As businesses increase their activities online, so do cybercriminals. The year 2021 was already a big year for cybersecurity concerns, but it seems like 2022 will outdo it. This is partially due to remote work becoming more permanent.
Two evergreen ways to prevent cyber threats from affecting your business are to learn about the most common threats and to find the best managed service provider to actively monitor and protect your systems and network.
Let’s take a look at the five biggest threats to be aware of in 2022.
1. Social engineering attacks
Rather than relying on automated bots to steal information, social engineering attacks rely on humans willingly giving it out. For example, a hacker may pretend to be an employee or client who forgot the password for a sensitive document or account they need to access. Often, the employee believes the hacker and shares the password.
This is a growing problem in remote work environments. One of the best ways to avoid this kind of attack is through employee training on dealing with sensitive data.
Phishing is when cyber criminals bombard a company with fraudulent messages – emails, social media messages, and the like – in order to steal sensitive information or install some kind of malware.
Since there are so many ports of entry (aka individual employees with emails and social media accounts), phishing attacks are remarkably effective. In fact, the personal data of 533 million Facebook (now Meta) users was stolen in a phishing attack in 2019.
Luckily there are quite a few ways to prevent phishing attacks. These include changing your passwords often (and using a password manager to keep track), installing firewalls, not clicking on questionable email links, and only entering personal information on “HTTPS” sites.
3. Malware and ransomware
Malware is any kind of malicious software meant to do harm to a computer. This kind of harm can include stealing data, deleting data, encrypting data, and much more. Common forms of malware include viruses, worms, spyware, and trojan horses.
One of the most notorious and damaging kinds of malware out there is ransomware. A ransomware attack involves the use of malicious software to lock down a company’s computer network. The only way to unlock it is to pay a hefty ransom, and even then, you may not get all your data back. The semiconductor chip company Nvidia learned this the hard way in February of 2022.
Smishing is similar to phishing only it works through SMS. Rather than questionable links sent to your email, smishing involves questionable links sent to your phone via text messages. Clicking on the link gives the attackers access to your phone, which can be used to find banking details and other sensitive information.
To avoid falling victim to smishing scams, it’s important to never click the links, never respond to the messages, and inform the real company of what’s going on.
5. Third-party attacks
Although a strong cybersecurity protocol is essential to develop, it doesn’t guarantee that your business is always safe. That’s because many hackers target third parties who have access to the larger network. If those third parties don’t have a robust cybersecurity plan, then the hackers can sneak in through the open door and do some real damage.
In early 2021, hackers breached Socialarks, a third-party company with privileged access to LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. After that, the hackers stole personal data from a few hundred million users. Third-party attacks are bound to grow as more businesses work with independent contractors.
Keeping the above attack vectors in mind can help you sidestep the threats and focus on growth.