In 2022, over 25,000 businesses in Kent experienced cyber-attacks. Most companies lack dedicated cyber defences or experience in dealing with cyber incidents, making them vulnerable to attacks that can bring their operations to a halt. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are particularly vulnerable due to outdated systems, poor training, and a lack of security protocols. However, large companies across the country are also struggling with the increasing scope and scale of digital threats to their business.
The cost of a cyber-attack to an affected Kent business was estimated at an average of £4,200 in 2022, but figures ranging from £100,000 to millions due to regulator fines are not uncommon. To prevent cyber threats from harming your business, it’s important to understand the biggest threats and take proactive measures to prevent them (GOV, 2023).
Here are the biggest threats and how to prevent them:
- Cryptovirology: Criminal groups use malware to block access to your systems and threaten to publish your personal data unless a ransom is paid in cryptocurrency. To prevent this, keep your software and systems up-to-date, regularly back up your data, and educate your staff on how to spot and avoid suspicious emails and websites.
- Viruses: Your hardware, programs, files, and network are constantly at risk from viruses that can compromise their performance. To prevent this, install antivirus software, regularly update your software, and educate your staff on how to avoid clicking on suspicious links and downloading harmful applications.
- Phishing Attacks: Cybercriminals attempt to obtain personal information such as credit card or bank details, social security numbers, and passwords through deceptive emails or text messages. To prevent this, educate your staff on how to spot and avoid suspicious emails and text messages, and consider using two-factor authentication.
- Password Hacking: Cybercriminals can exploit staff using weak passwords or sharing sensitive information. To prevent this, implement strong password policies, provide regular training to staff, and consider using password managers and multi-factor authentication.
- Poor Patch Management: Most systems or solutions will have update requirements with patches regularly available to fix vulnerabilities and bugs. To prevent this, establish a patch management policy and assign someone in your organisation to manage updates and patches.
By taking proactive measures to prevent cyber threats, you can improve the health, reliability, and security of your IT systems and empower those responsible for overseeing them throughout your organisation.