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Is your business protected against cyber-attacks?

The first in our 3-part blog series for the annual awareness campaign for cyber security - European Cyber Security Month.

Is your business protected against cyber-attacks?

Why cyber security is crucial for your business

In recent years the digital world has seen an increase in efficiency for businesses of all sizes and a myriad of new opportunities as a result of the exponential growth in technological developments. However, since these developments are also intrinsically linked to the rise in previously unencountered cyber threats, the protection of data, networks and systems in cyberspace – also known as cyber security – will promptly become business essential as devices gradually become more connected to the ‘Internet of Things’.

Businesses should protect themselves against the loss of data and system damages which commonly occur in the aftermath of cyber-attacks, as well as think about how the reputation of the company and their budget would suffer should they be the victims of such an attack.

With cyber-crime becoming an increasingly widespread threat to the public and businesses alike (according to The 2016 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 65% of large businesses and 24% of all businesses in the UK have been the subjects of a security breach), there are five main types of cyber-attacks you should be weary of:

  • Social engineering – exploiting the weaknesses of an individuals, either through sending clickbait links laced with malware, or by physically hacking into their computers.
  • Phishing – a type of social engineering specifically aiming to acquire the personal information of an individual by appearing as a legitimate entity (e.g. fake tax returns, etc.)
  • Pharming – another social engineering technique, pharming redirects the traffic from an existing website to a fake counterpart, thus compromising the information of the user
  • MITM – also known as ‘man in the middle’, is a type of cyber-attack which involves one person who poses as each of the two parties, scamming both endpoints.
  • Drive-by – this opportunistic attack targets a network using a specific system weakness

Malicious software, more commonly known as malware, is a blanket terms used to describe the various types of cyber-attacks utilised by cyber criminals. The most common types of malware include:

  • Viruses – programs which travel from one device to another by attaching themselves to another file and aim to access, steal and/or damage data on the system
  • Trojans, which appear to serve a certain function, but in reality act as a ‘backdoor’ for the cyber-criminal to access the information on a computer or even a whole network
  • Spyware aims to access personal data and/or overtake the device it’s been installed on by means of having the user download corrupted software of open infected attachments or links
  • Worms are a notoriously self-replicating type of malware which does not require a file to attach to – their main aim is to find vulnerabilities in an operating system and allow their author to exploit them

In light of the fact that cyber-criminals tend to exploit any weaknesses they come across, all businesses should make sure they understand the cyber threats they are facing and protect themselves from physical and digital cyber-attacks. A strong IT system cyber security includes, but is not limited to: malware protection, access control, boundary firewalls, secure configuration and patch management.

It’s good practice to dedicate company resources to having a proactive and adaptable cyber security which can protect your organisation against all types of cyber-attacks, instead of concentrating the budget on defence against the most popular cyber threats and remaining exposed to the less menacing ones. Get in touch with our team of IT specialists to discover the best way to protect your business.

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