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Cybersecurity Threats Small Firms Shouldn’t Ignore in 2019

Posted February 25, 2019

Cyberattack prevention is not just a buzzword, at least in today’s era. The term is surfacing the Internet excessively because of the numerous incidents and the immense loss faced due to cyber attacks. The internet users, government organization, and small and large businesses, all are at high risk of such attacks.

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However, it is a common perception and a witnessed truth that the attackers are keener to attack a firm due to the enormous data it has.

The past few years are full of incidents on the prominent firms – such as Uber, Equifax and Under Armour – facing huge data loss. However, the most destructive attack was on The Yahoo! in which three billion user accounts were compromised.

Ponemon Institute released a report “2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (SMB)” which states that the percentage of small businesses experiencing a cyber attack in the past 12-months increased from 55% in 2016 to 51% in 2017.

According to Accenture, a cyber attack could cost an average amount of $2.4 million to a company and almost 50 days to recover from the incident. But, you can greatly minimize the loss with appropriate knowledge and effective preventions.

8 Common Cyber security Threats To Businesses


Malware is a common threat to most of the Internet users, especially to the firms. The threat for companies is more intense due to the larger amount of data and benefit a hacker could get by exploiting vulnerability into a firm.

An attacker could use malware for initiating different issues – cryptojacking, DNS hijacking, social engineering, ransomware, and others –, which are prominent cyber security risks on their own.

On 1 November 2018, malicious software was discovered which was using the StFX’s collective computing power to create or discover bitcoin for monetary gain. The cryptojacking attack was massive as almost 700,000 websites were caught loading malicious script and the attack lasted for four days.


As implied by the name, ransomware is a malicious software through which an attacker seizes any device and encrypt all the important data/files. However, to decrypt the data, a hacker demands a large sum of money from the victim.

There are many types of ransomware, but a recently emerged innovation is the usage of cryptocurrency which prevents payment tracking.

WannaCry is one of the most prominent ransomware attacks in history, which has impacted more than 300,000 computers all around the world. However, last year another prominent attack, NotPetya, was witnessed just after few days of WannaCry report.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Unlike other cyber threats, this technique is particular to the businesses. Business Email Compromise (BEC) is where an attacker designs an email to fool an employee making it appear as a legitimate email from the head or other higher staff of the company. Most commonly, these emails instruct an employee for money transfer or transfer of funds.

Such emails are of similar pattern, and that’s why the employees could easily detect it. All an organization needs to do is, the training and education of employees so that they could be aware of these kinds of emails and to double-check the email instructions manually before performing any step.

FBI’s IC3 unit has reported a loss of almost $12.5 billion due to the business email compromise scam. Also the document states, “Between December 2016 and May 2018, there was a 136% increase in identified global exposed losses”.

Supply Chain Hacking

A hacker taking control of a service provider and then using that company to access another company in their supply chain is known as supply chain hacking. The past month, two new supply chain attacks had surfaced the news headlines. This first one was reported by security firm Eset, according to which some unknown attackers hacked VestaCP servers and exploited their access to make a malicious change to an installer that was present for the download.

Supply chain hacking is controllable through the implementation of strict control over the supply chain network.

Remote Access Trojan (RAT)

Like phishing, the remote access Trojan gets access when an employee opens a malicious link or attachment in an email. Through this method, the hacker remotely inserts the fraudulent software into the system and controls all the tasks. RAT also allows the cybercriminals to monitor and listen through the camera and microphone, record onscreen activity, alter files and to spread malware to other devices within the network.

In July 2018, Security researchers had discovered “Parasite HTTP,” a modular remote access Trojan that utilizes sophisticated techniques to avoid detection.


Attackers inject the malware into an adward and place it on an authentic site. When an employee clicks on a malicious ad, the malware gets access to his device. From one device, it may spread to the other devices within the network.

The companies can avoid drive-by-downloads via the use of ad-blockers, which completely block ads.

Spyware Infections

Spyware gets into a device through an email or any compromised website and scans all the personal information resided into the hard drive. The spy software can steal user’s and company’s information from a device, exploit the security of a device and increase malware infection.

It is different from a virus in a way that the virus is a fragment of code, which gets into the device and affects it via deleting or corrupting any file.

In July of this year, a spyware “BrowserSpy” was reported which had affected almost 560,000 computers in Vietnam.

IoT Security Breaches

Internet connectedness is a trend, which is increasing at an extremely rapid pace. However, the most highlighted, aspect along with IoT blooming, is the simultaneous rise in cybersecurity risk. Due to a huge amount of devices, companies are unable to figure out which device is connected to their network and what security measures they should implement.

With weak or almost no security feature, the hackers easily exploit IoT devices by entering just a single device and getting access to many other connected devices.

The biggest IoT attack this year occurred in May when the researcher from Cisco Talos discovered that more than half a million routers and storage device are infected with the Russian-linked botnet.

What Could Be the Solution

If you are an organization with customer data, then you are always at risk of hacker invasion. Attackers are always looking for a target from where they can gain maximum benefit. However, there are some potential privacy measures – you can adopt as an organization – to avoid data theft and cyberattack.

  • Use VPN to encrypt your entire data but keep in mind that your service should pass VPN DNS leak test, IP leak test, and other VPN tests.
  • Limit Remote Access for the employees and allow it for certain staff members so that it’s easy to monitor them.
  • Manage Passwords from a central server and make sure to keep strong passwords for every account.
  • Review of Regulatory Guidelines and train your staff regarding appropriate security measures.
  • Having a plan for a security breach is the most important thing you need to have in place so that you could have a complete idea about the execution after a sudden cyberattack.

Also, there are certain specific security measures regarding any cyber attack, which you are discussed above with every risk. However, it is worth mentioning that nothing makes you completely secure as the advancement in technology is continuously enhancing the attacker’s powers too.

Therefore, you should regularly update your security system and the network devices in your organization. These security practices could greatly minimize the cyber attack risk from your organization.

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