Cyber Security, Cybersecurity certifications

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12 Proven Ways to Protect Your Business from Cyberattacks

Introduction

The threat of cyberattacks looms large and poses significant risks to businesses and organizations. According to the FBI Internet Crime Report, cyberattacks resulted in losses of $10.2 billion, expected to rise in the coming years. The complexity and sophistication of these attacks are on the rise, impacting individuals and organizations of all sizes. Inc. reported that 60% of small businesses fold within six months of a cyberattack. 

This blog discusses the growing menace of cyberattacks, the types that businesses should be vigilant about, and provides strategies to improve your organization’s cybersecurity defenses. 

 

Understanding Cyberattacks

A cyberattack is a deliberate attempt to infiltrate, manipulate, disrupt, or compromise computer networks and systems. These attacks can be broadly categorized into two types: insider threats and outsider threats. Insider threats originate from individuals with legitimate access to the systems they target, exploiting vulnerabilities intentionally or unintentionally. On the other hand, outsider threats come from individuals or groups with no affiliation to the targeted system, such as hackers and criminal organizations. 

A recent survey comprising 1,200 participants from businesses of all sizes uncovered some crucial insights. Among the findings, 58% of transportation leaders expressed their growing concerns about cyber risks, and 23% reported that their companies had already experienced a cyberattack. Year after year, cyber threats consistently rank among the top three concerns for businesses. 

In contrast, the 2024 Third-Party Logistics Study revealed a unanimous sentiment among industry players. 87% of shippers and 94% of third-party logistics providers emphasized the indispensable role of emerging technologies in driving future supply chain growth. This resounding consensus underscores the critical need to take up alteration in the supply chain sector. 

 

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Primary Targets of Cyberattackers

Cybercriminals tend to focus on specific industries, including healthcare, government, non-profit organizations, and financial institutions. The healthcare sector is particularly vulnerable due to the vast amount of personal data it stores. Ransomware attacks have had a devastating impact on healthcare organizations. The government’s susceptibility to hacking is attributed to its access to sensitive information, while non-profits are attractive targets due to their financial data from donors. Financial companies, such as banks and insurance providers, are targeted for extortion and theft, given their access to substantial financial resources. 

 

Varieties of Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks vary in their motives, ranging from financial gain to data destruction. These attacks aim to disrupt services by overwhelming systems with traffic. They are typically used to disrupt the operations of organizations, causing downtime and financial losses.  

Here are some common types that businesses should be vigilant about: 

  1. Malware: This encompasses a range of malicious software, including viruses, spyware, ransomware, and worms, used to access and compromise systems. Ransomware has become a lucrative method for cybercriminals.
  1. Phishing: Cybercriminals employ deceptive communication, primarily through email, to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as credit card details. Phishing attacks can be highly targeted, known as spear-phishing, making them even more dangerous.
  1. Spoofing: Attackers may impersonate individuals or organizations to deceive victims, often using fake caller IDs, domains, or websites. Spoofing can lead to identity theft and financial loss.
  1. Backdoor Trojan: Malicious software creates secret access points into a system, allowing attackers to take control without detection. This is often used for espionage or as an entry point for other attacks.
  1. Ransomware: Malware that encrypts data and demands a ransom for decryption, often causing severe financial losses. Paying the ransom is discouraged as it does not guarantee data recovery.
  1. Password Attacks: Cybercriminals use various techniques to gain unauthorized access, from brute force attacks to keyloggers. Phishing attacks can also trick individuals into revealing login credentials.
  1. Internet of Things (IoT) Attack: IoT devices can be susceptible to cyberattacks due to limited security features. Attackers may target these devices for various reasons, including data theft or using them as entry points to your network.
  1. Cryptojacking: Attackers compromise systems to mine cryptocurrency without permission, avoiding operational costs. This can slow down systems and increase energy bills.
  1. Drive-by Download: Vulnerable websites, apps, or operating systems may unwittingly download malicious code onto devices. Users can become victims simply by visiting compromised websites.

 

Preventing Cyberattacks

Cybercriminals often target employees as the weakest link in a company’s defenses. Equipping your team with basic internet safety knowledge can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches. Here’s how to train your employees to be cybersecurity heroes:

  • Spot the Scam

Teach your team to recognize phishing emails disguised as legitimate sources. Train them to identify red flags like suspicious sender addresses, urgent tones, and requests for personal information.

  • Surf Smart, Stay Safe

Instruct employees on safe browsing practices. This includes avoiding unfamiliar websites, being cautious of downloads, and only visiting secure HTTPS sites for sensitive transactions.

  • Download with Caution

Educate your team on the dangers of malware hidden in seemingly harmless downloads. Encourage them to download files from trusted sources and verify file extensions before opening.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication

 Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) across all accounts. This adds an extra step beyond passwords, requiring a code, fingerprint scan, or security token for login, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

  • Network Defense

Secure your internet connection with a robust firewall that acts as a barrier, filtering incoming and outgoing traffic. If you have Wi-Fi, ensure it’s hidden and password-protected. Remote workers can utilize a virtual private network (VPN) to create a secure tunnel for encrypted communication.

  • Software Updates

Equip all devices with up-to-date antivirus software and configure them for automatic updates. Regular updates for operating systems, web browsers, and other applications are crucial to patch security vulnerabilities.

  • Cloud Security

Consider partnering with a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) for secure data storage, applications, and collaboration, particularly if you have a hybrid work model. SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) providers offer secure data processing for email and productivity tools.

  • Payment Processing

Collaborate with your bank or payment processor to ensure you leverage the most secure and validated tools and anti-fraud services. Additionally, isolate payment systems from other applications and avoid using the same device for processing payments and casual browsing.

  • Physical Security

Limit physical access to company computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops and mobile devices are prime theft targets, so secure them when unattended. Assign individual user accounts with strong passwords and restrict administrative privileges to authorized personnel. Regularly conduct access audits to ensure former employees are removed from systems and return company devices.

  • Data Guardians

Train your team to handle sensitive vendor and customer information securely. This includes proper data storage practices, password etiquette, and awareness of social engineering tactics that trick them into revealing confidential information.

  • Data Backups

Regularly back up data on all devices. This includes critical documents, spreadsheets, databases, financial files, and HR records. Consider implementing automated weekly backups to cloud storage for an extra layer of protection.

  • Data Access Control

Audit data stored in cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and Microsoft OneDrive frequently. Designate cloud storage administrators to manage user permissions, granting access only to essential information.

 

Education and Skill Development

Promote cybersecurity awareness within your organization, ensuring employees are cautious when handling digital content and verifying the legitimacy of links and email addresses. Invest in cybersecurity skills development to stay ahead of evolving threats and maintain robust defenses. 

 

Conclusion

Cybersecurity is in a constant state of flux, with attackers becoming increasingly adept. Safeguarding against potential threats is vital. Companies like CloudThat, offer these programs, delivering hands-on experience with cutting-edge cybersecurity tools and techniques. Enrolling your team in these programs empowers them with the skills needed to shield your business from the risk of cyberattacks.  

 

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CloudThat is an official AWS (Amazon Web Services) Advanced Consulting Partner and Training partner, AWS Migration Partner, AWS Data and Analytics Partner, AWS DevOps Competency Partner, Amazon QuickSight Service Delivery Partner, Amazon EKS Service Delivery Partner, and Microsoft Gold Partner, helping people develop knowledge of the cloud and help their businesses aim for higher goals using best-in-industry cloud computing practices and expertise. We are on a mission to build a robust cloud computing ecosystem by disseminating knowledge on technological intricacies within the cloud space. Our blogs, webinars, case studies, and white papers enable all the stakeholders in the cloud computing sphere.

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WRITTEN BY Sandra S

Sandra is an accomplished postgraduate in English language and literature from the University of Kerala, hailing from the picturesque city of Kollam. With a strong foundation in language and communication, she possesses excellent written and oral communication skills. Her academic journey has honed her abilities to demonstrate accuracy and attention to detail, qualities that she believes are vital in fostering effective content writing. Here at CloudThat, Sandra works as a Content Intern in marketing, where she learns new skills and abilities that contribute to her professional growth.

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