Understanding the Cyber Threat Landscape: Protecting Your Business from Emerging Dangers

Cybercrime continues to surge at an alarming rate, with predictions stating that the cost of these incidents will skyrocket to $8 trillion by 2023 and $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to the latest report from eSentire. This makes it imperative for businesses to be aware of the cyber threat landscape and take proactive measures to protect themselves from potential attacks.

Real-world examples of businesses that have experienced these harrowing situations are abundant. LastPass, a popular password manager, was hit in August 2022. The attack exploited a vulnerability in third-party software, allowing the malicious actor to access non-production development and backup storage environments, resulting in the theft of LastPass proprietary and customer data. In October 2022, Microsoft acknowledged a data leak caused by a misconfigured endpoint, with over 65,000 companies and 548,000 users affected; while they denied customer accounts had been compromised, customer emails, project information, and signed documents were exposed. And in March 2022, Microsoft confirmed that it had been breached by the hacker group Lapsus$. They claimed that no customer data was compromised and that the company’s security team was able to stop the attack before Lapsus$ could infiltrate any deeper into their organization.

These examples are of larger organizations that seem like obvious targets, but in recent years, small businesses have become prime targets too. According to research, 46% of cyber attacks annually were aimed at small businesses with 1,000 or fewer employees. The financial impact of these incidents can be devastating for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), with an average loss of $25,000. In 2020 alone, small businesses faced over 700,000 attacks, resulting in a staggering $2.8 billion in damages.

Safeguarding Your Business from Cyber Risks: Understanding the Landscape and Staying Ahead

The digital threat landscape is constantly evolving and includes various types of dangers that businesses must be aware of. In 2023, the top ones include:

  • Cloud Third-Party Threats: Criminals are increasingly targeting cloud service providers to gain access to sensitive data and IT infrastructure.
  • Mobile Malware: As mobile device usage continues to grow, criminals are developing more sophisticated methods of infecting devices through fake and malicious apps.
  • Wipers and Destructive Malware: Destructive malware like wipers pose a significant threat to corporate data security, as they can delete data entirely and cause major business impacts.
  • The weaponization of Legitimate Tools: Malicious actors are taking advantage of built-in features and legitimate tools to decrease their probability of detection and improve the likelihood of a successful breach.
  • Zero-Day Vulnerabilities in Supply Chains: Unpatched vulnerabilities in third-party, open-source code used in applications can create potential attack vectors for criminals.
  • Global Attacks on Business: Digital crime is a rapidly growing problem on a global scale, requiring companies to take the increasing dangers seriously.
  • AI-Powered Intrusions: The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to bypass traditional protective measures and carry out more sophisticated and targeted intrusions.

The impact of digital incidents on businesses can be significant, including financial losses, damage to reputation, and loss of customer trust. Understanding the landscape and implementing appropriate protective measures is crucial for businesses to safeguard themselves and their customers.

Don't Let Emerging Cyber Threats Catch You Off Guard

As technology continues to advance, so do the methods of criminals. So, how do you defend your organization from these dangers? What tools and processes should you focus on to mitigate risk? Read on to find out: 

  • Ransomware extortion: Establish and regularly test your incident response plans, ensure all software and systems are up-to-date and patched, and maintain regular backups of critical data.
  • Cloud third-party threats: Carefully vet and monitor the security of your cloud service providers, establish clear security and data protection policies, and ensure employees are trained on best practices for the cloud.
  • Mobile malware: Establish policies for mobile devices, such as only using approved app stores, regularly updating the device software, and training employees on safe mobile device usage.
  • Wipers and destructive malware: Maintain regular backups and test your restoration processes, implement network segmentation and access controls to limit the spread of malware, and regularly update and patch software and systems.
  • The weaponization of legitimate tools: Implement strong access controls and authentication protocols, regularly monitor your systems for unusual activity, and conduct regular audits and assessments.
  • Zero-day vulnerabilities in supply chains: Regularly audit your third-party and open-source software for vulnerabilities, establish clear security and data protection policies, and limit access to critical systems and data.
  • Global attacks on business: Establish comprehensive safeguarding measures, including security information and event management (SIEM), network monitoring, and access to up-to-date intelligence. You should also ensure all employees are trained on basic security awareness and best practices.
  • AI-powered Intrusions: Consider implementing advanced solutions that also utilize AI and machine learning. This can help detect and respond to these types of intrusions more effectively.

By staying vigilant and taking proactive measures to protect against emerging dangers, you can ensure you are well-prepared to defend against anything that comes your way.

Safeguard Your Business with These Best Practices

Here are some additional actionable tips to help safeguard your business:

  1. Implement multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer by requiring users to provide two or more forms of identification to access sensitive data or systems. This can include a password, fingerprint scan, or token. By implementing MFA, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to their data.
  2. Conduct regular risk assessments: Doing this can help you identify potential vulnerabilities in your systems and processes. This includes identifying areas where sensitive data is stored, who has access to that data, and how it is being secured. By regularly assessing and addressing potential risks, businesses can proactively mitigate incidents.
  3. Train employees: Cyber security awareness training is essential for all employees, as human error is often the weakest link in a business's defence. Employees should be trained on how to identify phishing emails, how to create strong passwords, and what to do in the event of an incident.

In addition to these best practices, businesses can also benefit from working with an IT-managed services provider (MSP). MSPs can help you stay on top of current risks and safeguard against emerging threats. With a team of experts monitoring your systems and providing proactive support, you can focus on your core operations and rest assured that your IT infrastructure is in good hands.

Stay Ahead of the Game: Protecting Your Business from Cyber Dangers

In today's digital world, cyber incidents are an ever-present danger for businesses of all sizes. From phishing attempts to AI-powered intrusions, the threat landscape is constantly evolving. However, with the right knowledge and tools, you can take steps to safeguard yourself and stay ahead of the game.

By implementing best practices such as multi-factor authentication, regular assessments, and employee training on security awareness, you can significantly reduce your risk. MSPs can also play a crucial role in keeping you protected and up to date on the latest dangers.

Don't wait until it's too late – take action now to “Bulletproof” your business. Contact us to learn more about how Bulletproof’s IT Security Services can help safeguard your business and keep you ahead of the game.

May 05, 2023

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