In 2023, we have already seen significant security breaches for North American companies. Indigo, a Canadian bookstore, was unable to provide online shopping for over a month in February, and MailChimp had data from multiple high-level clients stolen through a phishing scheme in January. No business is safe from the different types of cyberattacks. Even though about half of cyberattacks are against small to medium sized companies, businesses of all sizes need to further prioritize cyber threat prevention and resiliency.
So, what can you do to help your business mitigate risk? Knowledge is power. Having a firm understanding of the most common cyber threats and corresponding protective strategies will help you plan for attacks and adopt crucial security practices. Most attacks on businesses come through emails, either by installing ransomware after a link is clicked or encouraging the receiver to share information. Other common risks include cloud threats, supply chain attacks, and mobile malware. Read on to learn all about the five most prominent types of cyberattacks in 2023.
Ransomware is the most common type of cyberattack. A ransomware attack will install malware (malicious software) to infect your network, hold your data hostage, and then demand payment for its release. The cost of the ransom is often not the most expensive part. Major monetary losses come from lost data and production. Canada’s biggest bookstore recently suffered from this type of damage after a ransomware attack. Indigo’s online bookstore was unavailable for a full month, as they encouraged consumers to visit them in store. Indigo declined to pay the ransom and spent the month fighting to get their site back. But one full month of profits down the drain and a potentially major loss of customer loyalty is no small hiccup. Ensuring all employees are trained to recognize and report suspicious emails is essential to help protect your organization.
2. Cloud Threats
As organizations continue to shift more of their computing to the cloud, this larger attack surface invites an increased number of bad actors. Common cloud threats include account hijacking and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, where companies are prevented access to their data. But brute-force attacks are the emerging trend, compromising over 51% of all cloud threats. Brute-force attacks are used to flood servers with password options until the correct password is used and access is gained.
According to Cybersecurity Dive, “Threat actors automatically scan for and compromise misconfigured cloud services, but the continued use of weak or default passwords poses the greatest threat…”
Organizations can mitigate these risks by using hosted cloud services from reputable IT service providers, like Ironclad TEK’s Ironcloud Hosted IT Services. Strong passwords and an increased use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) are recommended.
3. Mobile Device Malware
A newer cyberattack that is becoming more prominent is mobile device malware. This type of malware is specifically written to attack mobile devices like tablets, smart phones, and smart watches, and is often designed to spread from one phone to another. The ultimate goal for cyber criminals using mobile malware is to steal data, sign users up for services, and then elicit charges to them they did not agree to. A form of ransomware can occur too where attackers lock the device and demand payment to unlock it. This type of cyberattack is a risk to businesses because most employees have work-related emails or files accessible from their phones. Spyware, ransomware, and worms can all be transmitted to a mobile device through emails and SMS texts. Teach your staff to never click a link sent from an unknown person and be wary of suspicious links sent from unknown parties.
4. Supply Chain Attacks
Supply chain attacks target the trusted relationships between vendors and clients, and these are increasingly aiming for the software supply chain. Every size organization now uses multiple software applications to perform daily operations. And as we move further into the cloud with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), companies increasingly rely on these cloud-based software applications. Once a cloud is compromised from a third-party supplier, cybercriminals can potentially gain access to your data by carrying out targeted phishing attacks.
Business News Daily tells us, “Cybercriminals looking to maximize the scope of their attacks have increasingly targeted third-party vendors with the hopes of using them as a stepping stone to target thousands of downstream clients in supply chain attacks.”
From 2021 to 2022, the amount of phishing attacks more than doubled, making this form of cyberattack a serious threat to businesses. There are a few different types of phishing attacks, but they mostly start with an email. A general phishing attack is an email that targets anyone who opens it. But there is an increasing amount of “spear phishing” attacks. These are directed at a specific employee within an organization, and they often look identical to an email this person would normally receive causing no alarm. But by then, it’s too late.
Dominant email marketing software company, MailChimp, suffered a type of phishing attack in January of this year, where attackers gained access to 133 customer accounts, one of those being WooCommerce. There was significant data loss in the breach. This is a perfect example of malicious actors increasingly targeting larger organizations.
Partner With Ironclad TEK and Be Prepared
Effective cybersecurity procedures are essential in today’s economy. However, in 2023, businesses need to increase their focus on cyber resiliency. This goes beyond protection to include recovery and continuity after a cyberattack. At Ironclad TEK, we provide the services needed to protect your organization from malicious actors through Managed IT Services, like network management, managed virtualization, and data backup solutions. And we can protect your data with advanced security protocols by hosting it in our Tier 3 Data Centre.
And should your organization be compromised from a phishing scam or via a third-party vendor, we can help you resume operations and mitigate losses with effective disaster recovery solutions. We have the expertise you need to set yourself up for success. Contact us today!