Common cybersecurity threats for SMEs: How to protect your business online


Cybersecurity threats are a real and constant danger for businesses of all sizes, including small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number and sophistication of cyber-attacks. HLB´s Cybersecurity Report 2022found that 78% of businesses fear they are not fully prepare to respond for when an attack happens. Therefore, it is crucial for SMEs to take steps to protect themselves from these threats. In this article, we will outline some of the most common cybersecurity threats that SMEs face and provide tips on how they can protect themselves.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the most common cybersecurity threats that SMEs face. In a phishing attack, an attacker sends a fraudulent email or message to an employee, impersonating a trustworthy source, such as a bank, supplier, or a colleague, in order to obtain sensitive information, like passwords or bank account details. To protect against phishing attacks, it is crucial to educate employees about the threat and the signs to look out for, such as misspelled URLs, suspicious sender email addresses, and requests for sensitive information. It is also important to implement two-factor authentication for all accounts and to regularly update passwords.

Malware and Ransomware

Malware and ransomware attacks are another common cybersecurity threat. Malware is a type of malicious software designed to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorised access to a computer system. On the other hand, Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim's files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key.

 To protect against malware and ransomware, SMEs should ensure that all software and operating systems are up-to-date and that anti-virus software is installed and updated regularly. It is also important to backup data regularly and store it offline.


Insider Threats

Insider threats can come from current or former employees, contractors, or partners who have access to sensitive information or systems. These threats can be intentional, such as theft or sabotage, but are more likely to be unintentional, such as a mistake or an accidental data breach. Our HLB Cybersecurity Survey 2022 found that 77% of senior IT professionals experience a lack of cybersecurity awareness in staff.

To protect against insider threats, SMEs should limit employee access to sensitive information and systems to only those who need it. It is also crucial to establish clear security policies and procedures, conduct background checks on all employees, and monitor employee activity on company systems.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

DDoS attacks involve overwhelming a network or website with traffic from multiple sources in order to make it unavailable to users. These attacks can result in significant downtime, lost revenue, and damage to a company's reputation.

To protect against DDoS attacks, SMEs should consider using a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute traffic across multiple servers and to mitigate the effects of an attack. It is also important to have a plan in place for responding to an attack, such as contacting the company's internet service provider or a third-party security provider.

Passwords Attacks

Password attacks involve attempting to gain access to a system by guessing or cracking passwords. These attacks can be carried out using automated software or by social engineering techniques, such as guessing based on personal information or passwords used on other accounts.

To protect against password attacks, SMEs should encourage employees to use strong, unique passwords for all accounts and implement two-factor authentication wherever possible. It is also crucial to regularly update passwords and to use password managers to securely store and manage passwords..

In conclusion, SMEs face a range of cybersecurity threats that can cause significant damage to their business. By implementing the tips outlined above, SMEs can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to these threats. It is also crucial to regularly review and update security policies and procedures, and to stay informed about the latest threats and trends in cybersecurity. By taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, SMEs can protect themselves and their customers from the growing threat of cyber-attacks.


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