The short answer is, yes. Yes, you are at risk for cyber attack.
The majority of online attacks happen with small- to medium-sized businesses. The prevailing assumption might be that only the Big Guys, the Fortune 500s with a lot of money and sensitive information, get hacked. But “the Big Guys” have taken steps to protect themselves, making it less advantageous for hackers to even try. This averts hacker attention from a few, big payout ransoms to several, smaller ransoms.
Think of hackers as shrewd business people. They can attack ten, smaller companies with less effort than it would take them to attack one company with the most sophisticated tech Fortune 500 money can buy.
So yes, your small- to medium-size company is very susceptible to cyber-attack.
How do I know if my company is attacked?
Well, if you notice it’s happening, it’s too late. Hackers are patient and work specifically to be undetected. They may force entry into your company network, download all the sensitive information your company has, and then wait for the right moment to charge you ransom.
How does a hacker get access?
Forget the Hollywood hacking you’ve seen; it’s much easier than that.
A hacker can get access to your website via:
- weak passwords
- an update to the website that leaves a digital-door open just long enough for them to get in
- someone in your company clicks on the wrong email
- buying passwords on the dark web
According to the Chicago-based IT company, XL.net, 100% of the companies have staff passwords on sale on the dark web. They have yet to find a counterexample for a company that’s been around for at least two years. It is just a reality.
Once a hacker gets access, they deploy their tools. Their tools go in and take inventory of the network, the computers, and the servers. They’re getting more knowledge about you and they could sit there for a couple of days or a couple of months preparing for the day that they’re gonna trigger the attack and ask for ransom.
When they trigger the attack, they try to do it when they think no one is not watching. You’ll see that happening frequently on holiday weekends because they need a couple of undisturbed hours to execute the cyberattack fully. In 2021, almost all of them are not just encrypting all your data, they are taking all your data and getting a copy of it in their own environment.
The hackers are usually very direct and informative about what they have and what they want you to do. One day, you may log into your website and find a charming note covering your backend. The note will let you know what information has been stolen and how you need to proceed with the ransom, some even have helpful instructions on how to get the cyber currency in order to pay.
If I pay the ransom, how do I know the hacker won’t sell my information anyway?
Once you’re hacked you’re hacked. Pay the ransom and protect your business and your clients from exposure.
How can you be sure that the hackers won’t take your money and sell your company information anyway? Well, think of hacker economy: if they are asking for ransom–millions of dollars–and post-payment, do not do what they said, they are hurting their own industry.
In order for hacking to remain a profitable industry, hackers have to instill trust in those they’re holding for ransom.
How do I protect my business from a cyber attack?
There are two things you should do to protect yourself from cyber attack:
- hire a knowledgeable IT firm
- get cyber security insurance
An IT department can install multi-factors, which is the qualified login for the website. Think of logging into your bank: they often ask you to validate that you are who you say are you through a mobile phone, an app, or key chain attachment. That is a secondary-way multi-factor authentication that you are who you say you are, besides just a password that can be easily compromised.
IT services can help reduce your risk by up to 80% by monitoring your web environment for security breaches and weak access points.
It’s also very necessary to invest in cybersecurity insurance. When a cyber-attack happens, your insurance policy will do three things:
- Hire a specialized forensics team to identify what has been taken and where the security breach is and to secure the website from any further penetration.
- Have a legal team investigate the hackers’ claims and make sure you’re not breaking any federal laws by paying a foreign agent and committing treason against the U.S. government by paying the ransom you’re not supposed to pay.
- And issue payment (if it’s deemed legal to do so) to the hacker’s satisfaction so can save yourself and your clients from exposure.
It is unrealistic to expect your IT department to manage a cyberattack and most IT firms today require companies they work with to have at least a $2 million dollar cyber insurance policy.
For full service, IT support, contact XL.net today
Small- to medium-sized businesses often make the mistake of thinking they are too small to be hacked, but that’s simply not true. They are frequently targeted and often have much more risk than big companies since the effects of a security breach tend to be more damaging. Plus, outside hackers aren’t the only threat to a business — human error is another big concern.
As a trusted cybersecurity services company in Chicago, XL.net can help with all of these issues and more. We provide comprehensive cybersecurity solutions to SMBs as part of our managed IT and technology alignment services.
Contact us today to get started assessing your cyber security.