The biggest cyber threats faced by small businesses in Pakistan
Small businesses are just as vulnerable and at risk from cyber security threats as large companies and in a country like Pakistan where cybersecurity is neglected all the time, small businesses are highly vulnerable. Small business owners usually have the idea that their business is too small to be a target of any cybercriminals but that is not the case.
We are seeing cybercriminals automating cyber-attacks which makes it easier for them to target multiple small businesses at once. The reason why small businesses are an easy target for them is that they don’t have stringent technological defenses in place that can protect them against cyberattacks.
Small businesses also have the most to lose from a cyberattack because these small businesses don’t have proper backup systems in place which leads to these businesses losing huge amounts of money in cyber breaches. For awareness purposes, we will be discussing some of the popular threats that small businesses in Pakistan and all over the world need to be aware of:
The biggest and most common cyber security threat that small businesses have to worry about is phishing attacks. About 90% of all the data breaches that occur are because of phishing attacks and in the past few years, phishing attacks are on the rise.
Phishing attacks occur when an employee opens a malicious link, downloads a malicious file, or gives access to sensitive information to someone who pretends to be a trusted contact. These attacks have grown to become much more sophisticated in the past few years and cyber attacks are coming up with new convincing ways to gain access to sensitive information.
Phishing attacks are difficult to tackle because they target humans with psychology and social engineering rather than targeting a technological bug or weakness.
The second biggest threat that small businesses are facing is malware attacks. Malware is a term that is used for malicious code that is created by hackers to gain access to networks and computers, and steal/destroy data on them. Malware usually gains entry into the network such as 192.168.1.1 or computes through an infected device, a malicious website, or spam emails.
Malware attacks are particularly very damaging to small businesses because malware can cripple all the devices on a network or all the data stored on a computer requiring expensive repairs and temporary stoppage of business operations. These can also give access to attackers and put the company’s data at risk if this is something that attackers are looking for.
The best way to fight malware attacks is by having proper protection solutions in place, both on the network and also on connected devices. The access to the central control panel of the network which is the default gateway address, 192.168.0.1 should be restricted to admins only and it must be ensured that the security of all the devices is up to date.
In Pakistan, Insider Threats are a major issue that is faced by both small businesses and large enterprises. An insider threat is a risk to the company caused by the action of an employee, former employee, or business associate that has access to vital information. Since these aforementioned people have unrestricted access to vital information of a company, these people can cause a lot of harm to the company of greed or malice.
Sometimes, the damage can also be caused by the ignorance and carelessness of an employee who happens to fall victim to a trap and leaks out sensitive information unintentionally. This is a growing problem and employees should be educated on this so that they don’t end up leaking the information unintentionally.
The information available to employees or business associates should also be limited so that even if they want to cause damage to your company, they wouldn’t be able to.
Although not very much common in Pakistan, Ransomware is another common cyber-attack globally that hits thousands of businesses every year. These attacks are becoming popular throughout the world as they are becoming one of the most lucrative and rewarding forms of cyber attacks. Ransomware attacks are highly rewarding and cyber attackers are coming up with new techniques and ways to attack businesses.
Ransomware involves encrypting the data on a network or a computer so that it cannot be accessed or used. The cyber attackers force the business owners to pay the ransom in order to get the key to unlocking the data. This leaves businesses in a tough situation, either to lose the data and stop operations or pay the ransom and lose a huge amount of money.
Small businesses are the ones that are affected the most because they don’t have proper endpoint solutions or backup systems in place to prevent ransomware attacks.