Cybercriminals spend their time looking for new ways in which they can bypass security measures. In fact, over half of the people in the Cybercriminals world, today believe they've already experienced a breach in their online security. This number is growing at an alarming rate today. While threat intelligence software will be helpful in protecting people here, there are also some other things you should know.
Cyber Security Risks Today
Although big businesses are the main target here, small and mid-size businesses are also becoming more of a target today. Simply put, cyber attacks are a problem for everyone, everywhere today. In fact, the U.S. Secret Service worked alongside Verizon Communications forensic analysis unit in 2010 to determine that over 60% of the 761 data breaches that occurred that year targeted businesses that had less than 100 employees.
There once was a time when hackers only targeted multinational corporations because they had more to offer. However, today it's really easy to reap these same rewards by casting a bigger net. Small businesses are now under siege just as much as big businesses although they don't realize it many times.
When a small business does experience a cyber attack, it's often a death-blow for them, unfortunately. This is scary news especially since the National Cyber Security Alliance has statistics that show 20% of small businesses experience such an attack every year. They delved a little further into this issue and found that of this 20%, just 6 months later 60% of businesses actually had to close their doors for good because of the attack.
IP Watchdog says it's time for businesses to be much more vigilant in today's playing field. While pop culture makes us think of hackers as people or small groups who hide behind their computer, this isn't today's reality. Hackers no longer have to work feverishly to penetrate a business' infrastructure. Instead, they can use automated programs to scour the Internet on their behalf. This is why two keywords are predominantly used to describe an identity thief today: automation and vulnerability. Coupled together, these can cause a lot of damage.
Preparing for a Cyber Attack
Knowing that automated hacking programs exist, tilting the playing field to the hacker's advantage, your company needs to be ready for an attack that could happen at any time. Having extensive threat protection in place only limits the hacker's advantage slightly. This is because hackers are continually searching for vulnerabilities they can exploit.
As a business, you must prepare for a cyber attack before one even happens. Network World says there are a few ways in which you can do this, including:
- Create an actionable incident response plan. Include procedures for responding to and managing the damage of a cyber attack. This not only minimizes work stoppage but it also helps law enforcement find and apprehend the cybercriminal.
- You may not be able to afford to protect your entire business, but you can identify key assets and protect those. This means determining what data, assets, and services you value most to protect the most.
- Talk to law enforcement before an attack even occurs. Forming a pre-existing relationship with them will help facilitate any interaction if a breach occurs. Since you'll know you can trust them, it's easier to share beneficial information with them.
Responding to a Cyber Attack
Unfortunately, even a small attack can cost your business a lot of money. This is why it's so important to secure your IT system before anything ever happens. Doing so not only protects your data but minimizes any potential damage too. Just removing malware isn't good enough because this is a symptom of the attack. You must isolate the compromised part of your network and work to identify the breach's source. At the same time, it's equally important to change your admin passwords immediately.
Going offline is a bad idea because it tells hackers they've been spotted. They'll go silent so you can't identify them but you'll lose a lot of data. This is why you should block the compromised part of your network instead. You simply place an isolated VLAN or set up a firewall to prevent further damage while determining where the threat came from.
Since isolating your network can slow your business down a lot, you need to have backups ready. This is a good idea anyway since your system may become too compromised and you have a lot of your customer's sensitive information there. Make sure that you run your backups on a regular basis, which is a lot easier when you're using a good web hosting provider who offers you great options on their servers in this regard.
When you've been the victim of a cyber attack make sure you always tell the authorities. This isn't just an important part of reputation management, it also helps you protect your customers. Of course, you also need to let your customers know what happened. It's a good idea to let them know right away that you've taken every step possible to keep them safe – even contacting the authorities. Just make sure that you've given the authorities all the evidence so they can easily assess what's going on. This usually keeps you safe legally because customers are less likely to take action when they see you're really trying to make things right. They will place their trust in your good faith efforts instead.
With more and more cyber security threats happening today, it's important that businesses stay alert. You never know when a worst-case scenario may happen. Even if you have the best website security hackers won't stop trying to find their way into your system and once inside they can cause a lot of damage. This is why it's so important to have a plan to deal with the problem before it even happens. Of course, being smart is even better than responding quickly but regardless of how it happens, you just simply need to always be ready.
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