Cybersecurity risk is a well-documented topic and likely needs no introduction. That said, it is one of the number one risks that all businesses of every shape and size face, so the topic can’t be over publicised.
In this article we explore cybersecurity risk, the different types of cyber threats and outline some practical steps you can take to mitigate against them.
Cybersecurity risk refers to the potential damage or consequences that can arise following a failing in your computer network, resulting in any form of financial loss, reputational damage or disruption to your business. 39% of all UK businesses reported a cyber attack between March 2020-2021*
Put simply, with the use of technology, comes cyber risk.
Types of cyber threats and their impact
From targeted ransomware and hacking, to phishing, malware, email compromise, fraud, data breaches, social engineering and employee error, the threat landscape continues to grow in size and complexity. Here’s a detailed breakdown:
Once a network is infected with ransomware, the malware denies you access to your systems and files, with a financial and/or destructive motive. More recently, ransomware gangs have shifted the approach to exfiltrate data from systems prior to the ransomware being executed, with a threat to then publish the data publicly to apply further pressure for ransom payment.
Covering a range of malicious activity, influencing users through psychological manipulation by creating a sense of urgency, curiosity or fear to perform actions or disclose confidential information, often through Phishing Emails. The data obtained is then used to gain access to systems or engineer the transfer of money.
Confidential data is accessed and, in some cases, used to extort companies, or the data is just sold on the dark web. Data could include personal banking information, Personally Identifiable Information, Commercially sensitive data or Intellectual Property.
Whilst there is a malicious element in some cases, the majority of incidents are non-malicious and as a result of a lack of awareness, training or sometimes concentration. With many businesses changing to reflect a remote workforce requirement, this is also a risk that needs to be managed.
Examples of cybersecurity threats caused by human factors include:
- Poor password security
- Accidentally clicking on malicious links and attachments
- Not following processes and procedures, mis delivery of sensitive information.
Third Party Risk
This is the potential threat presented to a business and its operations from supply - chains and other third party outside vendors providing services and having access to your systems and data.
Funds Transfer Fraud/Social Engineering
A relatively common attack in which hackers intercept communications (likely by social engineering/phishing) to redirect funds to themselves. The hacker/fraudster provides illegitimate instructions, posing as another individual or intercepting funds mid-transfer.
How can you mitigate these risks?
Mitigating cyber risk is crucial for safeguarding your digital assets and minimising potential harm from cyber threats. Here are some essential steps and strategies to help you become more cyber resilient:
- Conduct regular security assessments and keep all IT software updated.
- Implement MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) to remote network and email access.
- Regularly review access and administration rights of employees
- Create a positive security culture. Educate employees about different cyber threats as they are one of the best lines of defence.
- Have an incident response plan in place, with a copy kept offline in case you can’t access your systems. Have designated people responsible for implementing the plan in the event of an attack to ensure the business responds quickly.
- Identify the data you need to back up and keep your back-up separate from your system. Ensure that back-ups are kept offline and not connected to the network, so not accessible by staff.
- Ensure physical security is maintained at your premises, restricting access to data, portable equipment and server rooms etc.
- A solid Cybersecurity policy is designed to minimise and mitigate these risks.
If you would like to discuss this topic further and understand the implications on your business, please don’t hesitate to contact the team.