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Every business with a website and an email address is vulnerable to a cyberattack. Large or small, urban or rural, brick and mortar or 100% online, if your business uses the internet, you need to take precautions against breaches, phishing, and hacking.
Cyberattacks can run the gamut of possibilities, from ransomware attacks to supply chain hacks to email phishing scams. While each of these may have a greater or lesser impact on your bottom line, the potential damage of any cyberattack should not be trivialized. The consequences can be economic, reputational, or existential, damaging your businesses’ financial health, community relationships, or ending your business altogether. Here are a few real examples from 2019 of large scale cyberattacks.
The so-called LockerGoga malware is emblematic of what is known as a ransomware attack: a type of cyberattack that infects a network with malware that then takes over the entire system, only releasing it back to the owners after a substantial sum of money has been paid. According to Wired.com, LockerGoga targeted large industrial and manufacturing firms, “at times forcing production plants to switch to manual control or exacting long-term damage in systems that control physical equipment.” Targeted ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly popular largely because of the financial opportunities that are inherent in this type of attack.
American Medical Collection
A data breach at American Medical Collection Agency, a large debt collector in the health-care field, represents one of the largest data breaches of the year, exposing the personal information of nearly 20 million Americans, including highly sensitive information such as birthdates, first and last names, and health care providers. The incident is thought to be the result of an unauthorized user accessing AMCA’s web payments system. Customers of AMCA who paid using their credit cards later had their accounts flagged for fraud.
The breach highlighted not only the detrimental impact this kind of cyberattack has on customers of an affected company, but also the devastating impact it can have on business: AMCA later filed for bankruptcy, citing the enormous costs of managing the aftermath of the breach.
The Internet of Things
Currently more than 7 billion devices are connected to the internet, according to IoT Analytics, and every one of those devices represents a critical security risk for business. As devices from smart watches to refrigerators, tablets to security cameras link up with public and private networks, the potential for bad actors to take advantage of unsuspecting users is high. A recent report from Forbes states that cyberattacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices is up over 300% for 2019 and measures in billions of incidents.
The obvious problem for businesses is how to manage and protect authorized and unauthorized devices while they are engaging with the network. It can be difficult for IT departments to even be aware of every device that is on their network, leaving businesses vulnerable to attacks generated from connected devices. According to Forbes, the biggest risk comes from “the use of these [devices] as soft access points into wider networks. Attacking an unpatched printer or VOIP phone to access a … secure network is clever and dangerous.” And, going into 2020, it appears the prevalence of this type of attack is only going to increase.
Protecting Your Business
Businesses aren’t helpless in the face of increasing digital security threats; there are a number of simple ways to mitigate the risk and impact of cyberattack. The most powerful resource you can employ is to partner with a Managed IT provider like Gilmore to ease the burden that your current IT staff carries, freeing them to focus on strategic business goals while Gilmore provides peace of mind. To find out more about the security services that Gilmore provides, please visit our website and call for a free consultation.