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How to identify a cyber threat in your SME

Cybercrime is on the rise as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the internet continue to develop. With more businesses moving their data to the Cloud, having a robust cybercrime strategy in place is critical. Let’s take a look at the effects of a cyber threat, the types of cyber threats, and how you can protect your business against them.

The effects of cybercrimes

Cybercrimes can do financial, legal and reputational damage to your business. You may be asked to pay a ransom or need to replace devices which have been affected by malware and this can have a financial burden on your business. If sensitive data has been stolen, you may have legal issues to deal with and lastly, if any of this information gets out to the public you will have to deal with reputational damage.

This is why it is important to identify cyber threats before they occur in your business. It also doesn’t help to hide behind the idea that you are a small business and surely cybercriminals would rather go after the bigger fish in the sea. But this is not true. With AI, cybercriminals can hit more businesses with a single shot than before. So being proactive and putting protocols in place can help you to defend against cyber threats on your business.

The types of cyber crimes

With over 50 cyber threats which could affect your business, here are five key cyber threats to be aware of:

1. Phishing

This is one of the most dangerous cyber threats as it relies on human error and social engineering to get the information they need to hack into the system. You can have the most robust system but if your personnel make a mistake, you could be open to a phishing attack.

Phishing happens when an individual clicks on a false link or gives personal information over the phone. Then the cybercriminal gets the information and can access the sensitive data with the credentials they got from you.

You can protect your business from phishing by having multi-factor authentication. This type of authentication requires that your employee uses another device to enter an additional code or to use biometrics when logging into a system. You should also have security software which can help you to identify emails with may be compromised. And finally, you should educate your staff about what the current phishing scams are and how they can identify them.

2. Ransomware

This is when a cybercriminal gets into your system and encrypts your data so you can’t access this. After this, they will ask you for a ransom to get your data back. These attacks are on the rise as they are the most lucrative and they can cause the most damage. With ransomware, the attacker will ensure that they cripple your business in the worst possible way.

One of the ways to protect your business is to have up-to-date anti-virus software or endpoint security in place. You should also ensure you have a Cloud backup of your data. Ensure you choose a Cloud solution which can grow with you.

3. Malware

This is a blanket term for hackers who create malicious code to gain access to networks so they can steal or destroy data on computers. You may know malware as Trojans or viruses.

You can protect your computer by uploading an anti-virus program and ensuring it is up to date. You should also keep your operating system up to date. Malware can be activated by clicking on a suspicious link, opening an email from an unknown sender, or going on to a suspicious website. Educate your staff on what malware may look like and how it can potentially infiltrate their systems.

4. Human threat

This type of threat can either be malicious or purely out of ignorance. There could be employees, ex-employees or contractors who get access to confidential information that they shouldn’t have access to.

For malicious threats, you may not know of the threat until it happens. This may be a disgruntled employee you let go or contractors whose intent was to harm your company. As for an ignorant threat, this may happen because your employee or contractor doesn’t know any better.

To prevent these threats, you must ensure that when an employee leaves your company, you have cleared all the ways they can access data on your network. You should ensure that employees only have access that is required for them to do their job on your network. Finally, you should do a background check on anyone who enters your business to ensure they are above board.

5. Weak passwords

Nowadays, you need a password for almost any platform which you enter and often people will repeat passwords to make it easier to remember which could be hazardous in the long run.

You should invest in a well-known password manager and ensure that your employees change their access password regularly. You can also make use of multi-factor authentication which sends a message to their phones so that they can gain access to the area with sensitive information.

By reviewing these top five threats you will be well on your way to protecting your business against cyber threats.

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