As daily work and life routines become increasingly digitized, so do the risks of conducting business online. Cyber incidents with serious consequences can happen to any business, regardless of size or industry. Understanding incident preparation in cyber security can help your business avoid the worst.
Incident Preparation in Cyber Security
The following are some examples of common types of incidents to look out for:
Phishing is an online scam in which criminals send emails or instant messages claiming to be from a legitimate organization. These messages typically contain links to bogus websites designed to steal your personal information, such as your login credentials or credit card number. Phishing attacks can be challenging to detect because scammers use familiar logos and language to dupe their victims.
A denial-of-service attack makes a computer or other service inaccessible to users. Attackers carry this out by flooding the victim’s computers or network with requests, rendering it unable to respond to legitimate traffic or causing it to crash. Such attacks can be excessively disruptive, resulting in significant financial losses.
A ransomware attack occurs when hackers encrypt a victim’s data and demand a ransom to decrypt it. Encryption is the process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format. Only a secret string of characters called a “key” can convert the unreadable format to readable data or decrypt it. Ransomeware attacks can be incredibly detrimental to individuals and organizations since they frequently lead to financial or data loss.
Simply speaking, standard query language (SQL) is a programming language designed to manipulate an organized collection of data called a “database”. Programmers typically use SQL to retrieve or store data in the database. An “SQL injection” attack happens when unauthorized users—cybercriminals, find an opportunity to execute malicious SQL code in a database. Cybercriminals use this code to change, steal or delete data, posing a serious risk to any website that relies on a database.
Malware is a broad term for software that undermines or compromises computer systems. It can take the form of viruses, Trojans, or spyware. Attackers use malware to steal personal information, corrupt files and even disable systems. Businesses of all sizes are vulnerable to malware, which can spread undetected from one compromised system to another. According to recent reporting, half of all cyberattacks target small businesses.
Real Cyber Incidents Experienced by Small Businesses
Sometimes attacks on small businesses go underreported, while data breaches affecting large corporations receive extensive new coverage. Here are two instances of incidents that severely impacted small businesses:
Stolen login information: When the bookkeeper of a boutique hotel began receiving insufficient fund notifications for regularly recurring bills, the chief executive officer (CEO) realized their company had been the victim of wire fraud. A thorough examination of the accounting records revealed a severe issue. A few weeks prior, the CEO had clicked on a link in an email that they mistook for one from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It wasn’t the case. Cybercriminals obtained the CEO’s login information, giving them access to sensitive business and personal information. This attack had a significant impact. The company lost $1 million to a Chinese account and never recovered the money.
Data leak: The CEO of a government contracting firm realized that access to their business data, including their military client database, was being sold in a dark web auction. The CEO soon noticed that the data was outdated and had no connection to their government agency clients. How did this data leak happen? The company discovered that a senior employee had downloaded a malicious email attachment thinking it was from a trusted source. The breach had a significant operational and financial impact, costing more than $1 million. The leak disrupted the company’s operations for several days while the company had to install new security software licenses and a new server.
Collaborate for Success
Your business is not immune to cyber threats. Still, you can overcome cyber incidents by preparing adequate security measures through a cyber security incident response plan. Consider consulting with an IT service provider like us if you need help identifying the right technologies to prevent a cyber incident or help with developing an incident response plan. Feel free to reach out now.