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Cyberattacks on Small Businesses and How to Stop Them

In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of cyberattacks on small businesses. Unfortunately, small businesses in the Philippines are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of attacks for several reasons. However, there are some things you can do to make your business less susceptible to attacks. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most common cyberattacks targeting small businesses, and we’ll provide tips on how to protect yourself through a small business cybersecurity plan.

Reasons Small Businesses are Vulnerable to Cyberattacks and Threats

Small businesses are increasingly becoming the target of cyberattacks and threats. According to the study “Cybersecurity for SMBs: Asia-Pacific (APAC) Businesses Prepare for Digital Defense”, over half of all small businesses in the country have experienced a cyberattack within the past year. Losing customer information was the greatest business impact of those cyberattacks, with 73% being affected. This is due to several factors, such as:

Lack of awareness about cybersecurity risks

In the Philippines, small business owners often lack awareness about cybersecurity threats to small businesses. This lack of awareness can lead to a lack of investment in cybersecurity measures, making small businesses an easy target for attackers. This lack of preparedness leaves small businesses vulnerable to a range of threats, from data breaches to ransomware attacks. On top of the financial impact of these cyberattacks, small businesses also face the risk of reputational damage and loss of customer trust. To protect themselves from these risks, small business owners need to educate themselves about the threat landscape and incorporate the best practices for cybersecurity throughout their organization.

Lack of IT resources

Small businesses in the Philippines are often at a disadvantage when it comes to cybersecurity. While large businesses typically have the internal resources needed to effectively defend against cyberattacks, small businesses often lack the same level of expertise and support. This leaves them reliant on external service providers who may not have the same level of expertise or resources. As a result, small businesses in the Philippines are at an increased risk of data breaches and other cybersecurity threats.

outdated software

Outdated software and systems

One of the reasons small businesses are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks is that they often use outdated software and systems. This makes it much easier for attackers to exploit known vulnerabilities in these systems. Large businesses usually have the resources to stay up-to-date with the latest security features and updates, although small businesses are often behind, making themselves an easy target for data breaches and other malicious activity. Small businesses may also not have the financial resources to invest in robust cybersecurity measures, further increasing their vulnerability.

Poor cybersecurity habits

The number of cyberattacks on small businesses continues to grow, and poor cybersecurity habits can make them even more susceptible. Using weak passwords, for example, makes it easier for hackers to gain access to systems and data. Clicking on email attachments from unknown sources can also introduce malware or viruses onto a company’s network. Other poor cybersecurity habits include failing to update software and using unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Cyberattack Prevention for Small Businesses

To protect their businesses, small business owners need to take steps to improve their cybersecurity posture. There are several steps that small businesses can include in their cybersecurity plan:

Raising awareness about cybersecurity risks among employees

One of the first steps that should be taken to improve cybersecurity in the workplace is raising awareness about potential risks among employees. Employees should be trained on how to identify red flags that may indicate that their company is being targeted by an attacker. For example, they should be on the lookout for unusual login activity, unexpected changes to files or applications, and unauthorized access to sensitive data. If any of these warning signs are spotted, employees should know how to report them to the proper authority figures within their company. By increasing employees’ awareness of cybersecurity threats, small businesses can take a major step toward protecting themselves against attacks.

Investing in a reliable security solution

Another important step in protecting your small business from cyberattacks is investing in a reliable security solution. This includes both traditional security solutions, such as antivirus software and firewall solutions, and newer technologies, such as automated penetration testing. Antivirus software works by identifying and removing malware, which is software that is specifically designed to damage or disable computers. In a nutshell, firewalls create a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted one. They do this by inspecting traffic that passes through the firewall and blocking anything that appears to be malicious. Automated penetration testing, on the other hand, is a type of security testing that uses software to test for vulnerabilities in applications and systems. The goal of automated penetration testing is to find and exploit security weaknesses before they can be exploited by attackers.

Keeping software and systems up-to-date

It is important to keep software and systems up-to-date with the latest security patches. This will help close any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers. By keeping systems and software up-to-date, small businesses can reduce the risk of cyberattacks being able to exploit known vulnerabilities. Small businesses should also consider implementing security controls such as two-factor authentication and intrusion detection systems to further protect their systems and data.

cybersecurity in banking

Adopting good cybersecurity habits

While there are steps that businesses can take to protect their data, such as investing in security software, it is also important to encourage employees to adopt good cybersecurity habits. Strong passwords are essential for keeping data safe, so employees should be encouraged to use a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters in their passwords. Employees should also avoid opening email attachments from unknown senders, as these may contain malicious software.

Implementing access controls

Limit access to sensitive data and systems by unauthorized individuals. Insider threats, whether malicious or intentional, can be mitigated by regularly reviewing user access rights and permissions. By restricting admin rights to specific staff or job roles, you can easily identify and address any anomalies or potential cyberattacks.

You can also incorporate authentication methods such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) into your small business cyber security plan to prevent unauthorized access. MFA adds an extra layer of protection by requiring users to provide several forms of identification, including passwords, SMS codes, or biometrics before gaining access.

Changing passwords regularly

Changing passwords regularly is a common but important practice for preventing cyberattacks on small businesses. Organizations often use specialized password management platforms to prevent threats and unauthorized access to employee credentials.

However, if you still depend on your employees to manage their passwords, you can ask them to create lengthy passwords with special symbols, numbers, and capital letters for added protection. Employees can also use a different password for each account and employ mnemonics and other tactics for better recall.

no protection against data breach

Government Intervention Against Cyberattacks

The threat of cyberattacks looms large not only over businesses but also poses significant risks to national security. The Philippines currently enforces the Cybercrime Prevention Act to ward off cybersecurity threats for small businesses, government agencies, and other entities.

These breaches further prove the importance of data protection and the need for an immediate response. For example, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is expanding its existing cyber security group into a full-fledged “Cyber Security Command” equipped with more resources and personnel. The executive office will also review Senate bills to advance cyber modernization programs.

While government intervention seems promising, businesses must take proactive measures to safeguard their own interests and assets and prevent the business impact of cyberattacks.

Strengthening Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Small businesses in the Philippines are facing a growing threat from cyberattacks. However, some steps can be taken to prevent these attacks from occurring. Small businesses can greatly reduce the threat to their cybersecurity by raising awareness about cybersecurity risks, investing in a reliable cybersecurity plan, keeping software and systems up-to-date, adopting good cybersecurity habits, implementing access controls, and changing passwords frequently.

Kital’s solutions and applications can help you keep your company secure. Get in contact with us immediately to discover the best one for your company.

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