Around 70% of Canadian businesses experience a cyberattack or cybersecurity threat each year. However, a common misconception is that these attacks are only carried out on large or data-heavy businesses. In reality, small businesses are just as, or in some cases, more susceptible, because they typically don’t have strong defenses in place.
Identifying, preventing, and addressing cyberattacks can be difficult because there are so many types of threats that could arise. It’s important that everyone within your small business understands the risks and that you have procedures in place to deal with these threats as they happen. As long as every staff member knows what to look for and is aware of key procedures (both preventative and reactive), your business will be better equipped to handle cyberattacks effectively.
Here are some of the most common types of attacks and how you can deal with them.
What it is:
“Malware” stands for malicious software. It comes in many forms, including viruses, spyware, and ransomware. Malware may restrict or prevent access to certain parts of the network, disrupt or shut down the system, or steal important data.
How to prevent malware attacks:
The best step to take to prevent malware attacks is to install robust antivirus software to protect all of your systems. However, you can also take internal steps to prevent malware like providing comprehensive training for your staff to ensure they understand how malware infects a system and what they can do to prevent it.
What it is:
Phishing is a common attack most people and businesses have experienced. It’s a social engineering cyberattack technique that relies on interaction with people in an organization. Phishing attacks are typically delivered via a communication system like text or email. Once someone clicks on a link or enters some information, the attacker can gain access to otherwise secure data such as credit card information, login credentials, or other personal information.
How to prevent phishing:
Phishing attacks are increasing in frequency and becoming harder to spot. In some cases, the attacker looks like a legitimate source, confusing even its most discerning victims. The best prevention technique for a small business is to implement staff training seminars as well as communication policies and procedures. Ensure staff are aware of phishing scams, know how to spot one, and feel comfortable asking for help if they aren’t sure.
Man in the Middle (MITM)
What it is:
A man-in-the-middle attack (also known as an eavesdropping attack) usually occurs during a transaction, whether it regards financial or personal information. The attacker essentially “eavesdrops” on the transaction to steal sensitive data while installing software that allows them to continue stealing more information from the compromised device’s systems once the initial transaction is complete.
How to prevent MITM attacks:
The most effective approach for avoiding MITM attacks is to encrypt your business’s systems with authentication certificates, SSL certificates, and tough-to-crack system and server configurations.
Denial of Service (DoS)
What it is:
A denial of service attack occurs when a malicious software exhausts your system’s resources so it can’t respond. These attacks don’t have any direct benefit for the aggressor (unless it’s a competitor business) because they aren’t trying to gain access to your information; however, in some cases, DoS attacks can be a stepping stone for another attack that will attempt to gain access to data later.
How to prevent DoS attacks:
Firewalls and system configurations can help prevent DoS attacks. Get in touch with your local IT service provider to find the right solutions for your system.
These are just a few of the most common cyberattacks we’ve seen impact Canadian businesses. Luckily, there are many cost-effective ways to manage cybersecurity threats, including software and hardware installations, staff training and procedures, system configurations, maintenance, management, and much more. If you’re ready to design a long-term cybersecurity plan, feel free to reach out and speak with one of our resident cybersecurity experts at Alt-Tech Inc.