8 Cybersecurity Threats to Businesses in 2022
More organizations are participating in full-scale digital transformations and adopting digital technologies to future-proof their operations. Indeed, digital transformation is proving an essential strategy in a post-COVID era when so many employees and consumers expect companies to offer digital solutions. Yet, there is one major downside to digital transformation: the increased risk of cyber threats.
Businesses have become the primary targets of cybercriminals, as organizations contain more money and more valuable data than the average individual web user. Executives and other business leaders need to be aware of cyber threats that loom over all digital business operations:
8 Cybersecurity Threats
Traditional phishing. Phishing is one of the oldest and simplest tactics for obtaining a user’s login credentials or other valuable information. Employees might receive phishing emails, phishing instant messages or phishing messages on social media, all of which might give attackers login credentials to company accounts.
SMS-based phishing. Distinct from regular phishing, SMS phishing (also called smishing) usually contains a link, which might appear to go to a legitimate site but actually launches a phishing attack to collect data. Smishing attacks on company smartphones can be particularly devastating.
Malware and ransomware. Malicious programs designed to give attackers access to a business system or network, malware and ransomware can be more effective than phishing because they tend to be more difficult for organizations to interrupt, giving attackers more time to steal data.
PDF scams. Plenty of employees send and receive too many PDFs per day to count, so many open a PDF attachment without thinking. Attackers will often disguise malware or ransomware as a PDF to make it more likely that their program will be opened and infiltrate a business network.
Database exposure. Most often, databases are exposed due to successful phishing or malware attacks, but sometimes, databases are exposed by employees on accident. Unfortunately, any exposure will likely compromise data forever, as attackers greedily collect and save vulnerable data to use in other nefarious deeds.
Credential stuffing. Attackers can use compromised data to identify user login credentials, and then attackers will stuff those credentials into as many accounts as possible. Users who employ the same username and password across accounts are vulnerable to this kind of attack, as are businesses that allow their employees to craft their own login credentials.
Accidental sharing. Employees might accidentally leak sensitive information by sending that information to the wrong email address or social media account.
Man-in-the-middle attacks. One of the rarest forms of cyberattacks but one that many executives fear most of all, MitM attacks involve a cyber attacker gaining control of an organization’s line of communication, so they can view all communications sent and received. MitM attacks tend to be difficult and expensive for cybercriminals, but because they can happen to almost any organization, they are a threat worth considering.
Executives cannot fully eliminate these threats to business security. As long as organizations maintain valuable data, such as employee and customer identity and payment information, cybercriminals will strive to penetrate their security. Until authorities become more adept at enforcing cyber order, the vast majority of cybercriminals will continue their operations unimpeded.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies executives can use to reduce their risk as much as possible. Executives can:
Learn more about information technology. It is difficult to work with security professionals to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy when an executive does not understand the basics of IT. Taking information technology courses online from top universities is a good way to build a foundation of knowledge to keep one’s organization safe.
Hire tech- and security-savvy staff. Most millennial and gen Z workers are hired with innate understanding of tech and cybersecurity — but not all. Security-savviness should be a mandatory qualification for all new hires, who might be tested on their ability to recognize phishing scams, create strong passwords and generally protect company data.
Celebrate cyber hygiene. It is one thing to train employees in cyber hygiene; it is another to show appreciation for cyber hygiene efforts. By celebrating a worker’s commitment to cyber hygiene, companies can link cybersecurity to workplace culture and enjoy a more security-minded workforce.
Cybersecurity is a serious issue — and one that is often overlooked in the midst of a digital transformation. By paying attention to ongoing and emerging cyber threats, executives can develop strategies to keep their organizations safe as they take steps to do business in the Digital Age.