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Five impacts of cybersecurity attacks on businesses

Guest Writer: Daniel

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Cybersecurity
Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash

Whether you are a startup, a small business, or a big enterprise, your business can be impacted by cybersecurity attacks. So investing a significant amount of money in securing your network and devices is highly essential.

We live in a fast-evolving digital world where most businesses engage in online transactions and internet activities. So, it is highly essential to safeguard from cybersecurity threats.

Suppose there is some milestone achieved in the cybersecurity industry; hackers become smart to find loopholes to these new milestones. They find ways to perform security breaches, steal crucial data, and spy on business activities.

Small businesses become a target of cybersecurity threats because they don’t implement the necessary security measures to avoid such threats. There is also a misconception that cybercriminals do not target small businesses.

Most small businesses are targeted because they sometimes work with large organizations in a collaboration or partnership. Hackers use this loophole to target big organizations by using these small businesses they collaborate with.

Now let’s dive into the topic to gain insights into the five impacts of cybersecurity attacks on businesses.

1. With Weak Network Infrastructure Can Disrupt Production and Manufacturing Processes

Weak network infrastructure can disrupt the production and manufacturing processes because they run on machine software that handles all the crucial operations. When the network has been tampered with, it halts all the operations involving production and manufacturing.

Network infrastructure should be powerful enough to safeguard the business operations in industries. The impact of weak network infrastructure can halt the crucial production capacity and manufacturing process in industries.

ICS security vendors make the network infrastructure and cybersecurity protocols strong and reliable. ICS security secures the hardware and software used in industries to make the business operations run smoothly.

All the vulnerabilities should be found regularly and sorted out to ward off hackers exploiting the weaknesses of network infrastructure. Cyber attackers usually target when a security update is due to the software and when weak passwords are used for all devices that are connected to the network.

2. Cber-attacks Can Spoil Your Business Reputation

Cyber-attacks will reflect badly on your business credibility, customer trust, shareholder trust, and overall loss of your reputation. Your customers and shareholders associated with your business may move to your competitors if a security breach happens where customer data is at risk.

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Your customer data, which hackers stole, can be sold in the black market. This security breach can lead to legal hurdles and financial losses for the business.

In January 2020, a security breach happened with Canva, and 4 million Canva accounts with passwords were stolen. The passwords were decrypted and shared online, which is an example of a serious security breach that has happened to big organizations.

3. Phishing Attacks Can Cause Operational Disruption

Phishing attacks can make the business lose its market value when a malicious link is clicked in an email by an employee by assuming it was from a verified sender. Phishing attacks account for a total of 90% of cybersecurity threats that happen to organizations globally.

One of the primary effects that phishing attacks can cause is regulatory fines. For example, a hefty fine of 20 million pounds was imposed on British Airways in October 2020. Cybercriminals compromised 400,000 customer personal data.

Other effects of phishing attacks, such as loss of company value, loss of customers, reputational damage, and investors losing trust, can damage a business in many aspects.

Hackers convincingly pretend to be legitimate business contacts and ask a potential employee to send payments via links mentioned in the emails.

When you receive an email, make sure you ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the email ID not a legitimate one?
  • Is the email not acknowledged by your name?
  • Does the email sender sound suspicious?
  • Are there any variations in spelling in the email address?
  • Is the sender asking for your personal information?

If your answer is Yes for any of these questions, mark the email as spam and be cautious.

The hackers use social engineering rather than technological weakness to target the business, which is a big challenge faced in the cybersecurity industry to defend enterprises in a potential security breach.

4. Customer Data Can Be Stolen With Malware Attacks

Cyber-attackers steal customer data by sending malicious code in the form of links to access the network. Malware attacks usually arise from spam emails, downloads, and when connecting to infected devices.

The crucial effects of malware attacks are keystroke mapping which identifies a keystroke and steals your credentials. This usually happens with Trojan malware. Another effect is data exfiltration, where the device control is compromised.

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One of the examples of malware attacks is the ILOVEYOU worm which uses social engineering to execute attacks. More than 45 million people have been affected by this malware in the 2000s which caused $15 Billion in damages.

Malware is said to be the second biggest threat happening with small businesses around the globe. It is very hard for a small business to overcome such malware attackers, and it might lead to legal issues for businesses when customer data is compromised.

When a malware attack happens, it becomes tough to repair the infected devices. Cyber-attackers usually create a backdoor to gain access to the devices, and they exploit it when the security measures are weak.

Usually, malware attacks happen when an employee uses a personal device to access the company website, and such devices can be easily tampered with by cyber attackers. So, it is best to have installed antivirus software in the personal device that employees use.

5. Businesses Lose Huge Money With Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are among the most commonly happening cyberattacks that cause severe damage, especially to small and medium-sized businesses. The attackers encrypt that data and lock it, and the organization has to pay a ransom to unlock the data.

A ransomware attack can affect the downtime of the servers which affects productivity, work processes, and may also lead to data loss. This, in turn, means that all the sensitive business data can be lost if there isn’t a backup.

There was a hefty $50 million ransomware attack on Acer by the Revil hacker group, and they stole sensitive financial documents and spreadsheets. This same group was also responsible for the attack on foreign exchange firm Travelex.

Attackers usually attack small businesses because most of them do not have a backup implemented for their data. Attackers take advantage of this fact. Small businesses have no other choice but to pay the ransom to continue the business operations.

If small businesses have to prevent such attacks, they need to have endpoint protection in place for all their services and devices. This method prevents the attackers from encrypting and lock the data. Also, it helps to detect any ransomware attacks from happening with endpoint protection.

Also, having regular backups of data has to be of high priority, so it would be possible to recover the lost data or restore it to a past date to overcome the ransomware attack. A stable cloud backup solution can effectively make the security measures strong and overcome any sort of cyberattacks.

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Final Thoughts

Cybersecurity threats can impact a business hugely in the financial aspects, and in some circumstances, it may lead to legal proceedings by the customers if their personal data is compromised.

Another crucial impact of cybersecurity attacks is that organization data, business secrets, and intellectual property can be stolen. A reliable firewall, robust network infrastructure, and antivirus software can significantly help prevent cyberattacks.

Security systems should be monitored and appropriately tested by the cybersecurity team often to detect any vulnerabilities. Businesses should employ a separate cybersecurity team to manage all the security tasks and find flaws in the network and systems.

There isn’t such a thing as small lucrative targets because small businesses also deal with vast sums of money. Loss of money in a security breach may sometimes cost millions of dollars which can be devastating for any business, whether small or large.

@TechEconomyNG connects past-present-emerging technological impacts on Businesses, People and Cities. All Correspondence to: [email protected]

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