Last year saw the most cybersecurity breaches in history, surpassing 2020’s total by September. Unfortunately, 2022 is already on track to be even worse.
However, there are ways you can protect your business, and it all starts with understanding the biggest threats we face today.
Let’s talk about some of the top cybersecurity threats to watch out for in 2022 and how to protect your business from them!
The 7 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats of 2022
Before we discuss the biggest threats, lets quickly discuss what’s at stake.
If you run a small business of nearly any kind, you almost certainly have passwords, encryption, and data related to financial information, customer data, and more.
Now, if that information is breached, there’s no getting it back. You may close the cap, but you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, especially if you don’t notice right away.
Believe it or not, the average business takes 191 days to even notice a breach. By then, there’s nothing you can do about it.
To be clear, anything on this list can be a result of social engineering attacks like phishing. Phishing is simply the means through which cybercriminals will invade your network.
However, it’s best to understand that phishing scams are becoming far more sophisticated than ever before.
Also, there’s another looming issue; you may know how to avoid these scams, but if even one of your employees doesn’t, then your system is vulnerable.
Currently, with the rise of deep fake technology, some phishing scams are becoming nearly impossible to defend against. Even if you know the generic scams, you may share information to an email from someone with the same name, writing style, and electronic signature as someone in your office.
Unfortunately, due to their effectiveness, targeted phishing scams are becoming more widespread, and there’s no software that can protect against them. More on that later.
Of course, phishing isn’t the only social engineering concern, but it is one of the biggest.
Without a doubt, the scariest technology for small businesses is ransomware, and it’s only becoming more sophisticated. There’s even an industry dedicated to it, known as ransomware as a service (RaaS).
Once your system is infected (through any means), attackers will hold your data for ransom and only relinquish it for a set price.
Unfortunately, most business owners are left with no choice and no room to negotiate. For most businesses, losing their data means losing the entire business, which is the case for many small businesses.
Remember, the average cyberattack costs small businesses $200k, and most small businesses are powerless once ransomware enters your system. Because criminals have so much leverage in this situation, you could easily be forced to pay double that.
3. Weak Passwords
Like phishing, this is another way for malware, ransomware, and other scams to get into your system. There’s a reason why more websites are requiring passwords with numbers, symbols, and capital letters; weak passwords are a threat.
Within your network, data storage, and any other sensitive system, the best practice is for everyone to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication when possible.
If you don’t think hackers can “guess” a password, it was a weak password that led to the Colonial Pipeline breach that nearly shut down the world economy last year.
4. Physical Theft
Another concern that’s often overlooked is stealing your data physically. Anybody who has access to your hard drives, especially with weak or non-existent encryption, can access all of your data.
Well, there have been many cases of insider attacks from employees, weak physical security on-site, and more that have led to these attacks.
Moreover, locking your doors and using security cameras can only do so much. In most cases, secure cloud storage is the only real solution, as it will eliminate the need for a hard drive.
5. Remote Work
Okay, let’s be clear. Remote work is not inherently a threat.
However, when employers rush into remote work without considering the impact on cybersecurity, then it becomes a serious threat. There are too many factors involved in-office, and even more to consider when everybody is using different equipment with different systems.
Now, this is especially challenging when companies use hybrid work settings, as they are likely to use multiple networks during any given week. If you have employees that travel a lot for work, this is an even bigger concern.
Have your employees use a VPN and change it up regularly, ensure that you are always using secure file sharing, and have employees use company equipment for work that’s updated regularly. While it won’t be perfect, it will dramatically improve your security when working remotely.
6. Watering Hole Attacks
Another social engineering attack to watch out for, especially if you use certain online portals, is the “watering hole” attack.
This attack aims to guess and observe which portals and online spaces (chat rooms, forums, etc.) an organization uses, and to infect them with malware using that online portal. Unfortunately, these attacks are often industry-wide, as similar organizations tend to use similar online programs.
7. Not Recognizing the Problem
Lastly, and most importantly, is that so many business owners don’t see themselves as a target. Without a doubt, this is the most dangerous mistake you can make for your cybersecurity.
Once you develop the mindset that this won’t happen to you, or if you don’t keep employees in the loop about it, you’re opening yourself up for attack. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself.
How to Protect Your Business
First, why are small and medium-sized businesses under such a grave threats of cyberattack? Well, the answer is more simple than you think.
A small-scale cybercriminal won’t have the resources to successfully attack a large financial institution or a company like Apple, where they could easily steal millions. Also, it may not be worth it to attack random individuals, even if their systems are easy to infiltrate.
Well, that puts smaller businesses in the sweet spot. On average, their systems are far easier to infiltrate than larger businesses and they tend to have a far greater prize than individuals.
Fortunately, that creates an opportunity to protect your business.
Use the Right Software
Proper data storage software, anti-malware software, and updated internet-based systems will go a long way to prevent certain cyber threats. This is an easy investment that can dramatically improve your systems overnight.
Invest in Cybersecurity
Honestly, there’s no substitute for a professional IT team, but you don’t have to break the bank. Most small businesses can’t afford an in-house team, which is one of the reasons why they are such a prime target.
However, doing what you can to protect your systems is more important than ever. Believe it or not, 60% of businesses fail within six months after one cyberattack.
Fortunately, with managed IT services, you can keep your systems protected around the clock, monitor your systems, and identify and isolate a potential breach within moments.
Create Strict Protocols
Regarding passwords, updating software, anti-virus protection, network security, and more, your company needs to have safe protocols and good digital hygiene to protect your company’s most valuable assets.
For example, having staff change their passwords every 90 days, offering a guest network for personal devices, and using a VPN for remote workers are great ways to protect your system from specific threats.
However, it’s always best to have the right IT services to help you implement these protocols and make appropriate suggestions based on your current systems.
Unfortunately, there is only one way to protect your business from social engineering scams, and that’s with the right protocols and education. Without both, any one of your staff could make an irreversible mistake.
Remember, it’s one thing for you to know how to protect your systems. However, if even one person with access to your system is not educated on the matter, then you wasted your time learning about prevention.
For that reason, your staff needs to be kept up-to-date with your latest security protocols, learn how to recognize a scam, and where to report suspicious activity.
Now that you know some of the biggest cybersecurity threats to worry about in 2022, it’s important to protect yourself as soon as possible. With the right IT services in Chicago, you can protect your network, educate your staff, and keep your business safe.
Stay up to date with our latest cybersecurity news and feel free to contact us with any questions!