services work by identifying malicious traffic (which may arrive as a result of Structured-Query Language or Cross-Site Scripting vulnerabilities) and erase them, allowing you to resume trade as normal.

Social Engineering

Although keeping your security systems up to date is vital for safeguarding your business, you should also regularly takes steps to educate your staff about the hazards of cybercrime and what they can do to prevent it. Social Engineering is another harmful technique used by cybercriminals to manipulate your staff in order to gain access to your business’ systems.

Social Engineering involves tricking your employees into providing them with valuable information. Sometimes their requests may seem trivial and occur over a period of time. It’s when this information is combined with any other details the attacker has collected that the risk to your business escalates. Some of the most common social engineering scams that attackers use is posing as either your IT provider or bank in order to gain log-in details, account numbers (eg. sort code) or identity for example. Plus, they’ll also assert a sense of urgency by stressing to your employees that they have a limited amount of time to respond, making it harder for them to carefully consider the legitimacy of their requests.

To counter this, encourage your employees to always protect their details and check with either yourself or their manager about any suspicious requests. Even if it means waking you up during the early hours of the morning. So rather than blindly following the links or attachments provided by the email, call the relevant service provider and ask them to confirm the request. If you have any visitors, your staff should always take steps to confirm their identity before dealing with their request. Although this may just add to your list of tasks, doing so could prevent your business from needlessly losing thousands of pounds.

Internal threats

Sometimes, the threat to your business may even originate from a member of your own staff. Whether it’s malicious or purely accidental, if any of your employees divulge sensitive information, lose their smart device or use weak passwords, the damage this could cause for your business can be catastrophic. That is why you must always work to train and educate your staff about the hazards of cybercrime, detailing what they can do to minimise the threat. You should seek to develop a robust cybersecurity protocol and set up strong user controls to inform you if any of your employees are accessing sensitive information without prior permission. Plus, with the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), reviewing and updating your security policies has become even more vital if you’re to avoid paying a fine of up to £20,000,000 or 4% turnover (whichever is higher).

Needing help securing your business against cybercrime?

As an SME owner, you have a lot of responsibilities to deal with, including the safety of your valuable data. But as well as finding the time to review your security systems, you also have to contend with the matter of funding. Without it, keeping your security robust and up to date could prove challenging. However, there are a number of business finance solutions that could assist.

So whether you need new Anti-Virus Software packages for each of your devices, advice from security consultants or help coping with the fallout from a recent attack, apply for a business finance solution today or find out more with Rangewell.


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David Harrison

David Harrison

Content writer
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