No Business Is Safe
These days, no business is safe. This is especially true for businesses that conduct all their transactions online. From emails to their website’s backend, all data are open to shady figures and fraudsters who want nothing more but to make a quick buck.
If these words do not bother you, here are some figures:
From the year 2020 to 2021, a 10% increase in the average number of breaches has been seen across the web. Cybersecurity specialist Purplesec.us reports that 50% of all cyberattacks were made on small and medium-scale businesses.
Meanwhile, enterprises were reported to experience 130 security breaches yearly for every company. For the year 2021, the annual number of security breaches in these organizations has climbed by 27.4%.
And while we can blame hackers for all that their technologies and skill sets allow, it is up to businesses to build robust defenses against the threats that lurk in cyberspace. But how can these organizations determine which cybersecurity solutions they should implement? Surely, one solution is more potent than the other with consideration to their industry.
The first thing companies should know is that there are several threats their businesses are open to. Worse, several of these threats come from vulnerabilities in their own systems. This article outlines four cybersecurity vulnerabilities every business should fortify their businesses against.
4 Cybersecurity Threats and Vulnerabilities Businesses Should Watch Out For
1. Phishing and Smishing Attacks
There are plenty of fish in the sea and sadly, not all of them can be trusted. That’s why when you receive an email enticing your businesses to partner up or avail of another company’s products, you must be careful of what to click on the email.
One careless move and the fraudster would be able to harvest your sensitive data. Phishing is one of the most damaging cyberattacks a company can experience. While email compromise holds only a small portion of security breach incidences across cyberspace, according to Venture Beat’s official website, recent attacks have cost enterprises more than $345 million in losses.
Now, even SMS has become a tool for phishers to do their nefarious bidding. Called Smishing, this new method of infiltration targets businesses via SMS. These Phishing SMSs are veiled under clickable links on text messages. If the recipient inadvertently clicks, their personal information can be stolen or rootkits could be installed in their device. The hackers can then easily hopscotch to business accounts, infiltrating them with malware or siphoning all their valuable data.
Aside from building more effective firewalls, employees should be wary of SMS and email content. If the sender asks you to click a link to register your account, disregard it. It is better to miss a legitimate offer than to suffer from a fraudulent one just because you took a chance.
2. Cryptocurrency Integration
Despite the recent slump in the crypto market, many companies have adopted an enthusiasm for digital assets in light of their decentralized and transparent nature. But as crypto allows transactions to be more democratic, it has also opened the system to hacks and breaches. By infiltrating crypto users’ wallets and blockchains, hackers can easily steal the users’ data.
This is potentially dangerous to companies that use cryptocurrencies for all their transactions. These crypto transactions can easily be infiltrated by hackers which in turn could infiltrate the company’s entire system.
With Web 3 on the horizon, it will likely be the next digital terrain to receive stronger and more persistent threats. That said, developers for decentralized platforms must take stronger measures and solutions to make a smoother transition into Web 3.
Recently, blockchain developers have been looking into decentralized digital identity (DDID) solutions. DDID solutions allow for the creation of unique user identities that undergo more stringent authentication processes.
3. Outdated Systems
Outdated software is unpatched software. When a company does not update a system as regularly as it should, it puts the business in a compromised state. The hackers can memorize the vectors and be well-versed in the vulnerabilities of the company’s system.
To make the concept simple, think about this: when a company keeps a system outdated, it means it still uses the same access codes and credentials to access it. If fraudsters can get a hold of the data, they would be able to penetrate it easily over and over again. But of course, they would not do that. They would simply do a single breach to harvest everything.
An article by ZD Net.com cites a vulnerability in Microsoft Office called CVE-2017-11882. Considered a weak spot, CVE-2017-11882 is a memory corruption glitch in the application’s Equation Editor.
The glitch allows remote code execution on devices considered vulnerable. Given the nature of this weak spot, hackers can easily take advantage of it by getting users to open a file. Once they’re successful in doing so, they can discreetly infiltrate the machine where Microsoft Office is installed by infecting it with malware.
Because the vulnerability gives hackers remote access, they can perform keystroke logging and take screenshots, allowing them to capture usernames and passwords.
Updating systems consistently when updates are due is more than recommendable; it is considered one of the best practices for maintaining the integrity of your company’s data and operations.
4. Brute-Force AIs
Cybercriminals can also take full advantage of AIs to find vulnerabilities in a system.
Offensive AIs can harvest passwords, breach systems, lockout users, and reset systems beyond the control of users. These AIs can conflict with endpoints and even disparate legacy systems.
More businesses have yet to adopt defensive AIs to protect their systems from attacks.
Always Assume The Worse
When protecting valuable data from malicious online entities, always assume the worst about applications and systems. Adopting a constantly-engaged mindset allows businesses to safeguard all their data and intellectual property.
Because data makes the online world go round, businesses should constantly be ready to defend their most sensitive and priced ones to maintain the integrity of their operations.