As the world becomes increasingly digital, cyber security is becoming more and more important for businesses’ safety. As a business in 2021, your finances, business plans and other confidential information is almost definitely stored online in your business’s database.
Cyberattacks on businesses are not all that uncommon, which means that in 2021, they’re one of the most dangerous threats to your business’s security. In order to keep your finances and business information safe and secure, it’s extremely important that you protect yourself from cyberattacks.
What is a Cyber Attack?
A cyberattack is a digital assault launched by a cyber criminal using malware, phishing and other methods in order to disable computers or steal data and information from a business’s system. Cyber criminals use cyber attacks to take advantage of compromised or weak security systems and infiltrate confidential information.
Common types of Cyber attacks
1. Denial of service attacks
Denial of Service attacks, or DOS attacks, are cyberattacks that overwhelm your system’s resources to the point where it’s unable to accept any more requests.
Unlike other types of cyberattacks, Denial of Service attacks don’t actually provide the cyber criminal with access to any of the confidential information you’d have on your database. Instead, this form of cyber attack is used to disrupt business with no direct benefit to the cyber criminal.
The reason these attacks are made is for a cyber criminal to obstruct the performance of a competing business in order to remove competition and gain the upper hand business-wise.
2. Ping of Death attacks
This type of cyberattack uses “IP Packets” which are small sections of the messages in a network protocol, to “ping” an IP system the cyber criminal is targeting. Pinging an IP address increases the original IP packet’s size beyond the maximum allowed size, which in turn causes the system’s IP packets to fragment. As the IP system attempts to reassemble the IP packets, it stresses the system and would create errors during the process, causing it to buffer, overflow and experience other errors and crashes.
3. Smurf attack
Smurf cyberattacks use IP spoofing to redirect traffic from other IP addresses to the target IP address. This is done in order to oversaturate a network with traffic. This overload could create a lot of technical errors for a system that is not built to accommodate such a high volume of requests, and in turn causes the network to crash and experience other errors.
While other cyberattacks could be performed manually, this kind of cyberattack can be entirely automated and is easily repeatable. If the source of the cyberattack is not identified and eliminated, this kind of attack could be incredibly dangerous to your systems because of how easily repeatable it is.
Botnets are millions of systems infected with malware that can be used for a variety of purposes in cyber attacks. These botnets can overwhelm your system’s capabilities as well as infiltrate and collect data from your network.
Botnets are especially difficult to trace because they do not generally group together and are instead found in different locations, which makes them more difficult to prevent.
Recent Cyber Attacks
As digital technology evolves and develops, so does the number of cyber criminals and the different ways they could compromise your security systems.
If events over the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that any business could be a target of cyberattacks, and all businesses need to consult with professionals to ensure their systems are well-protected from potential attacks.
Here are some cyber attacks that have occurred recently:
Texas Ransomware Attacks : In August 2019, a single cyber criminal managed to disable computer systems in 22 towns in American state of Texas, leaving their authorities unable to perform basic tasks like issuing birth and death certificates. The cyber criminal managed to infiltrate their systems through a single point of contact: an IT vendor that provided services to all 22 towns.
Wannacry : Wannacry was a cyberattack that infected many computers in May 2017, encrypting the content of the computer’s hard drives. The cyber criminal demanded ransom in Bitcoin in exchange for decrypting the computer’s hard drives. Wannacry was not contained to any specific location, but it took hold in the United Kingdom’s NHS systems.
How to Respond or Retaliate to Cyber Attacks
Even a small attack can cost your business a lot of money. The best way to prevent a cyber attack is having secure systems installed in the first place to protect your data. However, if you’re ever the victim of a cyber attack, here’s the Do’s and Don’ts on how to handle it:
DON’T just remove malware and call it a day
Malware is only a symptom of the attack, and not the source. Removing it would only be a temporary measure. Once the compromised part of your system has been blocked, work on identifying the source of the attack.
DO alert the authorities and your customers
Alerting the authorities will ensure the threat is being actively pursued by professionals, and will protect your reputation by responding to the cyber attack through legal channels. Alerting your customers and being transparent with them will help you minimise lost customers and minimize bad publicity.
DON’T go entirely offline
Cyber criminals will immediately notice that you’re no longer online, and they’ll realise they’ve been spotted and go into hiding. This only makes it more difficult to identify them and trace the attack.
DO block the compromised part of your system
This way, you’ll prevent the attack from spreading and avoid any additional damage, while still being able to identify where the attack came from.
All types of cyber attacks are dangerous, but luckily, they can all be prevented. Take proper precautions, consult cyber security experts and ensure your systems are secure enough to protect you from malicious attacks. If you happen to fall victim of a cyber attack, make sure you follow the proper measures to save your business after the attack.