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Top 7 Cyber Security Threats Today

Over the past few years, the world has become increasingly reliant on technology. And, today, devices and software are changing all aspects of our lives, from the way we bank and manage our finances to the way we run our businesses. 

But with great breakthroughs also come significant risks. 

Cybercrime was up by 600% in the first year of the pandemic alone, and cyberattacks continue to rise in prevalence at a whopping annual rate of over 15%. What’s more, according to the Global Risks Report 2020 by the World Economic Forum, the rate of cyberattack detection in the U.S. is as low as 0.05%. 

All of this makes cybersecurity one of the top ten risks to humanity both in terms of likelihood and impact. 

Fortunately, there is a lot that you can do to protect yourself, your business, and those around you. 

First County Bank has created this guide to help you better understand the top cybersecurity threats today and how you can stay protected from them.

Human Error and Social Engineering

Social engineering –the process by which people are manipulated into divulging sensitive information–has become a major threat. According to the 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, over 80% of all data breaches have a human element, which could be the result of human error, misuse, or social engineering attacks. 

From phishing incidents to ransomware attacks and email impersonation, users are manipulated into performing actions that would grant cybercriminals access to confidential information and data.  

And, as the percentage of the population working remotely increases and the number of cryptocurrency users multiplies, this threat will only likely become more prevalent in the future. Receiving the right cybersecurity education is essential to preventing these attacks. 

Third-Party Service Providers 

According to Security Magazine, over 43% of cyberattacks are directed toward small businesses. And beyond the financial impact that a cyberattack might have, data loss and identity theft can cause significant damages in terms of reputation, consumer trust, and productivity. So it’s no surprise that third-party vendors and service providers are one of the main culprits behind successful cyberattacks directed at small businesses. 

You might be able to protect your small business with the most advanced cybersecurity systems available, but you won’t be able to fully control the level of cybersecurity implemented by external partners, contractors, and freelancers. 

It’s best to review your vendor’s cybersecurity protocols either personally or by hiring a specialist to ensure that adequate protections are in place.

Not Following Cybersecurity Best Practices

Nothing can be left to chance when it comes to protecting your business from cybersecurity attacks. Unfortunately, most individuals and businesses use outdated systems to store and manage their data including human memory, sticky notes, and spreadsheets. These systems are not only easy to hack, but they also represent a weak link in your cybersecurity strategy that puts your entire organization at risk. 

According to the 2022 ESG Research Report, most businesses are at risk because of outdated or insufficient cybersecurity hygiene practices. To strengthen your business’s defense against cybersecurity attacks, secure your Wi-Fi networks, introduce multi-factor authentication systems, keep your software up to date, and implement the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). 

IoT Devices

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are everywhere today. From the smart home devices, you use to control the temperature in your home to the connected vehicles in your business fleet, IoT devices and networks can boost productivity, comfort, and profitability. 

But, these devices also collect and store an unprecedented amount of data, and an estimated 70% of them come with significant vulnerabilities that make them prone to cyberattacks. It isn’t surprising that cyberattacks on IoT devices have increased by 700% just in the past three years.

And as we become more reliant on these devices, it is recommended for individuals and business owners alike to conduct thorough research into how these devices are protected. 

Attacks Directed Towards Mobile Devices

Cyberattacks involving mobile devices and smartphones are on the rise growing by 6 percentage points just between 2017 and 2018, and this trend is only becoming more prevalent. 

Today, smartphones and other mobile devices offer many applications and functionalities that store data about every aspect of an individual’s life. From online banking and personal finance apps to fitness applications and passwords, the vast majority of a person’s personal information can be found on their smartphones making mobile devices a worthy target for bad actors. 

The Lack of Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan

As seen above, protecting your personal and commercial data from cyberattacks is paramount. However, cyber threats become more ingenious by the minute with individuals constantly finding new ways to overcome the latest security updates. 

Because of how quickly these threats are developing, it might not always be possible to prevent them. In this case, having a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan in place might be the ultimate safety net to protect your business, data, and identity. 

Cyber attacks remain unnoticed for an average of 209 days, and businesses take an additional 73 days to contain them. Having adequate post-attack procedures to detect and contain attacks, as well as to prevent other attacks from happening, can help you limit the damages reported by your organization. 

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks have been growing in frequency and intensity over the past several years, and their average ransom demands can be as high as $200,000. 

While these attacks cause significant financial damage to businesses and organizations, they can also impact other areas of the business including its reputation and revenue loss. Additionally, around 60% of companies that are victims of ransomware attacks and data breaches go out of business or file for bankruptcy within six months of the attack. 

Educating your employees about cybersecurity best practices, keeping your systems secured and updated, and using data management and backup systems remain the most efficient strategies when protecting your organization from ransomware attacks.

Keeping Yourself and Your Business Safe from Cybercrime

Cybercrime is a natural consequence of the spike in technology adoption. However, this doesn’t mean that you should expose your data or business to unnecessary risks. Partnering with cybersecurity experts and leveraging the services of trustworthy third-party providers can significantly help you strengthen your defenses.

If you’d like to learn more about other security risks, check out our Customer Security Awareness page.