Businesses suffer financial losses, reduced productivity, and reputational damage from a malware attack. This can cost a company millions in lost revenue and recovery costs.
Cybercriminals are actively working to disrupt the operation of businesses.
A ransomware attack is one of the most damaging cyberattacks a business can face. Affected businesses are locked out of their systems, unable to access data, and forced to pay a ransom to get their systems back online. This can lead to lost revenue, damage to the brand, unplanned workforce reductions, and even closure of a business.
Ransomware is one of examples of malware attacks that prevents access to files by encrypting them until a ransom payment is made. This has exploded in popularity for criminals who target individuals and businesses. High-profile attacks like the Colonial Pipeline attack that briefly skyrocketed US gas prices and the $40 million ransom paid by CNA Financial have put ransomware in the spotlight.
According to a recent report from ransomware recovery specialists Coveware, small and midsize businesses are the primary targets of these attacks, with 1 in 5 businesses completely ceasing operations until the issue is resolved. This makes it especially important to make sure all employees understand how to avoid ransomware attacks by scanning computers with antivirus programs, storing backups in the cloud or on an offline storage device, installing security updates as soon as they are available, limiting user privileges, and using two-factor authentication to ensure that a compromised password alone won’t allow attackers into an organization’s systems.
It is also crucial to practice incident response plans regularly so that if an attack occurs, the company can be prepared to respond quickly and effectively.
Phishing attacks are one of the most frequent forms of cyberattacks. These attacks cost businesses billions of dollars per year in the US alone. However, these numbers do not fully account for losing customers and partners. When attackers trick employees into clicking on phishing links, they will receive malware that can damage their devices or encrypt their data.
Most phishing attacks involve email attachments. Malware in phishing emails comes in various formats, including PDF files and fake CAPTCHAs. However, the most common attachments are Excel documents (39.3%) and Word files (14%).
Spear phishing attacks are more sophisticated than standard phishing attacks. These attacks are used to steal sensitive information and money from large companies. They require special knowledge about the victim’s company, such as the identity of high-level executives and their vendors. This knowledge is often gained through social media or hacking into the victim’s personal accounts.
The most expensive phishing attacks involve CEO fraud or business email compromise (BEC). Attackers impersonate a senior-level employee to request a wire transfer or share confidential information with unauthorized parties. In one case, a Minnesota drug company was attacked in this manner. The attackers impersonated the CEO and instructed the accounts payable coordinator to send wire transfers to their bank accounts.
These payments are made without the victim’s consent, and they can result in a significant financial loss for the company. This is particularly true for small businesses. From a furniture company paying $150,000 to resume operations to community colleges losing their private patient data, these types of attacks can have catastrophic consequences.
A botnet is a large group of malware-infected Internet-connected devices or computers that attackers control. Criminals that hijack devices and install malware are referred to as bot herders. Bots can be used to attack a business or other organizations by sending massive amounts of denial-of-service (DoS) traffic to their targeted victims, stealing credentials and other sensitive information, delivering malware, or engaging in covert intelligence collection.
Bot herders can target any device with an Internet connection, including computers, cell phones, TVs, routers, and even smart devices like refrigerators and lighting fixtures. They use malware to infect devices with the bot code and connect them to a central server, where attackers send instructions to them. The bots then follow the commands.
Most malware is designed to be stealthy, so identifying the presence of these threats can be difficult. However, watching network bandwidth and usage patterns can help you spot unusual activity that might indicate that a device has been hijacked for malicious purposes.
Companies that are impacted by these threats face substantial costs due to the need to remediate and repair impacted systems and the time and resources required for IT and customer-facing call centers to resolve issues caused by bad actors. Affected businesses also spend time and money settling customer disputes when their accounts are hacked or compromised and require refunds or credits.
Denial of Service Attacks
The Internet is more than just a digital communication medium; it’s also critical for the economies of nations and businesses worldwide. It is essential in collaboration, business operations, e-commerce, and innovation. Despite its crucial nature, it is not immune to threats and abuse. One of the most damaging of these is a denial of service attack (DoS).
DoS attacks work by flooding a server with illegitimate requests, exhausting the system, and stopping access to services for all legitimate users. These types of attacks are often seen on high-profile websites, but they can occur on any system. Even industrial control systems that support important processes can be subject to DoS attacks.
Some of the most destructive DoS attacks leverage high-capability attackers with state involvement or sponsorship. These attacks are designed to cause the most severe impact, ranging from disrupting critical infrastructure such as electricity or financial services to public confidence in household names such as news, weather and broadcast networks.
Regardless of the scale or intent of the DoS attack, the impact can be felt far and wide by any business that’s hit. From a loss of revenue to the costs of marshaling urgent resources to resolve an ongoing attack, it’s easy to see how a successful DoS can devastate any organization