In today’s every-changing, technology-dominated world, one thing remains constant and that’s the threat of cybercrime. The hackers seem to be always that one step ahead. So being vigilant and prepared is essential for all businesses but especially for small ones that may not have the internal IT resources to fall back on of the big corporates. So, what are today’s top three cyberthreats?
1. The internet of things
The internet of things refers to the interconnection of everyday devices and the internet. More and more businesses are using devices connected through the internet of things whether it’s alarm systems, GPS, HVAC or medical devices. But most companies do not realise that these everyday appliances provide hackers with a backdoor into the business’s systems.
Attackers usually use automated programs to locate internet of things devices and once detected, attackers connect to the device using the default admin settings and passwords. These passwords are often freely available and as most of us don’t change them, it’s a simple process for the hacker to gain access. Once in, the hackers can easily install malware, which basically takes the company’s system under their control.
So, carefully monitor all company devices that are connected to the internet. If they don’t need to be connected, then it’s probably safer to disconnect them. And make sure you educate staff about the potential dangers of introducing devices to the network.
2. Algorithm-controlled processes
Increasingly, business processes are being controlled by the interaction and operation of automated, algorithm-controlled processes. However, these processes often have unforeseen and unintended interactions. A good example is the 2014 ‘flash crash’ in US Treasury bonds that saw bond yields drop drastically before the algorithms corrected themselves.
So, rather than leaving everything to automated algorithms, make sure you have some human oversight and monitoring of the decisions and interactions made. And this kind of oversight may be critical depending on the fine print of your insurance policy.
3. Human error
It’s a fact that human error is still one of the biggest potential cybersecurity risks. Whether it’s weak passwords, or staff members inadvertently falling prey to phishing and viruses, through to smartphones and laptops containing sensitive company data being lost or stolen, the cost of human error runs into many millions worldwide. The only way to safeguard against these kinds of security breaches is by a thorough programme of staff training and clear rules around handling and protecting sensitive company information. In addition, make sure all your security features including firewalls, anti-virus software and encryption measures are regularly backed up and updated to minimise the risks.
With up to 60 per cent of small businesses falling victim to cybersecurity breaches every year, it’s incumbent on every company to remain vigilant to the threats. Be proactive and review your security in the light of the threats we’ve identified here. That way you won’t become just another cybercrime statistic.