As more and more Orange County small businesses rely on Internet connectivity and cloud-based services for their daily activities, the need for robust IT security is greater than ever. Cybercriminals and hackers work tirelessly to create new methods for infiltrating systems, disrupting functions and stealing personal and financial information. Let’s look at a snapshot of the most current IT security threats small business must address here in 2019.
Viruses, Worms and Malware
Computer viruses and worms are malicious codes designed to take over and wreak havoc on computer systems, steal information and even replicate themselves to spread to other devices. These malware programs have long been the greatest threat to small businesses, but the delivery systems have become shrewder over the years. They often arrive as “Trojan horses,” email attachments that seem to be from people you know, but nowadays malware can even be injected via “drive-by download”—simply visiting a seemingly website that doubles as a delivery system. One of the scariest versions of malware today is ransomware, a malicious code by which a hacker locks your computer and threatens to destroy all your data unless you pay a ransom—an extremely worrisome prospect.
Phishing occurs when you receive an email from a supposedly trusted vendor (for example, a bank you do business with), alleging that action is needed on your account and providing a link back to their website to perform that action. (Often to “reset” your password.) In reality, these emails lead to replica websites designed to trick users into giving up their usernames, passwords and/or bank or credit card information.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
With DDoS attacks, cybercriminals initiate an overwhelming number of requests for data from a website all at once, overloading the servers and crippling the system. They often accomplish this task through the use of “botnets,” networks of thousands of compromised computers that hackers can even rent by the hour via the dark web. DDoS attacks can shut down a system for hours or days, costing small businesses double-digit or even triple-digit revenue losses.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)
APTs can be particularly dangerous simply because they can be difficult to detect. An APT is a piece of malicious code that may be quietly injected into a network but effectively sits for a time and does nothing. Eventually, the code quietly begins mining sensitive personal/financial information, or making other changes to the system that may make it vulnerable to secondary attacks.
While all of these IT security threats should be legitimate causes for concern, they can all be deterred and prevented with a robust security system that includes firewalls, password protection and basic staff training. NetServ can work with your Orange County business to create a security plan tailored to your company’s needs. For more information, call us at 1-877-NetServ.