Whether you love technology or not, there is no doubt that devices are becoming a major part of everyone’s life. The current digital world is expanding, with more people adopting work-from-home models and businesses shifting their businesses online. However, as digital activities increase, so does the desire by malicious actors to benefit from this trend, leading to the inception of new cyber security risks.
Over the last few years, several major companies have fallen victim to various cybercrimes, ranging from digital impersonations, unauthorized access, and data breaches. For example, online fraud in the UK in 2021 will likely surpass £17 million by the end of the year. Apart from established companies, new eCommerce stores and companies of other types and sizes are also at risk.
As cybercriminals continue becoming innovative and strategic, businesses should also put up a fight to end cyber security risks by being proactive and always staying ahead of cybercriminals. This begins by identifying the most common threats and how to protect your business from them. Below are the most common cyber security risks you should prepare for.
1. Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are an old cyber threat that rely on social engineering through emails or text messages. To execute the attack, the hacker impersonates a trusted sender, such as your boss or the bank. The hacker sends the message with links and attachments using a slightly altered email address purporting to be trusted individuals.
Most of these phishing emails with links will request you to visit your online account, where they can collect your personal details, such as bank account number, social security number, address, and more, for use in executing the attacks. Currently, cybercriminals have advanced their phishing tactics by rolling out phishing schemes through cloud applications. Delayed phishing schemes have also caught most employees unaware.
2. Network Perimeter and Endpoint Security
Traveling company agents, investors, and other remote employees are at high risk of facing network parameter and endpoint security risks. As more companies and employees switch to remote work models, hackers and other malicious players also jump in to leverage these opportunities.
Unlike physical work environments, most remote work environments lack stringent security measures to protect remote workers from various cyberattacks. Network parameter and endpoint risks are typical risks that arise due to unreliable connections between computers, tablets, phones, servers, and databases.
Fast-paced interactions, mostly through mobile phones, increase susceptibility to phishing schemes as most people don’t verify these links. Most mobile devices lack the necessary security measures to protect users from cyberattacks. This is why cyber security experts predict that data breaches occurring through mobile devices, telecommuters, and other off-premises devices will likely increase.
3. Cloud Jacking
More companies have adopted cloud computing, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. Cloud jacking takes advantage of cloud computing services. Here, hackers can infiltrate your company’s cloud and try to reconfigure cloud codes to access sensitive data, eavesdrop on ongoing communications, or take total control of your entire cloud system.
As mentioned, cybercriminals will also use this opportunity to execute phishing schemes by uploading fake instructions, memos, and other malicious files through the cloud. Without proper knowledge, your employees can download these files or act as indicated in the memo, further weakening your company’s security.
4. 5G Security Vulnerabilities
As cyber security attacks increasingly become sophisticated, they will likely take place in new digital spaces. 5G is a recent technological trend that cybercriminals have also explored vulnerabilities. Since its inception, more people have switched to 5G networks to enjoy more data, call time, and save bandwidth.
Unfortunately, due to the rapid adoption of this technology, its security systems haven’t been fully developed yet. This allows hackers to compromise mobile devices and other systems on these networks.
5. Advanced Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks have plagued individuals and businesses for decades. Successfully launched ransomware attacks have caused businesses losses amounting to millions of dollars as ransom payments, which encourages hackers to refine these attacks routinely. Unfortunately, these attacks don’t seem to be fading away soon, with Microsoft warning users about new ransomware threats.
Apart from ransomware attacks increasingly becoming sophisticated, the dark web has made it easy for attackers to purchase ransomware kits. As such, while future ransom attacks will likely reduce due to heightened vigilance, they will become powerful, posing more threats to businesses. If your business falls prey to these attackers, you will not only have to part with ransom demands but also endure greater costs associated with diminished productivity during downtime and recovery period.
Deepfakes are another rapidly rising cyber security threat affecting individuals and businesses globally. Cybercriminals use artificial intelligence to create deepfakes by manipulating existing videos, voice recordings, or photos to falsify their speech and actions. Deepfakes have been popularly used in politics by rivals to make the other candidate appear to have said or done something that affects their reputation.
As for businesses, cyber security experts predict that malicious actors will use deepfakes to impersonate company employees to gain access to sensitive information. These fake identities can also be used to execute phishing scams and fraud.
7. Insider Threats
Insider threats, which are cyber security risks caused by employees, affect more than 34% of businesses globally. While some of these threats arise accidentally due to employee negligence or ignorance, some are caused by intentional employee actions. Like endpoint security vulnerabilities, insider threats are expected to increase as employees shift to remote work models.
Fortunately, you can employ several measures to mitigate insider threats. Specialized cyber security tools can detect unknown or unauthorized login attempts, monitor the installation of new applications, and devices on restricted networks. However, for effective performance, businesses should additionally train their employees on cyber security issues to prevent such mistakes from occurring.
8. Internet of Things Devices
Nearly all everyday life devices, such as smart security systems, in-car applications, and fitness trackers, are IoT devices. These devices simplify communication without requiring extensive human involvement. For instance, fitness trackers collect and monitor your health and exercise details, such as steps taken, heart rate, calories burned, and more. This data is processed and stored in the cloud.
In some situations, these devices initiate actions on stored data. For instance, you might receive a graph showing your fitness progress or an alert that your heart rate is low or high. Interestingly, more people are becoming reliant on these devices, with predictions indicating that the IoT market will grow by a billion dollars by 2026. Unfortunately, data stored on these devices makes them a prime target for cybercriminals.
While most of these devices are personal, some businesses have adopted IoT for business benefits. For instance, smart devices, such as smart locks, security cameras, smart lights, smart thermostats, and voice assistants, have been increasingly adopted by businesses. With more business information being transmitted through these connected devices, hackers will increasingly target them.
Protect Your Business from These Threats
Without a doubt, the cyber security landscape is constantly evolving. Cybercriminals are becoming notoriously dynamic, regularly improving their attack tactics and using tools that bypass advanced cyber threats countermeasures. Businesses looking to minimize exposure to cyber threats and vulnerabilities should be well-informed and updated about their cyber security structure.
However, since there are endless digital threats and no single solution can protect your business, you should develop a comprehensive cyber security strategy that includes a cybersecurity risk assessment. Sightgain offers practical cyber security risk assessment that provides in-depth visibility to potential threats.