Top 5 Biggest Cyber Risks for Businesses

Cyber risks

Cyber-attacks and cyber crime are becoming the number one enemy for businesses of all shapes and sizes across the globe. As companies become increasingly reliant on remote working and company devices in varying locations and connected to various networks, they are also becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Here we explore the top 5 biggest cyber risks for businesses:


1. Human Error

They say to err is human and that is no truer than when we look at cyber security issues. More often than not, a large-scale security breach is caused by a careless employee. If an employee uses a company phone or laptop, this is an easy entry point for unwanted eyes to see sensitive data.

Depending on the company and the sector, this can be detrimental to the company’s reputation and can have fundamental implications for the clients. Smartphones and laptops are frequently used to access unsecured databases with sensitive client records.

Data shows that, more often than not, it is the lower-level employees of a company who are the targets of cyber-security attacks. Whether out of carelessness or sheer ignorance, these employees are prime meat for hackers. Make sure you take into account their access levels as well as providing company-wide training.


2. Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks account for 90% of all breaches faced by organisations worldwide. Annually, they account for over $12 billion in business losses. Phishing attacks occur when an attacker masks themselves as a trusted contact and lures the user into clicking on a malicious link or download file.

Increasingly sophisticated, these attacks are becoming more and more commonplace in companies around the world. Part of their danger is that they are very difficult to combat. These attacks, more than other types of attacks, target human weakness rather than technological weaknesses.

Specifically within businesses, Business Email Compromise is growing. This is when phishing attackers steal business email account passwords from the company’s higher-level executives and then use this information to request payments from employees.


3. Cloud Vulnerabilities

Businesses of all sizes and all sectors have become increasingly reliant on cloud services. However, what they may not realise is that this dependency opens them up to a range of cyber-attacks.

Specifically, cloud services can make companies more vulnerable to DoS (Denial of Service Attacks) and Account Hijacking.

To protect against these kinds of attacks, businesses should consider having an effective cloud back-up solution, specific insurance policies and regularly changing passwords.


4. Third-Party and Supply Chain Attacks

A supply chain attack or third-party attack is the name given to cyber-attacks which target a larger organisation via their outside supplier’s security system. Many retailers and large organisations rely on third-party services such as payment processing companies.

Data from the Ponemon Institute suggests that 75% of IT professionals have confirmed that this type of attack is both dangerous and becoming increasingly common. The data shows that 63% of data breaches can be traced back, either directly or indirectly, to a third-party attack.

When dealing with these types of attacks, it is important to note that your company is still liable even if the attack comes from a third party vendor.


5. Ransomware

Ransomware is a buzzword in the business world, as the responsible party for millions of attacks annually. One of the most lucrative forms of attack, ransomware involves blocking a company from its own data via encryption and forcing the company to pay a ransom fee in order to access it.

Small businesses are often an easy target for these types of attacks, making up 71% of all ransomware attacks in 2018. Companies are forced with the tough decision of whether to lose their data forever, or pay up a fee which is, on average, around $116,000. These smaller companies tend to be especially likely to pay a ransom as they often do not have their data sufficiently backed up. One way to prevent this is to get cyber insurance cover in place – just to offset any potential losses.

Data from Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that Ransomware is predicted to hit $11.5 billion in damages and claims a new victim every 14 seconds.

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