Many organizations, businesses, charities and, in general, individuals must work with computers.
The bad news is they can’t work as safely as they wish to, which is why they’ve had to protect their computer systems and networks with cybersecurity since the arrival of the internet. In the UK, for instance, the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in its Cyber Security Breaches Survey, found that 39% of UK businesses had suffered a cyberattack. As businesses ramped up their security, they were also able to identify more cyberattacks.
Below is a look at some of the reasons why cyberattacks are so damaging for a business or organization, plus discussion of some of the most common cyberattacks and how you can defend your systems and network against cyberattacks.
Cyberattacks are horrible for a business or organization to deal with and cause so much chaos. Here are a few reasons why a business never wants to have to contend with a cybersecurity breach:
Cybercrime can cause large businesses millions if they fail to protect their data adequately. To protect themselves, businesses have to dig deep into their pockets and invest in cybersecurity technology and expertise, insurance, public relations support and, if an issue occurs, in notifying people of the security breach.
In a ransomware attack, hackers can prevent workers from accessing their computer systems until the organization pays a ransom. This financial cost can also be a major burden for the organization.
As well as financial damage, an organization can suffer disruption to its operations. While the organization or business is dealing with the interruption to its operations, it could be losing lots of business revenue. Operational disruption of business as usual is a favoured tool of “hacktivists.”
The organization, in the wake of the security breach, will also have to figure out how to amend its business practices and spend time implementing these new ways of operating.
A cybersecurity breach can significantly harm a brand’s reputation. If the business has failed to protectits systems sufficiently, customers and suppliers may feel uncomfortable about trusting the organization with their sensitive data. The organization will lose revenue if those customers and suppliers choose to buy from, or work with, another business instead.
Unfortunately for anyone who uses a computer system, there are lots of different threats out there. Here are some common ones:
Malware is so common that there are several different types, such as ransomware, viruses, trojans, worms and more. Malware can help a hacker obtain data from a hard drive, deny access to crucial parts of a network or even bring a system down.
Phishing is extremely common and entails sending out fraudulent emails disguised as coming from a legitimate source. These attacks can target specific individualsor companies, or even specific individuals within a company, such as senior management.
These are a highly attractive form of attack to a hacker. If a hacker gains access to a password, they may be able to access critical information. Popular methods include social engineering, accessing a password database, testing network connections for unencrypted passwords and even just guessing.
These are worrying attacks for organizations, in which the hackers flood the organization’s server with requests it can’t meet. This renders the system unable to process all the requests and slows it down. In the case of a distributed denial of service (DDoS), the server becomes overwhelmed with requests from several infected host machines, which achieve service denial and take the system offline, setting it up for even more attacks.
Hackers are cunning and sneaky, but they can be thwarted if you protect yourself with the right measures. Here are some steps you can take:
ZTNA is possibly one of the best ways to protect your network, in general. This is a set of technologies and functionalities that makes secure access possible on an internal network for remote users. Trust is never implicit, and users access the network on a need-to-know, least-privileged basis. It’s an adaptive trust model.
“Password” is a common password. So is “1234.” Neither of these are strong passwords. Passwords should be at least 15 characters long, unique and random. Computer-generated passwords are a good option because they’re randomly generated and are better than humans at being random.
Educating users about cybersecurity is important. Inform them of the dangers of discussing work-related topics on social media and of disclosing sensitive information in emails or over the phone… how discussing such information publicly can reveal vulnerabilities in the system. Staff must be able to understand their role in keeping the organization safe from cyber threats and should report any unusual activity.
Your organization’s IT and cybersecurity team will be able to help you protect your business by implementing a wide range of cybersecurity tools. Malware protection, firewalls, patch management, secure configuration, listing and execution controls, creating a password policy and user access control, such as the ZTNA discussed, are all measures a business could take.
Hackers will never tire of trying to crack into an organization’s systems, so it’s up to you to make your cybersecurity as strong as possible. Don’t gift hackers with access to your system by not investing in solid cybersecurity. There’s nothing they like more.