Understanding and preventing cyberattacks

Posted in Business

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All businesses are at risk for cyber security breaches. The first step in cyberattack prevention is understanding how damaging they could be to your operations.

There are plenty of steps your business can take to make sure you’re at the top of your cyberattack prevention game. Educating yourself on what cyberattacks are and why they’re such a threat is a great place to start.

What are cyberattacks and who is targeted?

Cyberattacks can have many end goals: control a network, steal data, disable systems and more. Cyber criminals attack businesses of all sizes and industries, so it’s important to implement cyberattack prevention practices for the best protection.

Many small businesses have an “it won’t happen to us” attitude regarding cyber security, until it actually does. Roughly 43% of all cyberattacks are targeted toward small businesses. This goes to show you don’t have to be a large corporation to benefit from cyberattack prevention measures. When it comes to your business operations and the protection of your employers, customers and clients, all data is valuable data.

How and how often do cyberattacks happen?

Cyberattacks occur about every 39 seconds and there are many reasons as to how they happen. Most of the time, they occur because hackers find a vulnerability in a business’s cyber security and exploit it. This could be anything from easy-to-guess passwords, clicking on a link riddled with malware or because your business doesn’t have any cyber security prevention or protection at all. That said, it’s best to follow online safety tips to avoid any attacks.

Are cyberattacks really that dangerous?

Yes! Cyberattacks are more sophisticated than ever and it doesn’t take much for hackers to access your, your customer’s or your client’s personal or financial information.

For example, phreaks of the 1950s made free long-distance calls by hacking into telephone networks. The T-Mobile hack of 2021 exposed more than 50 million customers’ data with ease. Cyber security attacks saw a 600% increase since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cyberattacks are becoming more and more damaging with new methods emerging all the time.

The cost of an attack

The cost of a data breach is different from case to case but there are a few certainties. In the short term, your business may face loss of revenue or fines from data protection regulators. Depending on your size, these costs vary in seriousness. If you’re a large corporation, you can probably bounce back. However, small businesses don’t typically have that luxury. As many as 60% of small businesses shut down within six months of a cyberattack.

If you think those costs are bad, wait until you hear the long-term costs. The reputation damage businesses go through because of cyberattacks alone is enough to make you want to look into cyberattack prevention and cyber insurance, but the loss of trust among your customers is often the deciding factor in the future of a business after a cyberattack.

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Cyberattack prevention tips

Follow these steps to protect your business, employees and customers from the actions of cyber criminals:

Educate your employees

Believe it or not, data breaches can happen internally. Clicking links or responding to email phishing attacks happen all the time and are one of the most common cyberattacks affecting businesses. These links can steal your information as fast as you click on them. It’s best to have designated training sessions with employees to inform them about cybersecurity best practices.

Only access secure sites

Sites that have ‘HTTPS’ before their URL indicate the site is secure. Be careful not to stumble upon unsecure sites because they’re perfect for hackers to add spyware or steal your information such as your credit card or date of birth. It’s good practice to block unsecure, untrustworthy sites so no one on your team accidentally happens upon one. Fortunately, there are countless site blockers out there to help you protect your business.

Schedule company-wide password updates

It’s helpful to regularly update your passwords. Consider switching your password even before you’re prompted to. Encouraging unique passwords goes a long way in deterring any malicious activity too. For example, don’t use something easy to guess like your pet’s name.

Only access sensitive data at the office

Network security, or lack thereof, is a big issue if many people work from home. Companies can’t ensure their employees have an advanced, secure WiFi network at home, making them targets for cyberattacks. If you’re working with sensitive data, it’s a good idea to set up schedules for employees to come into the office to work under a secured network. This is a small way you can help prevent cybercriminals from stealing your company’s or your customer’s information.

Cyber Insurance

There are many ways to prevent cyberattacks with help from your Grange agent. Talk to an independent Grange agent to learn about cyber coverage for all eligible Business Owner Policies (BOP) and Commercial Package Policies (CPP).

This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. Implementing these suggestions does not guarantee coverage. If any policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. For full details on Grange’s business insurance coverages and discounts, contact your local independent agent.

The Wall Street Journal
Cybersecurity Ventures

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