The Most Common Hacking Risks Businesses Face and How to Reduce Them
Cyber security is serious business that your business should take seriously. It doesn’t matter your business’ size or sophistication — anyone can be a target of a cyber attack. A University of Maryland study found that hackers launch cyber attacks somewhere on the internet once every 39 seconds, with a whopping 43% of attacks targeting small businesses. Most shocking of all, the FBI has recorded a 300% increase in cybercrimes since the outbreak of COVID-19.
But shocking statistics like these shouldn’t make you feel helpless to prevent the next attack. At Archway Insurance, we value your cyber security. That’s why we are sharing with you three of the most common hacking risks businesses face and how to reduce them:
By far the best way to protect your business from hacking risks is with cyber risk insurance, which we offer at Archway. We’ll provide tips on that, too, but let’s first review the risks your business could face.
Risk #1: Phishing
You open your email inbox to find a new message from a service you don’t remember using, asking you to sign in, at the link provided, to “confirm your password.” It’s an odd request, and you’re not sure if you should click on it. What do you do? If you chose to follow the instructions, you just became a victim of phishing. It’s a form of social manipulation in which an attacker poses as a trusted source in order to trick their target into giving up sensitive personal information, such as passwords or bank account numbers.
It’s the most common form of cyber attack. An astonishing 75% of organizations around the world suffered a successful phishing attack in 2020. With odds like that, it might seem inevitable that one will happen to your business. But there are some ways you can prevent your business from falling prey to these phishers:
- Check for spelling errors, poor grammar, and other similar inconsistencies in emails and text messages requesting your private information.
- Update your passwords regularly and proactively. Phishing scams often pose as legitimate business and softwares asking you to update your settings. Staying on top of your own password security can help you stay one step ahead of scammers.
- Avoid pop-ups whenever possible, especially when visiting sites you don’t know well. Malicious pop-ups often embed a “close” button that will redirect users to download malware or other types of viruses, so make sure to click the X above any pop-ups to close them properly.
Risk #2: Malware
There are plenty of programs capable of causing harm to a computer, server, or network, but malware — short for malicious software — is different. Whereas bugs and glitches can damage your computer incidentally, malware is purpose-built for the task of finding and exploiting weaknesses in your system, and what makes malware especially dangerous is its effectiveness. The average malware attack costs businesses in the United States around $2 million and 50 days of recovery time. Moreover, the costs of malware attacks have risen 20%, with total damages valued above $6 trillion globally at the end of 2020.
You’ve likely heard of the various kinds of malware circulating the internet, with some of them, like Trojan horses, having been around for decades. But how do you stop them? The good news is that the answer is straightforward.
- Keep trusted software up to date with the latest patches. It takes time to learn a system’s weaknesses, making malware more effective against older, better-known versions of common programs. Updating regularly keeps attackers on their toes and you out of harm’s way.
- Carefully review all links and attachments you receive. Malware presents itself as a trustworthy or must-click source, so watch out!
- Avoid downloading materials from unfamiliar or suspicious websites. Ask yourself, “does this look like a legitimate source?” If your answer isn’t a confident yes, back out.
Risk #3: Ransomware
Ransomware is a form of malware that actively seeks out, finds, and then threatens to publish critical personal and business data unless some kind of payment is made to the virus’ sender. Ransomware achieves this by locking targets out of their own computer systems with complex encryption techniques not easily broken. What’s worse, ransomware attacks are increasing, with their numbers nearly doubling in the first half of 2021 and the number of ransomware victims surging 100% in the same period.
Sounds pretty scary, right? Don’t panic yet. You can stop ransomware attacks with the following tried-and-true tactics:
- Maintain backups for important documents and programs. Ransomware often locks victims out of their most current saved files, but could leave older files untouched.
- Have a plan just in case your business is ever targeted by a ransomware sender. Ransomware scams rely on panic and urgency. Having a plan in place will help you make the right decision at the right time.
- Set up an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) that can scan for unusual activity and behaviours associated with malware infection.
Consider Cyber Insurance
You insure your home and car – so why not your internet? As businesses increasingly rely on it for their day-to-day activities, they are exposed to ever greater opportunities — and threats. The likelihood that your business will be subject to one kind of cyber attack or another is high. Whether those attacks are successful is another matter. What matters most of all, though, is that you are protected.
At Archway Insurance, we can help you stay safe with cyber insurance policies that cover:
- Liability claims covering the cost of legal and investigation fees, fines and penalties, and court-ordered payments;
- Expenses and lost profits stemming from business interruptions; and
- Payments arising from illegal, extortionary demands such as those brought on by ransomware.
Don’t let cyber crime stop you from growing your business. For all your business and cyber risk insurance needs in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, call Archway Insurance at 1-833-536-0529 now.