It’s tempting to think that cyberattacks could never happen to your small- to medium-sized business. After all, criminals mostly target big corporations, right? Wrong. Anyone can be susceptible to cybercrime, which can take the form of hacking, phishing, ransomware, and many other forms. Now that many SMEs are employing remote workers, the risks are higher than ever. Unsecured networks and devices, out-of-date software, and poor Internet practices all make it more likely that your team will be attacked — and the results could be devastating for your business. Read on to learn how to boost your cybersecurity.
Types of Cyber Crimes:
To prevent cyberattacks, it’s crucial to understand what criminals are after and how they operate. Antivirus programs can cause a false sense of security, because not only do they not detect all ransomware, but criminals can also use social engineering, in which they trick your remote workers into downloading malicious software. Here’s a brief rundown of their different tactics:
- Phishing: In this approach, cybercriminals “spoof” email addresses to pretend that they are legitimate senders. They then send links to members of your team that cause malware to be downloaded. Phishing is especially harmful to remote workers because they rely upon email to communicate. They also may be using unsecured devices that cannot ward off malware. Types of phishing include business email compromise (BEC), in which your team members are tricked into wiring money to a criminal’s account, and malware distribution, in which they download software that collects sensitive data on their device.
- Data Theft: Your customers’ and employees’ data can fetch a large sum on the black market, especially if you store financial information such as credit card numbers. Cybercriminals will attempt to break into your databases to steal this data via tactics such as SQL injections. Teams with remote workers often use cloud-based solutions to store this information, but these systems can be vulnerable to attack. Losing this information to thieves can shake consumers’ confidence in your business.
- Ransomware: This kind of malware is among the most common. It can be sent via email, but it can also be transmitted through basic Internet activities. Cybercriminals typically use ransomware in a scattershot approach, attacking anyone they can, which means everyone is vulnerable. Ransomware locks your computer and data until you pay a ransom. This, obviously, can be devastating for a SME that relies upon its equipment and data to conduct business — especially with remote workers.
*QUIZ: TEST YOUR RANSOMEWARE KNOWLEDGE*
Preventing Cyber Attacks On Your Remote Workforce
Cybercriminals usually attack by posing as members of your organization, sending malicious links, hacking into your databases, or attempting to intervene in your employees’ Internet data transfer. This means that your cybersecurity plan should encompass protection for both your hardware and software, as well as training to resist cyberattacks. Here’s what to do:
- Company-Owned Devices: SMEs often work with individuals, e.g. virtual assistants or freelancers, who work on their personal devices. These computers and their Wi-Fi networks typically don’t have commercial-grade network protection. That means that malicious traffic could make its way through. Whenever possible, give your team devices that are equipped with antivirus, firewall, and mail guard software, and prevent downloading of unnecessary software.
- Protected Networks: If your employees are in-house, you can easily restrict outside traffic from accessing the networks and any information shared on it. Remote workers, however, may be using unsecured networks, leaving work documents or data logins vulnerable to scraping by 2 cybercriminals. Require that all remote workers perform their work on a secured network. Otherwise, have your team connect to your company’s network via a secure VPN.
- User Training: While ransomware and all malware can make its way onto any device, they almost always do so when the user clicks a strange location or accesses a malicious website. Your team, especially your remote workers, should be thoroughly trained in how to spot suspicious sites. This can include installing browser protection, not accepting fraudulent certificates, and knowing how to identify phishing emails.
To protect your business from cyberattacks, you must implement protective measures on all fronts. Your remote workers could be a point of vulnerability, so make sure that they are accessing the Internet safely and can fully implement your company’s cyber security plan. By training and educating your team, you can further reduce the likelihood of attack and protect your business’s valuable assets. For more information and personalized advice on how to secure your company’s equipment and network, reach out to Next I.T.