7 of the Most Common Cyber Attacks Targeting Small Businesses

Learning what the most common cyber attacks are isn’t usually at the top of a small business owner’s mind. And it’s hard to blame her as to why.

Running a business of any size is a challenge. You have to balance your product or service with sales, marketing, customer service, budgeting properly, and paying your taxes.

Common Cyber Attacks

But we now live in an age where you can’t afford to take it lightly any longer. One well-orchestrated cyberattack could sink your business overnight, taking you from profitability to disaster before you figure out what hit you.

In the following article, we’ll be talking about the risks of which you most need to be aware. We’ll also be discussing how you can fight back. But first, a question.

Why Small Businesses?

There’s a “why me?” thought that plays out in the mind of every small business owner who’s ever been victimized by a cyberattack. With so many larger companies with deeper pockets, why would anyone waste their time attacking a small business model?

Well, scammers have their reasons. Here are a few of them.

Cybersecurity Is Not a Priority

We’ve already alluded to this one. Small business owners have other priorities. They’re focused on their businesses more than their systems.

But this is a big mistake. In the 21st Century, your business IS a system. At least, it is if you want it to be sustainable.

That means you’re going to need servers and computers and software programs. And all of these things are susceptible to outside aggression.

Scammers know that small businesses don’t treat cybersecurity as a priority. And that makes any small business ripe for the picking.

Employees Less Aware of the Risks

If a small business owner isn’t taking his cybersecurity seriously, don’t expect his subordinates to either! Considering that many of the cyberattacks that occur happen as a result of employee negligence, the results speak for themselves.

Work hard to ensure your employees are aware of the risks. Beyond that, make sure they know security is a priority for you. The more aware of the risks they are, the less likely your business is to be targeted.

Hacker Shortcomings

The final reason we’d like to discuss before getting into the most common cyber attacks is the hacker or scammer. Few are going to be National Security Administration-level operatives.

They’re not advanced enough to crack the defenses of most larger companies. So instead, they play to their strengths. They go after smaller businesses like yours that haven’t invested as much in security measures.

And while the bold scammer willing to go after big prey is always a threat, most of the time they’re going to turn their attention towards businesses like yours. Call it to hope to fly under the radar and not trigger advanced law enforcement resources.

Now that we know why cyber attackers target small businesses, let’s look at how they pull it off. Most of the time, it’ll be in one of the following ways.

1. Sneak Attacks

We suppose every cyberattack could be called a sneak attack. After all, they don’t really walk in your front door and say, “I will be robbing you now.” But it’s a fact of cyberattack life that some efforts are more covert than others.

Emails from Nigerian princes saying they’re ready to give you $2 million but will need your bank account first? Obviously a scam.

Zero-day attacks that infect hardware or software systems with malware before a patch can be developed? Not so much. Other “covert” attacks include:

  • APT: an advanced persistent threat accesses a computer system without detection and wreaks havoc over an extended time period. These types of threats are typically state-sponsored but don’t think their size means they won’t notice you.
  • DDoS: or “distributed denial-of-service,” this attack sends the message to users that your network is unavailable.
  • SQL Injection: SQL stands for “structured query language.” This common hacking practice infiltrates and corrupts your code, and it can completely annihilate a database in short order.

Want to improve cybersecurity from day one? Invest in professional support capable of preventing and detecting these attacks before they are firmly rooted.

2. Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are considered one of the more popular cyber attacks. This is where a scammer will send you an email that looks like it’s from a real company you do business with.

The email usually has a link that’ll take you to an equally convincing website. Of course, you have to follow that link and enter your username and password to take care of some trumped-up problem that doesn’t really exist.

What you’re really doing is giving the scammer all your login credentials for the actual site. When that site is your bank account or any merchant you do business with, look out!

3. Malware

Malware fittingly combines the words “malicious” and “software.” It can take the form of a virus, trojan, worm, or spyware. Each of these operates differently but all have the same outcome.

They directly harm the operation of your computer. Getting rid of malware can be difficult, costly, and frustrating. Worst of all, it can sideline your operational systems and hurt your business’s reputation.

4. Password Jacking

One of the types of cyber attacks rising in popularity among scammers is Password Jacking. Rather than using a clever, elaborate phishing scheme to have you give them your login credentials, they simply use software programs to decipher what your password is.

How’s that even possible? Well, it’s not only possible but also a heck of a lot easier than you think.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware is a special form of malware that’s often used in small business cyber attacks. It takes complete control of your computer and locks it from use until you provide sensitive data to the program to release its grip. In these cases, it’s good to have some account takeover prevention tool to prevent it from happening in the first place.

6. MitM Attacks

Man in the Middle (or MitM) attacks affect two-way communications. These types of attacks can actually alter what you believe to be direct communication with a friend, family member, or business associate.

7. Ax Grinding

Disgruntled employees know your system better than any outside actor. And they can do more damage more quickly. So make sure you have a plan in place for locking down access of employees before it ever comes to terminating them.

Guard Against These Most Common Cyber Attacks

Once you learn what the most common cyber attacks are, it becomes easier to stop them. But you have to be vigilant and never let down your guard. And if you’re ready to get your business launched safely and securely, contact Entrepreneurship in a Box today.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan