Cyber Security is a subject that continues to make headlining news. Because every business is at risk of a cyberattack, it’s important to know what types of threats your business could be subject to and understand the techniques you can implement to help prevent attacks from happening.
Types of Cyber Security Threats
There are two ways cyber security threats are generated, internally and externally. Internal threats are the most common and cause about 55% of cyber security issues while external threats cause about 45%.
Internal threats exist within every type of organization. There are a variety of reasons why these threats generate internally, a few of which are due to a perceived injustice, retaliation, excessive privileges, a sense of entitlement, need for attention, and more. Generally, these acts are carried out by malicious insiders who have access to critical information and are paid money to leak it. They could also be a disgruntled employee who is in disagreement with management or was recently terminated.
In contrast, another form of internal threat is known as an inadvertent actor or unwitting suspect. They are employees who unknowingly solicit company information by clicking suspicious email links, practice poor web browsing habits, install virus ridden software, use easy to guess password, leave devices (work computer, cell phones, etc.) unattended and unlocked, and more. These types of internal threats can be easily avoided through employee education and training on safe cyber practices.
External threats are generated outside of the business and consist of hackers, cyber criminals, terrorists, viruses, malware, unknown software vulnerabilities, phishing scams, and more. Some of these terms are difficult to understand, so here are a few explained:
Viruses: Viruses are pieces of code that can copy itself with intent to destroy data or impair a computer system. The two main types of computer viruses are worms and Trojan horses.
Malware: Malware is software intended to damage or disable a computer system. It’s common to get malware from internet ads, hacked websites, or malicious emails.
Phishing Scams: Phishing scams come in the form of emails that appear to come from a trusted or reliable source. Their purpose is to entice the reader to click or open provided links or attachments which contain malicious code. Phishing emails also fool users into providing username and password credentials for network access, applications, and email systems.
Knowing the different types of cyber threats and where they come from will help you better protect your business from a cyberattack. In the event your company is breached, here are two steps to follow in reporting it.
What should you do if your business is breached?
If your business falls victim to cybercrime, it’s important to contact your financial institution immediately.
Other resources to contact in the event of a breach include your local FBI office, county sheriff’s office, police department, or division of criminal investigation. You should also report a breach at ic3.gov.
Gather all evidence that could have led to the breach. This includes any links, attachments, emails, or advertisements that could have caused the issue. This information will be helpful during the investigation in identifying the perpetrator.
Although a cyberattack isn’t always avoidable, here are a few tactics your business can implement to help mitigate the risk.
How Can You Protect Your Business?
Protecting your business before it is a victim of a cyberattack is critical in the prevention process. There are several techniques your business can employ to mitigate both internal and external cyber threats. Here are a few of them:
Preventing internal threats:
- Educate your staff – this is your first line of defense against cyber attacks
- Respect security assessments – both physical and cyber
- Adhere to rotation of duties and changes of control policies
- Analyze your organization’s culture and determine potential threats
- Respect mobile devices and the information they have on them
- Perform tests – phish your employees
- Define what your business is trying to protect
- Report any and all suspicious activity
Preventing external threats:
- Identify security needs and risks – begin with the basics: strong passwords, antivirus, antispyware, intrusion prevention systems, encryption technologies, firewalls, content filtering, secure wireless access points
- Keep your systems updated – Adhere to regular software and system patching schedules
- Backup – Perform regular backups and test restores
- Keep devices safe from physical theft
- Secure your websites
- Get external help!
In summary, cyber security is a present and increasing threat to businesses worldwide. With easier and cheaper accessibility, cyberattacks are more prominent than ever. Don’t wait until after a breach occurs. Take action now to protect your business by implementing safe cyber security techniques.