Cybercriminals often target small and medium-sized businesses expecting them to lack the high level of network security often found at larger enterprises. With cybercrime constantly evolving, SMBs need to stay on top of emerging cyberthreats and the best ways to protect against them.

An important starting point in protecting your business against the high cost of cybercrime is knowing what the most common cyberthreats are. Let’s start with six of the most common cyberattack methods that threaten SMBs.

1. Insider Threats

Cybercriminals recognize that targeting insiders often works just as well as more sophisticated methods of attack. A common tactic involves criminals offering existing employees monetary rewards for providing access to systems.

Insider threats can also occur when disgruntled former employees retain access to critical systems and use such access for nefarious purposes. It is imperative to enforce the principle of least privilege to all current employees, which ensures they only get access to the systems and data absolutely necessary for completing their daily work. Immediately revoke all access to IT systems for employees who have left your business and change any passwords for accounts to which they may have had access.

2. Password Hacking

One of the main reasons that cybercriminals still attempt to hack passwords is that people tend to be careless when creating them. Several studies have shown that people often choose from a small subset of predictable passwords ( “password,” “qwerty” and “111111” still top the list). If a hacker correctly guesses an employee’s password, they might find an easy-access route to sensitive company data.

Make sure you attempt to educate employees about the usefulness of a random password. You could also consider requiring two-factor authentication to access IT systems, which would mean employees need both a password and a verification code sent to their mobile device or email to get access. Additionally, using a tool like a password locker that helps create complex and randomly generated passwords can be useful.

3. Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that blocks system access until the attacker receives a specified sum of money. Ransomware attacks are costly because they result in system downtime, which may impact on your ability to conduct normal business. Protect your business against ransomware by instructing employees never to click suspicious or unverified links and never to use untrusted removable drives in their work computers.

4. Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is a new type of attack in which a hacker secretly uses a computer to mine for valuable cryptocurrency. Cryptojacking often leads to frustrating system slowdowns, which can compromise productivity and efficiency. Block scripts from running in browsers and monitor the resource consumption of your machines to detect and prevent cryptojacking attacks.

5. Phishing

Phishing attacks use fraudulent emails and websites to try and coax people into giving away valuable information. In a business environment, a phishing attacker often sends an email that appears to be sent from someone trustworthy, including fellow employees or leadership within the company, with a malicious download or request for valuable information. Phishing prevention comes from educating employees about the telltale signs of a phishing attack, such as suspicious emails and untrusted websites.

6. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

DDoS attacks overload computing resources using a network of multiple compromised computers (botnets) to inundate your servers with data. The aim of a DDoS attack is to make your online IT systems unusable. Businesses can prevent DDoS attacks using special software specifically designed to combat such attacks.

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Maintaining Cybersecurity for SMBs

Keeping cybersecurity airtight from every angle requires considerable monitoring, maintenance and resources. Many small and medium-sized businesses can’t afford to devote that much time or effort towards effective, round-the-clock security. Instead, they outsource their security to experts that can manage it reliably for them.

Peters & Associates is a globally-recognized managed IT security services provider. We offer ongoing IT support and management from industry experts so you can maintain safe and secure operations without devoting the time and effort required to train and retain a full IT security team. To learn more about how we protect our clients’ IT, check out our services overview. If you’re ready to secure your business so you can optimize your team’s efficiency and productivity, contact one of our experts today.