By Steve Cobb, CISO, One Source

It is without question that small businesses and mid-market companies are just as prone to cyber threats as large corporations from hackers who are trying to steal private information or gain access to your networks. With a remote workforce under the current landscape of COVID19, especially vulnerable and isolated employees may be especially unsuspecting. Most important, however, is to be aware that the specific attacks launched against the smaller organizations, are often different from those targeting enterprise businesses.

What is the first step in protecting your business from cyberattacks? Understanding the types of attacks that are out there.

What Types of Attacks Are Out There?

Here are the five most common cyberattacks that threaten small and midsize businesses:

  1. Malware: Malware refers to malicious types of software that threat actors use to cause extensive damage to an organization’s computer systems, networks and data. It may also be used to give attackers access to your network without your knowledge or authorization. The intent of malware is very often to profit in some way, such as through forced advertising, stealing information, spreading email spam or extorting money.
  2. Ransomware: Ransomware is a specific type of malware that attackers use to gain access to a system or network, and then block the organization from accessing it until they pay a ransom. The goal is to stop businesses from being able to perform critical functions, such as a hospital intaking patients or a manufacturer logging orders for shipment. Certain types of ransomware attacks will actually steal sensitive data (like patient data or credit card info in those two examples) and hold it ransom until the sum is paid. This can be especially detrimental for companies in industries with stringent regulatory compliance.
  3. Phishing: Phishing is a type of cyberattack where actors try to lure users into giving up sensitive data or installing some type of malware on their system. Phishing attacks are commonly done over email but they can also be carried out through phone calls and text messages. In an email phishing scam, the attacker might pretend to be a legitimate organization (such as a bank) and send a link that leads to a fake login page. The page is designed to look like the real thing, but when you put in your credentials, the attacker now has access to your username and password.
  4. Credential theft: To steal credentials, hackers will usually try one of two options: a phishing attempt, or an attack that compromises a company’s database with sensitive information, such as social security numbers and username/password combos. Usually, hackers will sell this info on the black market for financial gain, rather than using it themselves. Employees at mid-market companies may be particularly prone to having their credentials compromised, because without proper training or a highly informed password policy, they’re likely to use the same password across different sites. And if a hacker gets a hold of login information for one site, they’ll use it to try and hack into accounts on hundreds of other sites, such as an email or credit card account.
  5. Security infrastructure misconfiguration: This is less of a specific attack and more of a vulnerability that many small businesses find themselves susceptible. If you have a security tool in place, but it’s misconfigured, it is inherently insecure. Hackers are always on the lookout to exploit these types of weaknesses. If a firewall is misconfigured, for example, threat actors can get in and take control of a server. They use this access to deploy some type of payload, either to extract data or for their own financial gain (such as through ransomware).

Why Small and Mid-Market Companies Are At Risk

The bottom line: just because your business or organization isn’t very large doesn’t mean that hackers won’t try and steal your data or make you pay ransom. Every business has data that can be breached and will have some value if hackers choose to exploit it on the dark web.

Threat actors also know that unlike large companies, mid-market businesses are unlikely to have an entire team of dedicated cybersecurity experts in-house, managing a full-fledged security program. Chances are, smaller companies don’t have a cybersecurity strategy at all. They may just have an IT department employee or small staff making decisions about information security without up-to-date knowledge on the best strategies for protection.

To protect against the most common attacks above, as well as other threats, companies need to draw on real, proven cybersecurity expertise and devise a strategy that is unique to their business. While these attacks may be common across all industries, the specific methods used by attackers may vary based on the type of company they’re targeting and their end goals for the attack.

For example, fast food companies may to worry about data breaches that lead to customer credit card information being stolen. A hospital, on the other hand, has strict HIPAA compliance policies to follow to protect patient data. And an Internet service provider needs to ensure that cyberattacks don’t cause any outages in their service. The specific security strategies for these three companies will look very different in practice, based on their vulnerabilities.

Protection Through a Partner

It can be very difficult and expensive to have expertise in-house with the 30% staffing shortage evident in the cybersecurity industry. Your best bet is to partner with a company that offers managed security services (MSSP) and leverage their expertise and best practices to protect your business.

One Source, is a MSSP that has a unique partnership with FireEye to provide quick deployment of our Fortune 100 strength security tools at a mid-market investment. We care about your business and want to help you as your trusted partner to navigate the abrupt and violent storm that COVID19 has generated with new vulnerabilities that come from a remote workforce.

Our solutions are perfectly scalable to your needs, so you can grow in maturity over time while keeping your cybersecurity strategy right-sized. Our experts can lend you years and years of expertise from the front lines of cybersecurity to help you devise a protection strategy that is right for your business.

Download the free ebook “5 Midmarket Cybersecurity Strategies for Companies to Survive the Current Threat Landscape” to make sure you know what to look out for to protect your organization during this vulnerable time.

For more information please schedule a free threat assessment or contact us to schedule a call so we can learn more about your specific business needs.

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