Source: Sophos 2020 Threat Report

In this day and age, cybersecurity is more important than ever. This year, we’re faced with many older threat strategies that have evolved and adapted to a new landscape and to new targets.

Without a doubt, cybersecurity threats continue to be a problem that can’t be addressed with a single, silver-bullet solution. No matter what size your business, a layered security approach has consistently proven to be the best way to guard against security threats – and that won’t be changing anytime soon.

These are the top cybersecurity threats we recommend companies watch out for in 2020.

1. Malicious COVID-19 email spam, malware and ransomware campaigns

Cyber criminals thrive in times of crisis. Watch out for phishing emails that are engineered to get you to click. In the event you do fall victim to a phishing email, you’ll unintentionally download malware onto your device and your company network. With the remote workforce on the rise, now is the time to be vigilant when it comes to cyber security.

When working remotely, it’s important to enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible. (Both on business and personal accounts). You’ll also want to ensure your internet router is up to date on antivirus protection and that you are using a secure connection.

As a business, it is essential to remind employees to use the same care they would with confidential information as they would if they were in the office.

Personal email should not be used at any time for business related work. Remind employees to shred any confidential information they may have printed on their home printer or avoid printing that information in the first place.

2. Ransomware remains a prominent malware threat

According to Datto’s “Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report”, below are some key statistics that indicate ransomware is one of the greatest threats we’re faced with in 2020.

  • In 2019, 85% of MSPs report ransomware as the most common malware threat to SMBs.
  • The average ransom requested by hackers is increasing. MSPs report the average requested ransom for SMBs is ~$5,900, up 37%, year-over-year.
  • Downtime costs are up by 200% year-over-year, and the cost of downtime is 23X greater than the average ransom requested in 2019.
  • 1 in 5 small businesses have fallen victim to a ransomware attack. On average, businesses who don’t outsource their IT services report facing more ransomware

Ransomware has been with us for quite some time and it is interesting to see how it has evolved.

According to SonicWall’s 2020 Cyber Threat Report, ransomware is now being used to target victims that are more likely to pay the ransom given the sensitive data they possess. In 2019, much of the 187.9 million ransomware attacks were targeted at state, provincial, and local governments in addition to educational institutions.

Learn about the best defense against ransomware and spoofing to protect your network today.

3. Phishing Attacks

According to statistics reported by Small Business Trends, 1 in every 99 emails is a phishing attack. This translates to 4.8 emails per employee throughout a 5 day work week. This is especially alarming considering one wrong click can take down your network without the proper security measures in place.

Phishing emails are one of the most effective tools in a cyber criminal’s “bag of tricks” because phishing has proven to be low cost with a high return. Hackers have developed sophisticated ways to trick victims into surrendering sensitive info such as login credentials, credit card details, and more. Phishing attacks are cheap, effective and easy for cyber criminals to pull off.

One of the best ways to guard against phishing attacks is by addressing users – the weakest link. Security awareness training can aid in helping employees learn how to spot a phishing email.

In addition, it pays dividends to evaluate employee privileges and ensure that each user has access to the bare minimum needed for them to fulfill their job. Learn about more phishing solutions to guard your network against this rising security threat today.

4. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

While you might be unfamiliar with DDoS attacks, it is a type of cyber threat your IT professional should be well acquainted with. While the methodology of these attacks vary, denial of service attacks are designed to overwhelm network resources so your system can’t process legitimate traffic on your network.

DDoS attacks are often used as a type of distraction, frequently stopped and restarted in order to hide another attack in progress. While your IT technicians are busy addressing the DDoS distraction, the cybercriminal moves forward with their primary attack, similar to how a magician redirects his audience’s attention so they don’t notice how he performed the trick.

5. Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks Are Rising

In 2019, SonicWall reported a 5% increase in IoT malware, totaling 34.3 million attacks. And with a surge of new IoT devices connecting daily, they suggest increases in IoT malware attacks should not only be expected, but planned for.

If you’re not familiar with IoT devices, “internet of things” refers to Wi-Fi enabled devices like speakers, appliances, and alarm clocks. These devices are often overlooked when it comes to security making them easier to compromise.

To prevent this type of attack, it is critical to keep all firmware updated for IoT devices as updates often resolve exploits that were patched by the manufacturer.

There isn’t a “one size fits all” IT solution that is ideal to address DDoS attacks. It is best to contact your IT professional so they can evaluate your cybersecurity strategy as a whole, along with the threats you face, and the resources you have in place.

Contact Ontech’s support team if you notice any unusual activity with heavy server loads or any other type of unusual network behavior.

Our security technicians have extensive expertise in each of these threats and more. Call 262-522-8560 to discuss setting up a layered security strategy for your business. A quick 10 minute call is all it takes to see if we’re a good fit!

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