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Cybersecurity Intelligence

Reducing Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Time of Increased Threats

Businesses and organizations of every size face the growing threat of cyberattacks. According to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report, nearly 800,000 complaints of suspected internet crimes were filed, with reported losses from these crimes exceeding $4.2 billion. Threats of cyberattacks are also increasing due to current global conflicts.

Small and medium-sized businesses are targets for cybercriminals because they tend to lack the security infrastructure many of the largest corporations use to prevent attacks. Often these businesses and organizations do not have a dedicated IT department or enough time to handle their cybersecurity matters, while others do not know where to begin.

Learn the steps your company needs to take to assess your cybersecurity vulnerabilities, how the Russian war in Ukraine affects cyberattacks, and what you can do to improve your cybersecurity.

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Cyberattacks are a growing concern for private companies of all sizes. You can protect your business by learning about common threats, assessing your cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and making necessary changes.

Understand the Most Common Threats

Although cyber threats continue to evolve, being aware of the most common cybersecurity vulnerabilities is essential for running your business.

  • Phishing: this type of cyber attack uses malicious websites or emails to entice users to open an attachment or click on a link. The emails and websites contain malicious code that infects the device with malware once opened.

Phishing emails generally appear as though they are from a legitimate company or known entity to gain your trust. Once your device becomes infected, cybercriminals can collect sensitive information without your knowledge. Business email compromise is a common type of phishing threat.

  • Malware: this threat uses software purposefully designed to damage a computer network, server, computer, or client. Malware may include ransomware or viruses within the software. 
  • Ransomware: this cyberattack is delivered through phishing emails. Ransomware is that infects your computer, restricting access to the device until your business pays the ransom demanded by the attackers. Vulnerabilities in software that are not corrected can also be exploited for ransomware attacks. 
  • Viruses: these harmful programs spread malware between computers and other devices connected to your network. Viruses are designed to give the cyber attacker access to your system and information.

Use the Right Tools to Assess Your Risk

Your business cannot improve its cybersecurity until you understand where the most significant risks lie. Fortunately, you can use assessment and planning tools to help you discover your vulnerabilities. These resources are also helpful for creating a plan of action to reduce future risks.

  • Cyber Resilience: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a free assessment tool to evaluate your business. Their Cyber Resilience Review assesses your current cybersecurity practices and operational resilience. This non-technical evaluation addresses current programs and policies, including incident management, risk management, and service continuity.
  • Cyber Hygiene: the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers a vulnerability scan of your internet-connected systems. This automated service scans your network and delivers reports on vulnerabilities weekly.
  • Cybersecurity Planning Tool: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) helps small businesses create custom cybersecurity plans for their needs. It includes network security, email, privacy, and data security topics. 
  • Assess Supply Chain Management: cybersecurity risks can also develop through your supply chain. CISA’s risk management tool helps protect your information and communication technology from supply chain attacks through strategic messaging and resources to strengthen your company’s resilience.

These tools are helpful but should not be considered a substitute for a dedicated IT team or a cybersecurity consultant. Cyber threats are constantly changing, and working with an experienced cybersecurity consulting firm like Windes ensures your business is protected and prepared.

Implement Cybersecurity Practices

Lower your risk of cyber threats by following best practices in your business.

  • Protect and Backup Business Data: regularly backing up critical data from all computers to the cloud or offsite prevents your business from losing important information during a cyberattack. Include databases, financial information, accounts receivable and payable, human resource files, and all documents and spreadsheets through automatic or weekly backups.
  • Train your employees: cyberattacks through email are one of the easiest ways for criminals to access your network. Teaching your employees how to identify a phishing email, create strong passwords, avoid suspicious downloads, and protect vendor and customer information helps prevent cyberattacks.
  • Secure your network: use a firewall and encrypt your information to help secure your internet connection. Consider hiding your Wi-Fi network using a router or wireless access point that is password protected.

Increased Risks Due to the Russian Conflict

While the Russian invasion of Ukraine is happening far from U.S. soil, American companies are also at risk. The FBI recently called on businesses to prepare for more Russian-sponsored cyberattacks as tensions rise in Europe.

U.S. actions against Russia to deter their military action in Ukraine include implementing sanctions and limiting their access to international banking. There is concern Russia will respond to these measures by increasing state-sponsored cyberattacks on U.S. companies.

Small and medium-sized businesses are just as vulnerable as major well-known corporations. International cybercriminals will tap into any infrastructure vulnerabilities they can to access sensitive information that is useful for their means. Current cyberattack strategies aim to influence and destabilize the country through disinformation campaigns and promote doubts about current government leadership.

The risk of cyberattacks may grow as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues. To ensure you protect your company from this rising threat, consider working with an outside firm that can provide comprehensive cybersecurity services.

Protect Your Business for Cybersecurity Threats

Windes understands that your business may not have the time or resources to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats. To help protect your business against cyberattacks, we offer comprehensive cybersecurity services that can assess, manage, and respond to threats. We have the resources to monitor your network regularly and prevent cybercrimes.

Contact us for a free cyber health check to learn how our team can help you prepare and protect your business from cyberattacks.

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