Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, generating nearly two-thirds of new jobs since the early 2000s. But as the world moves online, small businesses are under constant threat from cyber criminals. With 43% of all cyber attacks targeting small businesses, companies need to implement and strengthen their SMB cybersecurity to keep their business safe.

This article will outline seven of the most serious cyber threats your small business is facing right now, and provide tips on how to protect your business.

1. Ransomware

Every 11 seconds, a company in the U.S. is hit by ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your files and holds them hostage until you pay a ransom. It’s a very costly and disruptive attack for a small business. Recovering from ransomware can take days or even weeks.

SMBs are a huge target for ransomware because they’re more likely to pay the ransom. In fact, 70% of ransomware attacks were targeted towards small businesses. The average cost for these attacks was $116,000. To avoid losing data and money, it’s crucial to fortify your SMB cybersecurity infrastructure.

2. Phishing

Phishing is a type of cyber attack that uses fraudulent emails or websites to trick users into sharing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information. Phishing is becoming increasingly common and can be very difficult to spot.

In 2021, around 36% of data breaches involved phishing. These attacks are also costly. And they’re becoming more sophisticated, making them even more difficult to detect. To protect your business from phishing, it’s important to have a robust email security solution in place and effective, frequent phishing training for your employees.

3. Malware

Malware is a type of malicious software that is designed to damage or disable computers. It can be used to steal information, delete data, or even take control of a computer. Malware can be spread through email attachments, infected websites, or by plugging in an infected USB drive.

Malware is a very, if not the most, common cyber threat. In 2022, about 560,000 new pieces of malware are detected everyday, with a total of 1 billion malware softwares that currently exist. The chances of your business encountering malware are extremely high. And the cost of a malware attack can be devastating, often leading to data loss, system downtime, and brand damage.

4. Data Breaches

A data breach is unauthorized access to or disclosure of confidential information. This can include sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, as well as trade secrets or other confidential business information. Data breaches can occur through hacking, malware, or employee error.

Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to access sensitive information. And data breaches are happening not by the hour, but by the second—every 39 seconds to be exact. Losing data is devastating for any business and makes it difficult for them to recover. About 60% of businesses that experience a data breach permanently close down only six months after the attack.

5. Denial of Service (DoS)

A denial of service attack is an attempt to make a computer or network resource unavailable to users. This can be done by flooding the resource with requests, or by damaging the hardware or software.

DoS can be frustrating to users because they’re unable to access the resources they need. DoS will cause businesses to lose large sums of money if potential clients go elsewhere for services, due to the unavailability of the company’s website or product. Among enterprises, a survey found that 91% of their respondents lost $50,000 per DoS attack.

6. Man-in-the-Middle (MITM)

A man-in-the-middle attack is a type of attack where an attacker intercepts communications between two parties. This can be used to eavesdrop on conversations or to inject false information.

Man-in-the-middle attacks can be very difficult to detect because the attacker is essentially hiding in plain sight. And these attacks can have serious consequences, such as data breaches or financial loss. Although not as common as other types of cyber threats, MITM attacks made up about 35% of cybercrime in 2018 and should be included as a threat in your SMB cybersecurity.

7. Password Attacks

Password attacks are attempts to gain access to accounts or systems by guessing or brute force methods. These types of attacks can be very successful if users choose weak passwords or use the same password for multiple accounts.

More than 80% of cybercriminals use brute force or stolen credentials to access an account. An eight-character password that does not have multi-factor authentication enabled could take a hacker an average of eight hours to crack. Strong password policies are a foundational element of your SMB cybersecurity plan.

Prevent Cyber Threats with a SMB Cybersecurity Plan

Fortunately, these cyber threats can be prevented with a good cybersecurity strategy in place. Your cybersecurity strategy should include:

  • Regular Employee Training: Employees should be trained on how to spot any type of cyber attack, as well as how to keep their passwords secure.
  • Updated Software: Outdated software is one of the most common ways that attackers gain access to systems. Be sure to install updates as soon as they’re available.
  • VPNs: A VPN can help to protect your business from man-in-the-middle attacks and other types of cyber attacks.
  • MFA: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security to accounts by requiring users to confirm their identity with a second factor, such as a code from a phone or token.
  • Cyber Liability Insurance: In the event that your business is attacked, cyber liability insurance can help to cover the costs of recovery and get you back on your feet.

By being aware of these cybersecurity threats and taking precautions, you can keep your small business safe from the many cyber threats that exist. SMB cybersecurity should be a priority for any business, no matter the size.

At Bethany Insurance, we can help your SMB find the right cyber liability insurance to strengthen your cybersecurity. Schedule a free consultation with us to learn more.



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