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10 Cyber Security Threats For Small Businesses| Which May Lead To Bankruptcy!

10 Cyber Security Threats for small businesses picture
Harry Cunningham
How To Protect Your Small Business From 10 Common Threats?

Small businesses have been under the radar of criminals for many reasons. But as you can imagine; The most obvious reasons is that they continuiosly search for easier and cheaper ways to serve their customers.

  • This makes them easy prey to remote attacks online.
  • It also makes their customers victims to potential threats.
  • Cybercriminals can easily cover their trails and secretly eavesdrop between the connections of businesses and customers.

Is Forgetting that we use the internet to provide good service, buy, sell, advertise, research target markets, connect with customers, do online transactions, email and find reputable suppliers.

The internet is a Profitable benefit for low-budget endeavors. The downside OR rather realistic side is that there are risks; that comes with the package!

The Smaller The Opportunity, The Less Resources required; to fill the need!
The Bigger The Opportunity, The More Resources required. -source: unknown-
Sounds Familiar! Huh?
Well technically speaking! You can't save money at the cost of your company's reputation, clients, propriety data, OR secure transactions. Right?
Which brings us to...

What Are The Top Ten Cyber Security Threats for Small Business?

  1. Hacking Attacks: Password Cracking OR Unauthorized Access
  2. Phishing And Spear Phishing Attacks
  3. Macro Virus Threat
  4. 3rd Generation: Backdoor Trojan Horse Risks
  5. The Risks of Using Portable Devices
  6. Mailworm Threats
  7. Pure worm Network Threats
  8. Denial-of-Service (DoS) OR Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
  9. Brute-force, Dictionary OR Exhaustive key Search Attacks
  10. Port Scanning Attacks

1. Hacking Attacks - Password Cracking OR Unauthorized Access:

Already the influx of mobile devices are overwhelming. So much so that our worldly affairs are controlled by the cyber technology.

Look around you and notice how business people remain fixed to their smartphones. This Sudden Popularity of the cyberspace and devices are also attracting all sorts of badware and malicious opportunist.


Allow the numbers of Internet Crime Stats Speaks for itself!

The Internet Growth have forced businesses to adapt, simply to keep up with customers; OR lose market share.

Likewise has cyber threats compelled organizations and countries to step up their security game.

Apart from earth, water, air and space. The world has already accepted Cyber space as a fifth plane of existence
The overwhelming advantages of cyberspace has a similar measure of disadvantages, vulnerability to all kinds of cyber-threats.
This is bigger than your business, bigger than you. It involves: Hackers, nations, political parties, terrorists, industrial adversaries, spiteful people and even by accident.
Cyberwar has become one of the most feared Possibilities. Even beyond military action; according security experts.
Because an attack can manipulate, disrupt or spy on other Country's national defense systems.

While everything appears to be normal; in our day-to-day. Little do you know: In the cyberworld, their syndicate groups secretively searching for weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and gaps; in network defense systems.

The superiority of computers and information technology is Now Powerful enough to involve a global threat.

Can't you see the world is a much smaller place. You make global friends, business partners, conduct meetings, or sell; from your computer.

Understanding the Risks to your Business:

Cyber warfare is now declared by "money hungry hackers" against ignorant consumers and unprotected businesses.

Begin to prepare deployment of your encryption methods and network security layers.

Problem:

Weak passwords can be cracked. Meaning that your security of WPA/WPA2 network encryption is now challenged. The attackers can easily bruteforce your Wifi Protected Setup.

Solutions:

Firstly: Learn how to Create stronger passwords! Which is difficult to bypass and serves well for first layer protection.

Secondly: Cut losses and future short-comings, by employing strong Firewalls, Scanners and Security Software.

Thirdly: Learn more about the hacking methods of the Most Wanted Hacker." You sometimes have to get in their minds to protect yourself and business against their snares.

2. Phishing Attacks:

There are two levels of Phishing attacks; namely client and server.

Server is where the criminals creates fake website under the names of reputable brands. They divert the DNS server to their cloned platform.

While client is where they use an e-mail client as a means, to extract sensitive information out of you, staff or consumers!

According Web server survey research several millions of phishing attempts are from unique IPs and fake websites. What even more revealing:
  • Every 50 IPs hosting phishing sites produce results of up to 1.5 million phishing attacks.
  • Each fake IP is capable of hosting up to 400,000 fake sites.
  • Only a few websites were responsible of about 90% all phishing attacks observed in 2017.

Attackers goes to great extends to hide their tracks. They even use domain names less often, to divert detection.

They also clone the website with copied information, that resembles the original source.

It is also difficult for crawlers to sense the Phishing pages. Because the webpages are completely disguised, even the IP address. Which makes it appears legit to .

Solution: For home users Install Avast Anti-virus software OR any other Free Antivirus Software to protects your PCs from Phishing threats; as well.

3. Macro Virus Attacks:

At the rates things are going now; warding viruses from PCs and devices. Became an everyday duty to every businesses and savvy home user.

Over the years several reports have been produced of up to 90% of business users face several forms of malware; in their everyday work environments.

The Destructive Nature Of Macro Viruses is hard to overlook:


  • The macro virus includes a wide range of computer vulnerabilities; that vibrates with one common goal.
  • Once activated it automatically reproduce copies of itself.
  • It lives up to its inherited name and can spread like a lethal epidemics. Leaving brutal onslaught of global networks and computers.
  • The virus may even gather additional maliciousware ( not included by the author) as it snowballs.
  • The ways of managing our business affairs has digitalized. Even our governments relies more and more on computers and the cyber world.

Better or more destructive viruses are also benefiting from the internet, networks and smart technologies.

If a similar power are macro viruses becoming more bold, independent and replicating faster.

What Does This Mean To You Venture?

Realistically we conclude to the fact that viruses are keeping up with technological enhancements.

As intelligent useful apps becomes, so does the artificial intelligence of viruses.

They can even hide in useful applications, while secretly betraying our trust.

Macro virus are known for infecting important files, while it keeps it in its normal shape. While the user may think everything is in order.

There goes your luck, if you're thought by any slim chance you can detect it with the naked eye.

Conclusion:

The only solution is to use smart scanners, antivirus programs that updates regularly (to keep up with new developments).

4. Backdoor Trojan Horse Attacks:

A brief reminder; there were first and second generation Trojans. These forms of malware keeps evolving and improving. Bluntly stated they're here to stay! You might as well Get used to it!

Fast forward to now...

The third generation of the Trojan horse virus. Which is not really a virus, because viruses are known for replicating itself.

But who knows how it may improve, since the "Third Generation Trojans" are the enhanced version; of the first and second generation.

To make it even more telling is that Trojans keeps intruding more intrusive features.

Trojans takes advantages of TCP/IP protocol. Which is essentially used on networking technologies. The “backdoor Trojan” which is capable of taking control of your system. Is a new advancement of the malware.

  1. The latest Trojans can steal in formation and divert the source, to evade detection.
  2. It can record your Keystrokes and send it to the attacker. Without you even noticing anything odd.
  3. The Trojan keeps its own logs of all your activities, and literally exposes your privacy.
  4. The 3rd Generation Trojans are is a payload given by the attack and runs a genuine document.
  5. The client functionality is the source handled by the cybercriminal used to control the victim's system remotely.

The questions below indirectly tells you how sophisticated these threats became:

How does server section of a Trojan deliver install itself to victim’s device?

How does the Trojan server get activated on a computer?

What methods does a Trojan use to conceal its?

Sadly the answers vary from one to another. All the Trojans has its own unique methods of masking its activities.

And likewise are Trojans sent through several forms of media: Such as attachments in emails.

5. The Risks of Using Portable Devices:

Mobile devices are useful and fits into our busy lifestyles. However it comes with risks and many opportunities for equal disasters.

According Tech Advisory mobile storage devices are responsible for the exposure of up to 25% of maliciousware.

Mobile devices includes: remote storage devices, USB flash drives, and several other external drives.

Because these gadgets are so widely used and easy accessible. They can easily by inserted into any PC and automatically inject malware in several systems.

As technology imporoves so does threats, they are cleverly panted in our mobile gadgets.

By this means they spread effortlessly and bypass our basic firewalls.

The autorun capability of your desktops automatically execute the virus, when you first insert the USB.

That's all the attackers need to spy on your activities, record keystrokes and logins, steal or distribute your data.

At this point the spreading process, becomes easy from computer to computer and may infect your entire home or organizational network.

As a result this tiny devices gives criminals the upperhand to penetrate your resources without much effort.

Most of these devices has weak onboard security if they even have any.

Unaware Staff or employees may unknowing transmit the virus, while listening to their favorite tunes on jump drive.

Smartphones can also infect your Desktop while being plugged in through usb cable while charging or PC, download content, files or infected games.

Portable devices thrives on the concept of convenience, mobility and connectivity from anywhere.

But they don't necessarily support high quality security measures. Which makes them also fertile for malware epidemics.

Users are creatures of habit and tend to keep confidential information on their most convenient storage resource.

We tend to keep credit card details, banking information and propriety data of clients, not thinking of risks.

At the same time we're impulsive and excited for every new available app. Making us vulnerable to download uncertified applications.

Which may have Trojans, Spyware or other forms of maliciousware built in.

Most users tend to leave their bluetooth activated, Which leaves your data open cyber-attackers who can easily search your device, or send malware.

The loss and robbery of smartphones are also a direct threat, to the information it holds.

We're living in the Information era and thieves steals: Organizational secrets, You Company’s information can be used to destroy or blackmail you!

6. Mailworm Threats:

One of the things they have in common with viruses. Is their ability to create copies of itself.

What sets them apart is their super spreading abilities. But there are a few characteristics that sets worms apart from viruses. Which you'll find out shortly!

Like some virus attacks, mass mail-worms hides in an attached documents, however it autopilots your still email service in a specific way that worms does.

In comparison to Pure worms, mail-worms also requires activation from the user. This makes them less dominant to Pure worms, who does not need activation.

Although mail-worms depends on the user to open the email or attached file. It still outperforms the speed of the macro virus.
  • Because after the execution process it powerfully dominates your email client by sending mass mails, immediate replies to incoming mail and goes viral to your entire mail list.
  • The mail-worm automatically search for your mass mailing feature. After detection it sends mass mails of itself in seconds apart.
  • Viruses can never transfer itself so fast, since it depends on the user to send it to others through an email or file.
  • While mass-mail worms does everything in astronomical numbers by itself. Then it does the same on all the users that receives your mail after they opened the email.
  • In this turbo charged replicating process it has the power to spread globally; to all the people on your mail list and theirs, which gives it a viral effect.

There are certain High ranking antivirus programs that can stop worms OR ISP security packages with well-versed Brands.

7. Pure Worm Threats

All that a pure worm needs to execute is From a suitable network enviroment and the internet is the right one.

A pure worm is self sustainable and need no human intervention. It only needs a conducive network and don't need a host, attachment or file.

  1. The worm is powerful and can even control internal communication resources. We're talking all levels including voice, VoIP, data and network resources.
  2. It so intelligent and authoritative that it doesn't require user activation or input.
  3. There combined forms or malware mixtures which resembles traits of viruses.
  4. A Pure worm only depends on the most suitable OR vulnerable network setup, to make it feasible for it to reproduce automatically.
  5. The network must be in such a way where the administrators computer can operate other computers on the network.
  6. Which makes it possible for the worm to download itself, by default on multiple computers. It has the potential to destroy an entire WAN, which is as big as your ISPs network OR more.

In the world of cyber attacks worms holds the most destructive histories, if compared to viruses.

What makes it even more alarming is that the world wide web, are becoming more and more suitable for Pure worms to attacks!

8. Denial-of-Service (DoS) OR Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS):

Has several sabotaging motives which differs from case to case. However the results clearly makes your systems or network unresponsive to its normal functionality.

The means activate or pull off an attack of such magnitude may vary; from situation to situation.

Ultimately a DoS attack has the potential to halt your business or internet services, for short OR long periods. It may also disrupt the standard communication resources.

The Most Common Examples are:

Distributed attack, Peer to Peer attacks, Application flood, Spoof Attacks, Permanent denial of service, Syn flood, Teardrop attacks, ICMP flood, Nuke, Rudy, Telephony DoS.

9. Brute-force Attacks OR Exhaustive key Search:

In security encryption research and studies. The brute-force-attack are used to decrypt OR convert an encrypted or coded text or message into plain text.

In normal english it means to crack user password keys, by exhaustive key search methods. The brute-force attacks are normally for short and weak passwords.

These attacks thrives on network weaknesses or flaws in an encryption system. Which normally makes the process feasible.

  • It automatically and systematically tries several passwords until it eventual hits the jackpot code.
  • In the process it consumes storage space and congest search resources. While using up your systems operational resources on this key-cracking task.
  • It may perform dictionary scans for lengthier passwords, which helps to save time compared to brute-force attacks (meant for short key search).

The barriers for such password cracking techniques, is when. Data is securely stored in a theoretical protect method.

The Most Suitable Protection Methods:


Secure Theoretical limits of your network (consult your ISP), Create passwords mixed with letters, numbers and special characters, Choose an ISP that can reverse brute-force attacks.

10. Port Scanning:

A port scan lives up to its name, it sends fake client requests, to several server port addresses on your host network.

The ultimate objective is to find a listening/active port. With the destructive intention of taking advantage on a particular flaw of that service.

This of course floods your network, disrupts service, exploits storage space and affects normal performance.

It can also be used to maintain, fix or test services in a positive sense. But for such activities you be aware of the probing process.

Worms are also capable of performing their unauthorized, or destructive port sweeps.

The worms can as a result exploit the vulnerabilities on it destructive path.

Examples of Port Scans:

TCP scanning, SYN scanning, UDP scanning, ACK scanning, Windows scanning, FIN-scanning.

The Bottom line: The answers to the following questions are rhetorical and self explanatory:
  • How does Cyber Crime Affect Society?
  • What are the Common Motives behind Cybercrime?

It all comes down to the same principles...

Whether we're discussing: Backdoor Trojans, Password cracking, Macro virus attacks or logical Bomb attacks.

Be it from competitors, strangers, opponents, employees of ex lovers. It all boils down to: Attacks on your right to privacy, fraud and unauthorized access.

Ultimately the motives are pretty much the same. It either meant to: Steal, violate, disrupt, interrupt or harm your confidence.

Your Goal Should Be to Protect End-to End Data Security:

You know the saying: "Prevention is Better than Cure." The last section is dedicated to discussing solutions.

Here are a few tips to get you up to speed:

There are few ways to reduce the chances of Trojans and viruses from accessing your computer system.

These methods require a lot of effort and very difficult to manage if you have multiple users on your network.

  1. Try to avoid opening emails and attachments from people OR businesses you're not familiar with. Which is hard because hackers may spoof You with hoax emails, claiming to be from reputable source.
  2. lt is common that they may provide a links that diverts to the fake website. Surprisingly it may route to section for entering your personal details.
  3. Realistically, trying to avoid the above techniques may be impossible. The best way forward would be to install updated anti-virus protection and scanners.
  4. Secure first layer security by installing Internet firewalls. Most top Routers Brands comes with built-in firewalls installed in advance. Which is good for stopping communication of spyware and its senders.
  5. To prevent losing important information. Store it on a secured storage space and back it up. Only use your phone or USB flashdrives as a temporary solution and transfer it later to a primary spot; and delete from your mobile device.

The Bottom Line:The best solution is to use protection software. Since some Trojans may hide in useful documents, applications OR Games.

Which is difficult to detect with the human eyes. Security programs are better equipped to nullify such threats.

How To Prevent Threats From Mobile Devices?

The following recommendations applies for individuals, home users and businesses.
Portable gadgets includes devices like: Smartphones, external drives, USBs, CDs, jump drives, MP3 players.
  • Download antivirus with smart scanners, to neutralize the malware on devices that access your PC via port access.
  • Create Secure Passwords for your mobile devices and change it frequently.
  • Organize your data and don't mix important information with random data. And it keep it on separate systems.
  • That small pop up that shows content on a USB on your desktops or computers. That is the Autorun and Autoplay functionalities. Disable it because it will automatically install malware and bypass your firewalls.
  • Update your Windows, or Operating System regularly, by enabling automatic updates.
  • When you have finished Transferring Sensitive Data from a USB drive, be sure to delete it using a secure delete utility.
  • Use antivirus for mobile devices and external hard drives.
  • Buy from well-know Brands like Amazon, eBay, etc. Download apps, videos, games, and media only from credible sources.
  • Avoid free images, videos, coupons and to good to be true offers. Always ask yourself "what's the catch?"
In Conclusion: No matter how rife Cybercrime became, there are basic rules that every user or organization can follow to prevent it.

However you still find users that ignores it, which puts them more at risks to all kinds of threats. Malware are continuously improving and is becoming more difficult to detect.

The authors if virus and Trojans go to great extends to hide their attacks.

Some symptoms of badware are hidden in basic hardware or software errors.

Examples Such As:

Slow internet connections, Screen Freezes, Software Conflict errors, etc. Don't brush it off as general errors without making sure it is so.

The internet is a good place; however it is as good as a public road. There are risks and best practices, which can also reduce those risks.

Like you would follow rules when driving your car. Likewise with your online adventures, you need to follow certain security principles with your cyber resources. Do it for your family, livelihood, privacy and small business.

The Main Reasons Why Small Business Online Threats Are Lethal:

Every Entrepreneur OR Experienced business owners would know; that running a successful venture. Is more about adapting the "Right Attitude" more than anything else.

Unfortunately we can't say the same for ever small business. Because if that was the case: Cybercrime Statistics for small business wouldn't have been the highest; when compared to medium and Big.

Or maybe their "Knowledge Of Online Security" is very limited. Because Whether Directly OR Indirectly; they still carry the financial burdens/liabilities.

Picture the following scenarios... Who is Liable? Or better yet who shoulders the burnden in the following situations.
1st: When a Cyber attack is orchestrated: By a competitor to destroy your reputation, a resentful employee, an industry spy OR opponents.
Most recent hacking attempts are inside jobs (people we know). The goals vary from: Money, to rivalry for clients, access to propriety data, or diminishing your reputation, etc.
2ndScenario: Should customer credit card details, financial data or sensitive information; get lost on your property.
Legally it binds your business to negligence, fraud, theft and compensation. In one way or another your business shoulders the liability.

Cyber Security Protection for Small Establishments has become unavoidable

According an Internet Growth study; by Coffman: The internet and telecommunications industry are The Major drivers; behind the Global economy.

The internet traffic doubles explosively every 3 to 4 months. We're talking astronomical rates!

It literally transformed the way we interact, connect, learn, buy, sell and more; in an a blink if an eye.

Since it came into existence it Powerfully took charge and this is still the beginning.

In fact it Explosively consumes more bandwidth; every day. A more recent study [CoffmanO2] provided much more evidence

Naturally where there's a lot of financial transactions, customers and business activities. You'll often find a lot of opposing forces.

Hence; the Lack of Online Security Protection (Although not limited to) may result in many unexpected catastrophes; that small business are less likely to withstand.