9 cyberattacks that are growing fast and how cyber insurance will protect your business

Key Takeaways:

  • Roughly half of all cyberattacks target small businesses.
  • Cyberattacks cost small businesses an average of $200,000 to recuperate losses.
  • Cyberattacks stem from phishing emails, downloads from websites & social media, and employees/outside users with access to computer networks.
  • Cyber insurance provides businesses with liability protection and helps them recover from an attack.

Think your small-medium sized business (SMB) is safe from cyber thieves because they only target big corporations? Think again. Roughly half of all cyberattacks target small businesses today. This increase in “targeting the little guy” began several years ago and costs businesses an average of $200,000 per attack. By this estimate, even one attack could easily put you out of business. 

What tricks are cyber thieves using to target SMBs more frequently and what can you do to fight them off? We offer this guide on the main attacks that are happening to SMBs, the costs associated with them, suggestions to protect yourself, and the multiple benefits of having cyber insurance. 

9 cyberattack threats SMBs face

SMBs are facing an increasing number of cyberattacks for a variety of reasons. Hackers target these businesses because they store valuable financial and personal data, they provide thieves access into larger corporations, and they often lack adequate cyber-defenses. Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime in the world because of our reliance on technology.

There are several types of cyberattacks. These attacks come from a variety of sources, including infected emails/links, downloads from websites/social media, and people on the outside who have access to your system. 

Here are nine types of cyberattacks that you should know about.

1. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

In an advanced persistent threat, a hacker accesses a computer or network slowly over time to steal or collect information for a bigger attack at a later date. One example of an APT attack is the 2012 incident in which Flame malware infected over a thousand computers in the Middle East and Africa to collect information from governing bodies, educational systems, and private citizens. The malware was spread using network connections and USB sticks. 

APTs frequently target intellectual property (IP) and other data from government enterprises, national defense, manufacturing, and financial services, but they can also attack small or medium-sized businesses. 

2. Phishing scams

Phishing scams usually come in the form of emails or text messages. Users are asked to click a link or download something, which allows the thief to access private information or entire systems. 

The classic phishing attack is the “Nigerian Prince scam” where one person sends an email to a large swath of people asking for bank account information. Phishing scams have become much more sophisticated and targeted, though. They often seem to come from a legitimate source, even using the logo or similar graphics of a company like your bank, credit card company, retail store, or streaming services. 

3. Denial of Service (DoS)

Denial of Service (DoS) attacks are perhaps one of the oldest types of cyber extortion. These scams deny service to users of a system using specially designed data, which causes a system error. It may also overload a system, causing it to slow down or stop functioning entirely. The cyber thieves then demand a fee to “restore” the system.

Casinos are commonly targeted in DoS attacks. The large amounts of money the casino deals with are tracked during business hours. A DoS attack will stop or slow the server during this time or threaten to if the hacker’s demands aren’t met. 

4. Insider Attacks

These attacks often stem from employees, third-party vendors, contractors, or anyone else who has access to your internal systems. The incidents are not always malicious, as the attacks can be unintentional. No matter how they happen, internal attacks can result in stolen data and information. 

One example of an insider attack is of a former Amazon engineer who hacked into a Capital One server hosted by Amazon. By doing this, she gained access to 140,000 Social Security numbers, 80,000 bank account numbers, and a ton of private information.

5. Malware

No doubt you’ve heard of different types of malware. Malware means “malicious software” and it can include viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and key-loggers. This software is downloaded onto a computer without the user’s knowledge. It aims to infect a network or steal data. 

It’s estimated that companies experience malware-related events every three minutes. This activity includes phishing emails, users clicking links on infected websites, and an infected machine making a callback to a command and control server.

6. Password Attack

Password or “brute force” attacks happen when cyber thieves attempt to discover passwords to hack into a system. This can be done using automated systems or software. Once on the inside, the thieves can steal client data, financial information, corporate documents, or intellectual property (IP).

These types of attacks are on the rise because of their simplicity. The company, Citrix, experienced a password attack in 2019 in which hackers removed files and information, downloaded documents, and accessed customer information. They only found out about the security breach once the FBI alerted them.

7. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that gathers and encrypts data and devices on a network. It aims to prevent legitimate users from accessing that network. The thieves then demand a “ransom” for the users to regain access. 

Ransomware attacks keep system administrators, IT personnel, and engineers constantly on their toes. Ransom payments have increased 13%, for an average of $41,000 per incident.

8. Man in the Middle (MITM)

With a Man in the Middle attack, a third party intercepts communications between two other parties. The thief can then listen in to private conversations and/or monitor online activity. 

Modern MITM attacks can take the form of deceptive Wi-Fi access points, which allow the cyber thieves to monitor users via that connection. 

9. Funds Transfer Fraud

Funds transfer fraud happens when hackers trick CEOs, employees, or clients into wiring money into the hacker’s account. This is done by stealing login credentials via phishing or key-logging malware, financial data manipulation, and corporate identity theft. 

If money is wired out, a business will have to hire forensic experts to remove the hacker from their system and patch the security breach. A data breach attorney and PR firm may have to be hired if more information is stolen or reported in the news. Costs for these crimes can reach $500,000 or more. 

Tips to protect your small business

Cyberattacks are malicious and can be very costly. There are steps you can take to protect your networks and sensitive data, however. One of the easiest ways is to install all software and system upgrades. Here are several other tips:

  1. Install software patches.
  2. Monitor network activity. 
  3. Implement two-factor identification for all accounts, admins, and users.
  4. Educate employees about cyber safety.
  5. Establish a program to identify suspicious user behavior.
  6. Use mobile device management (MDM) platforms to centralize control, access, and cybersecurity measures.
  7. Comply with all federal and state cyber safety regulations.

The final step to take includes buying cybersecurity insurance. This is a specific type of commercial policy that is designed to protect businesses in case of a cyber event. 

The importance of cyber insurance

Data is one of the most important assets a business has. It isn’t covered by standard property insurance policies, though. Most business owners have commercial liability insurance, but these traditional policies were not designed to guard against the cyber threats we see in 2021. Commercial policies cover physical property, machinery, and equipment, but not digital assets.

Most businesses have a lot of data and information stored within their networks and on physical or cloud servers. Countless financial transactions are conducted electronically, as well. If your business conducts “business” online you could be vulnerable to a cyberattack. 

Cyber insurance offers liability protection for data breaches that involve targeted or stolen customer information. This will cover legal fees and expenses related to investigating and restoring data. 

What cyber insurance covers:

  • Legal expenses and fees
  • Notifying customers about the breach
  • Restoring customers’ identities
  • Recovering or restoring compromised data
  • Repairing damaged computers and systems

Protect your systems with cybersecurity insurance 

In today’s digital world, businesses of all sizes should have cyber insurance that provides liability coverage and helps them recover from a cyberattack. Avante Insurance can help you find the right policy for your small or medium-sized business. 

We can also take care of a wide range of commercial insurance needs, including:

  • Commercial property
  • General liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Professional liability
  • Employment practices
  • Commercial umbrella

Contact us to request a quote. We will ensure you have the right coverage to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to grow.

This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.