If we’re talking about departments in offices today, IT has it tough not just because of growing trends in tech in various industries, but also because of threats in cybersecurity today. Aside from things like phishing and ransomware, hackers and other malicious entities can find ways to hijack and steal data, ruin transactions, and even cripple entire websites and systems. These all sound grave and dire - and trust us, they are, especially if they’re not dealt with and prepared for properly. However, before we think of measures to protect ourselves from these threats, it may help to first identify what are top cybersecurity threats your company shouldn’t ignore:
- Your software might not be safe. When we talk about cybersecurity, we often think of things like our data, our applications, and even the information we compile from our users. This assumption makes sense, as it’s often these information that malicious entities often target in order to steal data, sell data, or even commit crime involving the data they steal from companies. Here are some of the most common software-related cybersecurity threats:
- Ransomware can be very costly for businesses. Of all the cybersecurity threats we have enumerated in this list, ransomware is perhaps the most damaging. This is a kind of malware that aims to lock an entire system encrypts everything, so only the hijacker can access the device. Malicious entities use this to demand money from the system owners (hence the name), and the money they ask is often hefty.
- What’s worrisome about ransomware is that the attackers may not even follow their end of the bargain when you pay them a hefty sum. This can leave your business crippled and suffer heavy losses should you experience such an incident. And given how increasingly-dependent we are on technology today, having a ransomware attack can put our entire business hostage.
- Always maintain backups and have secure and reliable locations for your physical server. These are good ways to make sure you’re not relying on the cloud for your storage, and that you have easy access to your information even if you’re attacked.
- DDoS attacks can disable your system. More aggressive cybercriminals can try to disable your systems with DDoS or distributed denial of service attacks. These “attacks” attempt to “flood” your server with multiple requests from multiple users. This overflow of users can overload the system and lead it to crash. This causes the system to be next to unusable, and this can be catastrophic for your operations.
- Regularly maintain your server and your software, so that you can manage and anticipate potential server overload. Make sure you conduct regular site maintenance to assess whether malicious entities are trying to login or access your information.
- To avoid DDoS attacks, make sure you allocate budget to upgrade your firmware and hardware to ensure your systems are stable enough to handle heavy user traffic.
- Your hardware might be compromised. Popular companies nowadays often use a mix of hardware and software in order to ensure smooth operations. These include using software like passwords and encrypted data, and most especially gadgets such as work laptops, work IDs, and even other electronics such as keypads and scanners. What’s alarming is that hackers and malicious entities can target these with cyber attacks as well, and the damage this can make can be just as compromising as software threats.
- Algorithm manipulation can happen to unmanaged electronics. As a lot of companies resort to using the Internet of Things (IoT), we tend to leave a lot of work to be done automatically by electronics in the office. We rely on barcodes on our IDs for scanners, a thermal imaging camera for security, or even our work laptops to be maintained by IT. When we don’t regularly update our gadgets for work, cyber criminals can attempt to take advantage of this weakness by manipulating the algorithm in these systems to make data more vulnerable and susceptible for stealing.
- A good way around this is to make sure the gadgets and electronics you depend on in your office are maintained every few months. This is important as this makes room for relevant updates and upgrades in both software and hardware.
- It also helps to do “resets” every now and then, and to regularly replace things such as passwords and passcodes, so things that can be stolen for access don’t stay for very long.
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices might be remotely accessed and controlled. As mentioned, using IoT devices for work can be a seamless part of what you need to do at work. You may have to bring your work phone, work laptop, or even work table to various places when you meet your clients, or when you do work from home. Unfortunately, entire IoT networks can be vulnerable to cyber attacks if they’re not maintained properly.
- If your IoT networks aren’t maintained or protected properly, cyber hackers can use this to infiltrate and steal data, or even disable your systems entirely.
- If you have multiple devices connected to a single IoT network, make sure these are constantly maintained - especially in terms of software that can improve their security.
- Your company practices might be prone to cyber attacks. Improvements in your hardware and software will not be as helpful if your company practices aren’t making use of these developments properly. You should be careful how you orient your staff and your employees how they should practice cybersecurity habits - this is especially if some of them take their work home, or if they deal with a lot of outside elements such as other websites, other applications, and other clients.
- Phishing still persists, and they’re getting smarter. Some malicious entities will try to get access to your company’s systems through phishing, or the usage of email and social sites for cybercriminals to get access to company data and sensitive information. They do this by making you click links or download fake software and files that will give cyber hackers access to your information.
- Phishing attacks today involve making realistic “look alikes” of trusted websites, such as banking websites, online shopping websites, or even social media sites that will ask you to put in sensitive information so hackers can steal your data.
- You can prevent this by taking note of what URLs the websites you usually use have, and to confirm with relevant institutions if these URLs you’re seeing in your emails are correct.
- Third-party apps and programs can be risky. If your company relies on other software or hardware from other teams, you need to make sure they’re reliable and trustworthy. Your systems might be secure, but a third-party app without the right security measures can spell real trouble for your business. That’s because third-party apps that are compromised will most likely have cyber hackers access the data they have.
- You have to be careful when choosing third-party apps, as you need to give them some degree of access to information that may or may not be sensitive for your operations. If cyber hackers get access to this information, they can be used for identity theft, be sold to the market, or even compromise your operations.
- When choosing your third-party app or service provider, make sure you screen them carefully and have your IT team talk with them regarding security protocols. Make sure their security systems are up to date and are capable of protecting the data they can access on your end, and that they have measures to do should they be compromised.
Cybersecurity Threats Today: Security is Fundamental to Success
In today’s times when doing work digitally is just as important as being physically present in an office, businesses have to tackle things like operations, sales, marketing, and even security on both fronts. And if the above information has shared with us anything, it’s that threats in cybersecurity improve and update just as fast as technologies we develop for businesses across all industries. As such, it’s important not just to take note of what these threats are, but to always make sure you have a working protocol in place to protect your data, and steps on what to do in case any of the above cybersecurity threats happen in your workplace.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. And one of the best ways to combat these cybersecurity threats isn’t just to make sure things are in place to “deal” with these threats, but that your systems are equipped enough to protect you from these threats.