The Five Most Common Cyberattacks against Businesses in 2021
Ransomware has been dominating headlines in 2021 so far. With massive corporate targets like Colonial Pipeline and meat supplier JBS, cybercriminals are intent on getting a massive payday. With the migration to remote work, the number of security threats and exploitations, have increased massively. In fact, cyberattacks have spiked astronomically, according to study by Deep Instinct, which reported that there has been an increase of 358% in attacks involving malware, and 435% for ransomware.
To help business organizations stay vigilant, in this article we cover the most common cyberattacks targeted at businesses in 2021, along with tips for mitigating them.
As mentioned above, ransomware has seen a massive increase in usage and success in 2020 and 2021. Buoyed by the increasing popularity and accessibility of cryptocurrency, ransomware is a go-to for cybercriminals looking to exploit corporations for considerable amounts of money. Cryptocurrency offers an easy way for payouts and is almost completely anonymous, allowing hackers to grab the cash and disappear.
Ransomware, like other malware, needs to gain access to a victim’s computer or server before it can install itself and run its protocol. Once ransomware is installed onto a computer, the malware will encrypt the hard drives of the machine and completely lock out any users. In order to gain access to the device and decrypt the system, the attacker will demand a ransom that is to be paid in exchange for the decryption key.
Ransomware is an incredibly effective tool because it can completely disrupt and disable systems without destroying them. So when it’s used against organizations that could potentially lose millions of dollars due to an inoperable system, paying a ransom can seem like a reasonable solution to solve the issue.
Methods of preventing ransomware are similar to most other malware preventative measures. Increase awareness of employees on the possible threats they might encounter, and implement spam filters to prevent malicious emails and messages. These measures will go a long way in protecting business assets from being victimized by malicious ransomware attacks.
Phishing has been a popular form of cyberattacks for many years thanks to the prevalence of emails. Phishing attacks use businesses’ heavy reliance on email to target victims and get them to download malware onto their computers. From there, the malware can steal information, provide the attacker with access to the computer, and more.
Email firewalls and filters have done a great deal to filter out and prevent phishing attempts from reaching the recipient, but it is still an issue for businesses as well as individuals. As much as 92% of malware is delivered by email, so it is an important issue to deal with head-on.
While the majority of these emails can be filtered out and prevented by software, it only takes one to get through and expose an entire network to the security risk. That is why companies should take extra precautions and train staff and employees on what to look for when it comes to phishing attempts.
3. Social Engineering
Social engineering offers a different approach from the typical spam and malware attacks. Instead, it deals directly with humans and social interaction to gain access to computers or important information. Social engineering has been incredibly popular with typical scams to gain credit card numbers and personal information, but more attention is being dedicated to using this type of attack to gain access to business systems and servers.
A securitymagazine.com report discovered that 93% of the data breaches investigated in the report were due to human mistakes. Cybercriminals understand that employees are one of the biggest security vulnerabilities, and social engineering is specifically designed to exploit that to its fullest.
In order to combat social engineering attempts, it’s vital that companies focus on educating and informing their employees of the potential security threats that are out there. Explaining what to look for can significantly enhance the security of the network by ensuring employees will not be caught off-guard and exploited.
4. Database Vulnerabilities
Vulnerabilities will be a constant problem with any server and software. As new technology is developed and implemented, it can come with a price. Hidden bugs and flaws can be exploited by malicious actors and used to gain access to computer systems. Companies do their best to try and patch security flaws as they are discovered, but there will always be another hole to get through.
This is why it’s incredibly important to keep systems and software up to date as best as possible. Without proper updates, cyberattacks can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain access to networks and potentially expose a large amount of data and personal information.
5. Smishing (SMS Phishing)
Smishing is a newer term and is not as popular as its big brother phishing. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. With the incorporation of two-factor authentication and other technologies that use SMS messages, smishing cyberattacks have seen an increase in use. Cybercriminals use a text message with a link that can then download malware onto the user’s phone.
These types of cyberattacks are quite dangerous because there isn’t a lot of software currently developed to prevent and filter out these messages. This means that users can be exposed to all sorts of potential security breaches without even knowing it.
Businesses should be on the lookout for SMS messages posing as banks or other businesses supplying a link or asking for personal information. Keeping employees informed on what to look for is key to combating this potential security threat and stopping it before it becomes an issue.
Cybercrime has increased tremendously over the last two years. The pandemic introduced a lot of security vulnerabilities into historically well-secured networks, leaving many businesses exposed to potential security threats. However, the majority of security issues can be traced back to human error, which means informing and educating employees can significantly improve security and prevent breaches.
IT security experts like Outsource IT can ensure companies remain safe and secure against the countless security threats and cyberattacks that occur every day. Whether it is a simple security consultation or full-on support and management, Outsource IT is available and ready to assist businesses with the solutions they need. Contact an Outsource IT account manager to learn more.