Understanding cyberattacks: targets and tactics

Cyber security is easy to ignore for many small and medium businesses. After all, they aren’t banks, and they don’t have vast assets. Yet, even if you don’t fill your home with priceless art, you still lock your doors – it’s just common sense.

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Any sort of IT can feel overwhelming if it isn’t your area of expertise, so here are some basics to help you understand who hackers target, and how you can protect your business.

Don’t hackers only attack big targets?

Most cyberattacks are, at the end of the day, attacks of opportunity. A hacker sees something unprotected or easily accessible, and they have a look to see if there is anything to gain. Sadly, there often is, and cyberattacks cost UK businesses an estimated £30 billion in 2016, with over 50% of businesses falling victim to a breach.

Some of this loss will be from theft. Banking or financial details stored for legitimate purposes can be used by hackers to directly steal money from a business or its customers. Yet more loss comes from the data breach itself, and the resulting loss of customers, or even damages paid to those whose privacy has been breached.

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How hackers gain access, and how to protect your business

Even if you have a good in-house IT team, it is quite likely that they do not have the knowledge to properly secure your network, simply because it is a very specialist area. Contracting with a specialist IT Security firm, such as https://www.promisec.com/ may seem expensive, but the cost pales in comparison to the potential damages from a cyberattack, even for the smallest business.

A particular area of concern, due to changing work habits, is endpoint security. Whereas previously, you only had to secure your office’s physical network, changing trends mean it is more likely you have employees accessing your network from remote locations, at home or on the road. Endpoint security focuses on securing the remote devices and legitimate means of entry to your network, rather than just your in-house network.

It is important not to forget the basics, though. Keep software up to date to close vulnerabilities, make sure devices on your network are scanned for viruses, and make sure you follow security best practices. Many security breaches, even at large companies, are still due to weak passwords or social engineering.

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