It goes without saying that your data and systems are pivotal to running a successful business. And if you don’t have proper security measures in place, hackers can easily access and steal your data. Which can potentially also put you out of business.
In fact, in a digital world, Cybercriminals might just be the biggest threat facing your company right now. Not only because they can create direct financial harm – by stealing company funds and valuable customer information – but they can also take over critical business applications which can cripple your business operations.
In reality, any business can fall victim to hacking. However, small and medium-sized businesses are particularly at risk. Too often, new business owners don’t always take cybersecurity seriously when they are setting up their company infrastructure which can have serious implications later on. Or they simply hire the first IT service provider they see without testing their credentials – to ensure they are capable of providing the type of IT security solutions their growing business needs.
So, what are some of the key types of Hacker to look out for?
The 5 types of business Cyber Hackers to watch out for
In this post, we consider 5 key types of Hackers. And also explain the types of CyberSecurity measures you can implement to protect your business from them.
#1. Hackers who are after personal information
Many Hackers are keen to get their hands on the personal information of your clients and employees – which includes birth dates, financial data and social security numbers.
Social security numbers might be the most valuable asset they want to get a hold of since cybercriminals can use them for various purposes. For instance, they can perform tax fraud, open credit accounts and make other significant identity breaches.
In addition, financial data can be utilized for fraudulent activities and purchases. Especially if your business lacks robust digital security systems and the data is easy for hackers to get at.
#2. Hackers who want to get into your digital infrastructure
Storage and data servers are expensive – and hackers know that.
In order for them to cut costs, hackers may aim to store their applications and data on your infrastructure instead. The better your infrastructure, the more likely Cybercriminals are to target it. This can strain your network to the limits and have devastating effects on your business if left unchecked.
Unsurprisingly, tech companies are some of the most common victims of this type of hacking. Typical indicators that a hacker has tapped into your digital infrastructure include:
- Running out of storage faster than usual
- Your network suffers slowdowns
- You have unknown devices on your network.
#3. Hackers who are after confidential information
Few business aspects are as important as your intellectual property (IP). Your products and services enable you to stand out from the competition and they are the lifeblood of your relationship with your customers.
Hackers are alive to the potential here and they can create very real problems if they are able to steal important product details ahead of a product launch or before you are able to submit a patent. Worst still hacked data can even find its way onto the web which can be rich pickings for your competition should they be made aware of it.
#4. Hackers who want to get account data
Sure, you and your IT service provider might have done enough so that hackers might not be able to obtain financial data. But are your employees’ accounts secure?
If Hackers compromise them, they can have the freedom to run scams and gain information to disrupt your operations. For example, compromised Managing Director login credentials can be devastating. Besides granting hackers access to sensitive information, it also puts them in a position to impersonate the Managing Director themselves.
This can lead very quickly to internal chaos before anyone even knows the breach has happened. As well as leading to hackers issuing what look like ‘bona-fide’ instructions like asking for abnormal payments that ultimately end up in their hands. With devastating financial implications for your business.
#5. Hackers who aim to have network control
In some cases, hackers aren’t after data. Instead, they want to gain control of your entire network. And to make it happen, they launch ransomware attacks.
These activities enable them to lock you out of your company systems and make data inaccessible – until you pay them what is often a sizeable ransom. These types of attacks are typically initiated through spam, phishing emails and online ads.
The average ransom amount stands at approximately £24,000, but this direct cost is only the tip of a very sizeable iceberg. As the loss caused by business disruption is typically much more significant.
How to protect your business from them
Now that you know how hackers can compromise your company, let’s check out 5 effective ways to protect your business from CyberSecurity threats:
#1. Invest in adequate security resources
A key factor ignored by many business owners is investing the right type of time and resource in effective CyberSecurity. Which is like leaving the front and back doors of your business wide open at the same time.
Solid CyberSecurity defensive measures take both time and expertise to set up. And the reality is that the threat being posed changes all of the time – on an almost daily basis. So, if you don’t have the expertise in-house then make sure you find a reliable IT service provider to help you out. And talk to them about a Cyber Security Audit like Cyber Essentials as a way to assess your current position.
#2. Train your team
Even the most effective IT security systems have their weaknesses. And your employees, if they are untrained on the risks, can very often pose the biggest threat.
The good news is you can mitigate the threat by ensuring that you have effective CyberSecurity training in place and also documented security measures, for use both in-office and at home (as businesses are increasingly working in a hybrid way). It is key that employees understand that any phone or laptop they use for work can be a weak point and entryway for hackers – and that are certain things you should never do on a work computer. So they can help you guard against the threat.
#3. Add two-factor authentication
There are many valuable tools you can use to fend off hackers too. One of them is two-factor authentication (2FA) – a simple yet effective weapon against scammers.
This measure requires each user to verify their identity to access your system. And you can use it on all business-related accounts to reduce the chances of Cybercrime.
You can also encourage your team members to activate 2FA on personal accounts. This way, they’ll be more likely to follow appropriate security practices within your business, reducing the risk of compromised devices and data breaches.
#4. Leverage automated monitoring software and tools
Computer viruses are another ‘go-to’ tool for hackers. And a great way to deal with them is to incorporate Cyber Security Monitoring and Tools on your network which automatically check for this type of threat.
Make sure your built-in antivirus software is up to date across all employee laptops, PCs, mobile and other devices to minimize the risk of them being compromised or infected by a virus. And look into effective web protection software and managed email protection if you need it.
#5. Perform periodic manual security checks
Regular checks on your system is vital for optimal cybersecurity. Solid antivirus software is essential but you shouldn’t disregard manual scans. It’s crucial that your IT service provider does this periodically.
More specifically, check who’s accessed your network and make sure each point of access is authorized. Any suspicious activity must be reviewed, assessed and rooted out if it isn’t someone who is authorized to use the network.
Stay on the safe side
Battling the Hackers may not be the most glamorous part of running a business. However, neglecting CyberSecurity turns your company into a sitting duck for scammers. And leaves you wide open to losing money, data and your hard earned reputation if the hackers are successful.
We hope this blog post provides a good starting point for thinking about the issues you need to address.
However, if you lack the expertise internally to address these issues please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of IT experts is available to put the kind of effective CyberSecurity defenses in place that your business demands. And they are dedicated to ensuring the security of our customers.
They will be pleased to help!
Article used with permission from The Technology Press.