As the world becomes ever-reliant on technology, UK businesses face an increasing number of cybersecurity threats, costing an average of $3.88 million per breach.
The statistics are showing an upward trend, indicating that efficient cybersecurity measures have become more crucial than ever. To avoid potential cyber-attacks, it is essential to have a clear understanding of their nature. Our blog post delves into the top five cybersecurity threats that businesses encounter and provides practical guidance on how to avoid them.
Phishing is a fraudulent practice that involves using fake emails designed to look like authentic messages from reputable organisations to obtain sensitive information. This low-tech and cost-effective method is the most common cyber threat facing businesses today, with around half of cyber-attacks in the UK involving phishing.
While email systems are increasingly adept at dealing with malicious activity, threat actors don’t rest on their laurels and continue to try new tactics. Organisations need to depend on their employees’ capability to identify the signs of phishing emails. Additionally, they can ensure the safety of their employees’ accounts by incorporating MFA (multi-factor authentication). This security measure means account users are required to provide a second piece of information, other than a password, for accessing their accounts. Usually, a single-use code is sent to the user’s phone for authentication purposes. However, some advanced systems request users to provide biometric details like a fingerprint or retinal scan to ensure their identity.
Despite the progress made by organisations to strengthen their system security, password practices continue to pose a major challenge. The majority of accounts rely solely on a username and password for protection, leaving them vulnerable to malicious attacks. If these details fall into the wrong hands, they can cause significant damage.
Passwords can be compromised in two ways – through phishing scams or brute-force attacks. Phishing scams as explained earlier, while brute-force attacks involve guessing passwords through trial and error. Passwords that are related to personal information, such as a person’s favourite sports team or their child’s name, can make them vulnerable to brute-force attacks. These attacks can be carried out by attackers who have personal knowledge of the victim or who can gather information online. Even if this information is not easily accessible, cybercriminals know that these types of personal details are commonly used as passwords and can keep guessing until they gain access.
To keep passwords secure, consider creating strong and exclusive passwords. A strong password should consist of a minimum of 12 characters, with a blend of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols. It’s best to steer clear of easily guessable information such as your name or date of birth. Instead, you can opt for a passphrase, which is a sequence of random words or a sentence that’s easier to recall but hard to decode. Alternatively, organisations can opt to use a password manager for securely storing and generating complex passwords, in addition to creating strong passwords. This would enable you to have unique passwords for all your accounts without the need to memorise them.
Ransomware, undoubtedly, is one of the common cybersecurity events that businesses and organisations encounter these days. The severity of the situation is such that it can easily bring an entire organisation’s operations to a halt. With the ransomware attack, the victim’s files are encrypted, leaving them with no access to their own systems. As a result, the threat actor demands a ransom from them in exchange for the decryption key.
Given this grim scenario, organisations need to be proactive in their efforts to mitigate this threat. Having a comprehensive and robust backup system in place can be a significant weapon in combating ransomware attacks. Regularly testing and updating the backup system can be a game-changer and can save an organisation from the horrors of a ransomware attack. Educating employees on cybersecurity best practices and implementing multi-factor authentication can also go a long way in preventing ransomware attacks. In conclusion, ransomware is a serious threat, and organisations must take appropriate steps to secure their systems and data.
Despite the best efforts of security professionals, insider threats continue to be a top concern for businesses of all sizes. These occur when current or former employees gain unauthorised access to sensitive data that causes harm to the organisation. Some insider threats are intentional, many are accidental, and include anything from stealing confidential data to clicking on malicious links and introducing ransomware into the system.
These types of threats can be particularly dangerous because they can go undetected for long periods of time, and can do significant damage before the organisation even knows what has happened.
Mitigating the risks associated with insider threats is an essential element of any organisation’s security strategy. There are a number of steps that can be taken to help prevent insider threats from occurring, such as implementing strict access controls, monitoring user activity, and conducting regular security awareness training for all employees. Additionally, organisations can implement technologies such as user behaviour analytics, which can help identify potential insider threats before they can do any damage.
Poor patch management
Patch management is undoubtedly a crucial aspect of cybersecurity, especially considering the common security incidents that arise due to unpatched systems. A patch, in simple terms, can be described as an update that is released by vendors in order to fix any vulnerabilities or bugs in their application or software. However, it must be applied immediately on release, otherwise the vulnerability is public and allows threat actors the opportunity to exploit weaknesses.
By installing these patches immediately, organisations can effectively mitigate potential security breaches and safeguard their systems against any potential threats. To develop a patch management program, it is recommended for organizations to adhere to the guidelines provided in Cyber Essentials. This UK government program lists five essential controls, including patch management, which can help prevent the occurrence of up to 80% of cyber-attacks.
Handle common security incidents with the cybersecurity experts
Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, posing a significant risk to businesses of all sizes. To protect your business, it’s essential to be aware of the most common cyber threats and take appropriate measures. Partner with the managed security experts at INTELLIWORX to help you learn more about these threats and how to handle them to keep your business secure.