There was an alarming increase in cyber security threats and breaches in 2021. In the face of a global pandemic and political upheaval, 2021 was a record-breaking year for data lost due to breaches, as well as the sheer number of cyberattacks.
And unfortunately, 2022 is predicted to be even more challenging.
As one of the top Managed Service Providers in the Twin Cities, and the creator of The Security Shield, cyber security is one of, if not our top priority for your organization in 2022.
It may surprise you that just a few years ago, less than 4 out of ten businesses were compromised by at least one cyber security attack. However, that percentage has increased in 2021 to over 86.2%.
Every minute $2.9 million is lost to cybercrime
With all of that in mind, let’s look at what cyber security attacks can look like and what the biggest cyber security threats are for small to medium-sized businesses in 2022.
What is cyber security?
Cyber security is the practice of defending and securing computers, servers, mobile devices, networks, and data from cyber-attacks.
This includes protecting your company, employees, customers, and vendors. Every day, cybercriminals get smarter, are more well funded, and spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to break their defenses.
There are 5 main cyber security attacks used to breach your small business:
- Phishing: These attacks target your employees to steal login or other info by tricking them to click on malicious links. These links are found in emails, messages, social media, messaging apps, or on the Web.
- Ransomware: A malware subtype, ransomware encrypts data on infected systems and demands a ransom in exchange for bitcoin or cash to allow you access to your data.
- Malware: This is software designed to infect your IT systems. Forms of this include viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware, and ransomware.
- Denial of Service: These attacks aim to disrupt services provided on your network by flooding target systems with requests to a point where your servers are unable to respond.
- Man in the Middle Attack: These attacks happen when cybercriminals intercept and alter the network traffic running between IT systems. Criminals achieve this by impersonating both senders and receivers on the network.
Now that we have identified the biggest cyber security threats for your organization, let’s look ahead to 2022.
The Top 6 Cyber Security Threats for 2022
Phishing continues to be the number one cause of breaches for small to medium-sized organizations. Everyone at your company receives hundreds of emails and electronic messages every day. Hackers know this and bombard your entire organization with fake emails and social messages. Once you click on their malicious link, your entire organization is now breached.
2. Remote Workforce
With the pandemic still raging, remote work is part of life now. In this “new normal” a hybrid work environment is here to stay. So it’s pretty much a guarantee that all the challenges associated with keeping a remote workforce productive and safe will continue in 2022.
In addition, Covid-related spam will continue to be a cyber security threat that organizations will need to be aware of.
3. Malware and Ransomware
Malware is one of the broadest terms when it comes to cyber-attacks. It includes any malicious form of software created to harm a computer system. When malware penetrates a network, it executes a malicious function such as encrypting, deleting, or stealing of data.
Malware can also monitor a users’ activity or hijack their computer or device. Familiar malware includes worms, viruses, trojan horses, and spyware.
As the name suggests, ransomware involves malware that locks the victim’s computer or files and holds them for ransom. And that ransom usually demands bitcoin to allow the user access to their system or device. Ransomware spreads through phishing emails or users visiting an infected website
4. Credential Stuffing
Credential stuffing is an attack that involves stealing a user’s access through login credentials. This typically happens when the same login credentials are used for multiple sites or accounts.
Since so many users re-use the same username and password, when those credentials are exposed (by a phishing attack, for example), submitting those credentials into dozens or hundreds of other sites can allow an attacker to compromise those accounts as well.
Credential stuffing is a form of what is called a brute force attack. Brute forcing attempts to try multiple passwords against one or many accounts … basically, guessing a password.
5. Accidental Sharing
It happens to so many of us, the embarrassing time when you hit “reply all” to an email when you only meant to reply to just one person. Then, suddenly, everyone on the email gets a personal response you meant for one person.
Accidental sharing is a similar problem. It happens when information is shared accidentally. It is usually the result of human error, not because of malware or a hacker.
Accidental sharing includes personal and business information, and it can be shared through emails, unsecured forms, social media, and messaging platforms.
6. Smishing (Text message phishing)
Even though smishing, which is SMS-based phishing, falls under the main phishing category, there are several differences. SMS stands for ‘short message service,” and it is the most common form of text messaging used today.
While general phishing happens through emails or web browsing. Smishing occurs through SMS text messages on your phone. The hacker sends an SMS text message to your phone that includes a link. If you open that link, the attack begins.
Common smishing attacks include a message from your bank asking you to enter your social security number. Or a carrier like UPS or Amazon requesting you to schedule package delivery.
In a world where everyone and everything is connected, understanding these main cyber security attacks will help you protect your company and yourself. While having an IT Provider like Imagine IT is critical, it is important for each user to understand that cybercriminals target human behavior as their number one way to breach your organization.
In 2022, human behavior will continue to be the biggest cause of breaches for small to medium-sized businesses. We hope getting a little more clarity on these 6 main cyber attacks will help you protect yourself and your organization.