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Education Series – Identify: Potential Cyberattack Risks to Your Business and How to Avoid Them

Man on computer initiating cyberattack

Did you know? 81% of all breaches happen to small and medium-sized businesses, and 97% of those breaches could have been prevented with today’s security technology.

At CMIT Solutions, our goal is to identify risks to systems that result in a loss of data and productivity. Over 60% of companies internationally have been impacted by a cybersecurity attack – and that number only increases by the day. For that reason, we know that it takes a team to identify potential attacks as cybercriminals create newer, more dangerous, and sophisticated attack mythologies. Because any business or individual can be a victim, it is important to know the facts about cybersecurity attacks.

The process of identifying and remediating the adverse consequences of cybersecurity attacks is costly. The average cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2021. Cybercriminals are constantly developing cybersecurity attacks that are capable of everything from taking advantage of errors in human judgment to circumventing the most robust security systems. According to reports, 300,000 pieces of malware are developed daily. As a result, costs to companies are expected to increase.

When it comes to identifying risks in your business, there are several key pillars to your business that you should review regularly:

  • Your systems
  • Your people (specifically their cybersecurity education/awareness)
  • Your assets
  • Your data
  • Your capabilities
  • Your Business Continuity Plan to recover quickly from downtime
  • Your Disaster Recovery Plan to recover from a huge disaster (fire, flood, theft or a debilitating hack)

Often, one type of cybersecurity breach (such as a phishing attack) can affect multiple areas of your business. This is why having multiple protections in place across all areas of your business is the best line of defense.

Phishing attacks can compromise data sources of all types. They can facilitate access to online accounts or obtain permissions to compromise connected systems. In some cases, they can hijack entire computer networks until a ransom fee is paid. In some cases, your client emails are obtained, and then the clients are targeted.  How do they do it? The fraudulent email used in phishing attacks is designed to fool victims into providing confidential information via social engineering or urgency techniques. Once they have tricked you, or alarmed you, you click a link or open an attachment that appears legitimate, the email contains dangerous links or attachments that affect your systems. Some tips on identifying a phishing attack include:

  • An unfamiliar tone or a general greeting
  • Use of emotions (urgency or fear) to compel recipients to open attachments or click on links
  • Grammar and spelling errors
  • Threats of consequences if recipients do not take action
  • Suspicious attachments or incorrectly formatted links
  • Promises of winning a prize in exchange for opening an attachment or clicking on a link
  • Request for payment information or other personal information

The consequences of cybersecurity attacks are costly and long-term. So what can you or team do when possibly faced with a phishing attack?

  • DO NOT respond to the email sender
  • If the message could be legitimate, contact the company directly
  • DO NOT click on links or open attachments
  • DO NOT provide passwords or PIN numbers to anyone
  • If an email seems suspicious, contact your IT provider for next steps
  • Do not click links, instead Google what you need to look up to see get ‘undirected’ info
    • Example, instead of clicking a shipping link, type the number into Google and it will find the shipper and safely provide you a status

The good news is you don’t have to wait for a phishing scam to hit your inbox before taking action. Follow these steps to make it difficult to be targeted by these cyber criminals:

  • DO NOT share login information via text, email or social media sites.
  • Always use password protection.
  • Use multi-factor authentication during login.
  • Update security software.
  • Back-up data so that it can be easily recovered.
  • Protect Wi-Fi networks with a password.
  • DO NOT use public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots to provide personal information.

Remember: the cyber landscape is ever-evolving and businesses need multiple layers of protection across several areas of their business. These proactive measures can save businesses time, money, and brand reputation. Enlist the services of a leading network security provider to help guard against phishing attacks and other cybersecurity breaches. Call CMIT Solutions of Metrolina today!

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