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Are small businesses less vulnerable to cyberattacks? Some companies expect to gain security through obscurity. But an organization should not think it is too small for hackers to attack. Instead, small companies become easy targets for cybercriminals since they have less information and fewer resources. And these digital threats result in unaffordable data breaches for privately-owned firms. Expert Insights show that companies with less than 500 employees suffer from a loss of $2.5 million after every cyberattack. Thus, awareness constitutes your primary safeguard against the danger posed by cybercriminals. So, here are some common risks organizations may face digitally.

Threats to look for in 2021

It’s essential to understand the changing landscape of cybersecurity in the 21st century. It’s caused by two major factors we’ll explain briefly here. Firstly, solely depending upon outdated systems and procedures lowers your ability to detect fraud and prevent cyberattacks. And secondly, even if you implement new software and advanced tech, mitigating loopholes takes time and effort. These elements have compelled organizations to seek further knowledge regarding cybersecurity threats and hire the required professionals.

Companies are unable to detect and prevent cyber threats without trained experts working for them 24/7. However, there’s a shortage of such professionals in the industry right now. Consequently, this shortage has created a heightened demand for tech-savvy IT professionals with a knack for tackling cybersecurity issues. Therefore, pursuing a degree in online masters cybersecurity will increase your chances of building a lucrative career. As a cybersecurity expert, it’ll be your job to create awareness about digital threats. And some of these threats companies might face are:

  1. Weak passwords:-

Let’s begin with something simple yet potentially damaging. Your employees aren’t all tech-savvy individuals. They often have weak passwords and passcodes that anyone can guess easily. Studies show that people have also set passwords as plain as the first six natural numbers or simply QWERTY. So, companies should utilize password management applications. These platforms suggest strong passwords to enable workers to secure their accounts. 

  1. Ransomware:-

Companies aren’t unfamiliar with ransomware. As the name indicates, this malware infects your data and then demands some ransom (monetary compensation) for the cure. Arguably, it’s one of the most common (3rd, actually) types of malware and used by over 20% of criminals. According to WEF, in 2020 alone, ransomware cost organizations a massive $1.45 million to rectify the damages. This threat becomes even more problematic when vital information is held hostage for money. Last year, hackers compromised COVID-19 research data and blackmailed a prestigious university. There’s just a single solution to prevent ransomware, and that involves practicing caution while interacting online.

  1. Internal threats:-

Your employees’ actions – caused by either malice or ignorance – also contribute to cybersecurity threats to your organization. A 2017 IT risks report suggested that internal threats caused one-fourth of security breaches. Similarly, a study showed that 62% of employees admitted having access to multiple accounts. Therefore, it is crucial to control the amount of information handled by your employees by regulating authority. Ensure that data travels on a need-to-know basis only.

  1. Cloud vulnerabilities:-

Experts believe that cloud vulnerabilities will endanger many organizations and become the most significant threat to companies in 2021. Since enterprises now heavily rely on cloud-based applications to store data and maintain backups in case of the loss/theft of information. Hence, the cloud contains sensitive data about different companies, employees, clients, vendors, and customers. This information will become a tempting target for potential hackers. Even corporations such as Google and Facebook aren’t immune from the threats posed by weak cloud security. We have examples such as the Cloud Hopper case. So, it’s imperative to invest in better security measures for your valuable data.

  1. DDoS attacks: –

How many DDoS attacks were attempted in 2020? It’s estimated that there were over 4.83 million such incidents in the year’s first half alone. It’s a simple denial-of-service attack in which hackers try to overwhelm your company’s network to disrupt the regular traffic. So, these assaults render your website inoperable. Hackers use previously compromised systems in such attacks while the owner is unaware of the criminal deployment. Now, criminals have been leveraging AI to perform DDoS attacks. Remote workers are vulnerable to these hacking incidents. Therefore, companies must create a DDoS prevention plan, strengthen their infrastructure, and hire the right people to prevent it.

  1. IoT-based attacks:-

People have started relying more on internet-connected electronic gadgets and systems. The IoT market reached $250 billion in 2019, and there’ll be over 30 million such devices in the world soon. But the security issues with these gadgets create openings for hackers to attack these systems and devices. For instance, malware called Reaper gains access to IoT gadgets and begins to reproduce. These viruses make your device vulnerable to DDoS attacks. So, overlooking IoT security has become a significant threat for firms.

  1. Social engineering:-

Social engineering involves fooling people into giving away sensitive information. There are many social engineering types, such as baiting, phishing, pretexting, and others. The hacker will hardly ever come face-to-face with the victim. But he/she will pretend to be someone to commit fraud and get access to valuable information. A survey showed that around 43% of workers admitted they compromised the company’s security at work. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that one-third of data breaches in 2020 involves social engineering tactics. Your organization can adopt the policy of granting access to people temporarily to avoid this scam.

Conclusion

The pandemic brought several challenges for small businesses. They observed a sharp decline in sales as profits plummeted and their marketing endeavors remained unsuccessful. Also, organizations witnessed their cybersecurity getting compromised. FBI reported a fourfold increase in cyberattacks as well since this pandemic began. Moreover, data breaches cost the global economy a whopping $1 trillion alone in 2020, a 50% increase since 2018. Unfortunately, the chances of catching/prosecuting cybercriminals are 0.05%, as per the World Economic Forum. With almost no possibility of detection, awareness seems like the ideal solution to these threats. It’ll help companies become more cautious about cybersecurity.

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