Late last year, research revealed startling facts about the problem of cyber attacks and American businesses and other institutions.
Many believe that cybercriminals and terrorists mainly target large companies, government agencies, and famous institutions. While these entities do suffer from cyber attacks, small businesses are also at risk.
Over 40 percent of cyber attacks land on small businesses, with 86 percent ill-prepared to defend themselves or react. With an average impact of $200,000 per strike, a number of small businesses wind up closed down as a result. So, what can you do to prevent cyber attacks, and what exactly are they?
What Is a Cyber Attack?
IBM defines a cyberattack as an “attempt to destroy, expose, alter, disable, steal, or gain unauthorized access to or make unauthorized use of anything that has value to the organization.” It also adds that criminals deliberately use malicious code to alter vital hardware and software functions.
Cyberwarfare or cyber terrorism operates by damaging or destroying vital target functions. Criminals using cyber techniques typically wish to steal or lock down something of value for their own material benefit.
How Does It Work?
In most cases, cyber attackers target your data or your systems. Data has been stolen from both credit rating companies and United States government agencies in recent years. Thieves can use the data for illicit financial gains or sell it on the black market.
Ransomware seizes control of vital systems and information.<a href="https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/10/cyber-security-cities-atlanta-cyberattack-ransomware-data/600982/" > Attackers demanded tens of thousands from the City of Atlanta in 2018. Less than a year later, the records of Australia’s most prominent heart clinic were attacked, putting lives at risk.
Throughout the past several years, the public, private, and non-profit sectors have all seen a rise in attacks, with law enforcement often a step behind in each instance.
In many cases, the attackers do not specifically target a certain business or organization. They send out thousands of pieces of cyber “bait” to trick workers into downloading malicious code. It takes over their workstation and then the entire system.
Other times, the organization may lose data through an inside job. The breach that lifted secret cyber warfare tools from the NSA and placed them into open-source areas online is believed to have been one such operation.
How Can Cyber Attacks Harm Your Operation?
Cyber attacks confound system managers in various ways, but most often through either seizing a system or breaking, entering, and stealing.
Ransomware seizes control of your systems, then demands that the owner pay a certain amount of money to liberate the system. Some attackers then comply and release it; others simply destroy it. It is believed that the Melbourne hospital attack was entirely a random event.
Data breaches often occur from “phishing” expeditions that introduce spyware into a system. Its goal often lies in stealthily stealing information that benefits the thieves, their clients or market, or helps the attackers make some larger point.
What Should You Do For Protection?
Working with an expert can help your business or operation build protections that deter cybercriminals and terrorists. Using effective anti-virus and other technical solutions, combined with in-house training on risk avoidance, organizations can be better equipped to withstand attacks or phishing expeditions.
With an average of $200,000 worth of damage being caused per strike, investing more to prevent cyber attacks seems like a sound investment.
Reach out to our team at Lodestar today. We can perform an assessment, make recommendations, and help you defend your organization and its work. With advanced Lodestar systems and support, you are ready to operate in an online world that poses more dangers than ever.