The landscape of cyber security has shifted drastically in recent years. With every innovative comes new opportunities for cyber criminals to attempt to gain access to business systems. Artificial intelligence, for instance, has been used to bring outdated methods of cyber attack back to the frontlines. Indeed, this is one reason cyber security threats for businesses are becoming more common.
In this post, we’ll be covering our top 5 cyber security threats facing businesses in 2023, along with tips for combating each.
Impact of cyber security threats on businesses
Cyber security threats can be hugely damaging to businesses. Large organisations can be just as affected as small and medium sized businesses. In the case of the former, cyber criminals often target larger companies to cause more damage and secure a greater benefit. SMEs frequently get targeted because they are less likely to have significant cyber security defences.
Many cyber security threats arise due to weaknesses in a business’s digital infrastructure. For example, a hacker could gain access through a vulnerability in a company server. As such, some of the cyber security threats we’re discussing today can be neutralised with an extensive cyber security audit.
Top 5 current cyber security threats for businesses
A cyber security threat is defined as an individual or third party attempting to gain access to systems for malicious purposes. Most threats are motivated by financial or political goals. However, there are many different types of cyber security threats that a business can be faced with.
Malware, short for ‘malicious software’, is a type of cyber attack that uses automation to execute unauthorised system actions. There are many variations of malware, each using different technologies and methods of delivery. The most common types are:
- Trojan Horse – malware hidden within an application or internet download.
- Worm – malware that actively spreads through a network through replication.
- Virus – malware designed to attack computer hardware. The malicious code can damage files, programs, and essential parts of the operating system.
Some kinds of malware will target a company’s sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card details, and other personal data. It is then encrypted to be inaccessible to the business. As the name suggests, ransomware is used to extort the victim. The attacker threatens to release or destroy the data within a certain amount of time unless a payment is made.
Widely considered the most varied cyber security threat, phishing targets the human elements within a business’s digital infrastructure. Phishing uses social engineering to persuade victims to take actions that are beneficial to the attacker. For example, an email that asks employees to enter their account details due to a system update.
Phishing attacks typically take place over email or text message. These formats are ideal as they allow for the inclusion of links and attachments which, when clicked, trigger a malware download. Therefore, the potential damage of a successful phishing attack can be felt throughout an organisation.
Many businesses struggle to protect against phishing because they use unorthodox cyber threat strategies. CyberWhite has a range of anti-phishing solutions utilising IRONSCALES technology. Equally, you can gain some insight by reading our blog on the common cyber security mistakes employees make.
SQL injection attacks
An attack using Structured Query Language (SQL) can infiltrate an application and allow databases to be viewed and modified. SQL injection attacks vary in severity. At the low end, they can be used to delete or make changes to data. In the most extreme circumstances, an SQL injection can take control of an entire database.
As with phishing, password hacking bypasses many cyber security defences as the technique seeks to gain system access ‘legitimately’. Criminals today can develop and use sophisticated programs to test passwords for weaknesses. Gaining access to employee accounts can reveal a variety of sensitive information that relates to both customers and the company’s operations. Business Email Compromise of high-level employees then allows cyber criminals to conduct more effective attacks such as phishing.
As the name suggests, insider threats originate from inside the organisation in question. This could be due to the actions of current or former employees, contractors, or associates. Due to their past privileges, these actors pose a security risk by having the ability to access sensitive company data. Insider threats can manifest intentionally, or as a result of carelessness.
Best practices for defending against cyber security threats
- Backup important data – having external copies of sensitive information can prevent malware and ransomware from being effective.
- Perform system updates – many applications and programs will run updates specifically to remove vulnerabilities. As a result, systems that are out of date pose a security risk.
- Educate workers – provide cyber security support that raises awareness around threats. Employees should understand how a cyber security threat works, its intent, and what precautions they should take. A knowledgeable workforce can protect against phishing attacks and password hacking.
- Consider multi-factor authentication – increases business account security and ensures protection in the event a device becomes compromised.
- Create a cyber attack plan – you need to be prepared in the event a threat progresses past your infrastructure defences. This plan should outline responsibilities and processes to return the business to functionality.
Experienced information security consultants
At CyberWhite, we are at the forefront of the cyber security industry to protect businesses from the various threats they face online. This also helps us identify and neutralise cyber security threats quickly when we’re partnered with a business. With our cyber security consulting services, you’ll be able to stay a step ahead of online business threats. Contact us today to use our cyber security health check service.