Why Avoid Cyber Attacks: What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

If you are like most business owners, this is one of your first thoughts when it comes to dealing with cyber attacks: what’s the worst that can happen?

Remember, hackers are cyber criminals; sophisticated cyber criminals.

They use sophisticated hardware and software to seek soft targets. They can reach home computers as well as business computers so if you or your staff work remotely from home, you have security issues. There are many reasons why a hacker would want to attack your business or home computers.

  • They may want to spread a virus or implant a worm.
  • They may want to take over your computer to make it part of a network of computers they control remotely (“botnet”).
  • They may want to extort money from you or your company by locking you out of your files, data, or computer network through malware known as ransomware.
  • Hackers often delete files and steal personal information, password and other authentication information, as well as sensitive financial information for your company or your customers.

They use your network to expose vulnerabilities in other computers

Hackers can use your computer or your network to attack and control others. They can use a network of computers to cause a denial of service attack and to crash websites due to heavy traffic. They hide their identity through victim networks while they are causing havoc.

They invite other cybercriminals to the data feast

Hackers of a feather stick together. They often hide stolen software on a victim’s computer and then let other hackers know how and where they can access it. Your PC or network becomes a magnet for hackers.

How to avoid becoming the victim of an attack:

  • Don’t open emails that look suspicious or come from people you do not know.
    This advice is not new yet trojans and viruses continue to arrive and infect computers via email each year.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when taking a notebook or laptop to use out of the office or away from home.
    Airports, hotel conference rooms, and coffeehouses may have convenient WiFi but they are also breeding grounds for hackers just waiting to steal your personal information.
  • Avoid visiting unfamiliar websites.
    Train employees (and family members) not to click on popup ads just because the ad looks intriguing or useful. Hackers now embed popups on trusted sites like news organizations and other favorite websites. Just because a popup is on a trusted site, doesn’t mean the ad is trustworthy. The trusted website is a victim just like you will be if you or your employees click on that ad.
  • Port Scanning.
    Computers operate with open ports. Some ports are open continuously making them targets for hackers. While IT professionals often us port scanners to look for vulnerabilities within a network, hackers also use them to exploit those same vulnerabilities. Anytime there is an open port on a computer or network, there exists the possibility that hackers will steal data, deposit a virus, or compromise the entire system. Port scanning remains a serious threat because the practice is not illegal and it can occur without any outward signs that an unfriendly actor conducts port scanning. Always protect each PC through a strong firewall.
  • Firewall Protection is a must.
    The firewall monitors incoming/outgoing communications on PCs. They deny outside access to the protected PC. They are effective against port scanning.
  • Information governance.
    Know what information you have, where the system stores it, and what value it has. The Ponemon study says that information governance reduces losses by $1 million annually.

Cost of CyberCrime.

The 2016 Ponemon study said the average annual losses to companies worldwide jumped 23% in 2015 to a high of $9.5 million. The average annual loss per US company is $17 million.

Ransomware attacks account for $156,900 per attack
Stolen credentials are $232,410 per incident
Information loss from attacks is 40%
Business disruption is about 33%
Revenue is about 23%
Equipment damage is less than 8%.

 

To talk more data security for your business, please contact us. We look forward to helping you grow your business.

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