How Hackers Can Hurt Your Business
Hackers have a wealth of tools at their disposal to cause damage to your small business. From DDOS attacks to cryptojacking, it’s important to understand the ways hackers can attack you. This guide will teach you the most important aspects of how hackers can hurt your business.
Why It’s Important to Understand How Hackers Can Hurt Your Business
You should be aware of the different kinds of cyberattacks so you can easily recognize them. One of the most crucial parts of reducing damage from a cyberattack is recognizing what’s happening and responding appropriately and quickly.
When hackers attack your system, you need to know which actions to take. The type of damage from these attacks varies wildly, and in some cases, can be incredibly subtle. Educating yourself is the best tool you have in your arsenal.
How Hackers Can Hurt Your Business
Hackers have existed as long as the internet, and their tools have grown incredibly sophisticated and numerous. Below is a list of the various types of attacks, signs to recognize them, and how you should respond.
DoS or DDoS
DoS and DDoS stand for denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service, respectively. Hackers who use these attacks aim to make the target’s systems inaccessible through various means. In the most common form of the attack, hackers flood a system with many requests, preventing anyone from using it. The key difference between a DoS and DDoS attack is that a DDoS comes from multiple sources at once, making it much harder to stop.
Small business owners rarely need to worry about DoS or DDoS attacks. Hackers who use these sorts of tools usually aim to take a site or service down rather than steal data or money. In most cases, hacktivists are responsible for these attacks, and they have a political or social agenda behind them, but other reasons for DoS attacks can include revenge or blackmail.
Unless your business is related to the government or goes against an extreme social ideology, it’s unlikely you’ll suffer this type of attack. If you do suffer a DoS attack, the signs are pretty clear. When your website or server slows down or becomes completely inaccessible, it’s probably a DoS attack. Check your access logs and see if you’re being flooded with external requests. If you are being flooded, shut down eternal access to your servers temporarily while you set up a form of request authentication. Cloudflare is one service that can help reduce DDoS attacks for websites and online services.
Cryptojacking is a style of attack that greatly impacts system performance. In these attacks, hackers sneak software onto a target system that is designed to mine cryptocurrency. Most of the time, hackers will use backdoors or security exploits in a business’s software to sneak a mining program into their system.
These attacks can be so harmful that they prevent a business from accessing its full system power. Hacker’s mining software uses that power to mine cryptocurrencies from the internet. This means that systems begin to run slowly and reduce the company’s ability to do their job and make money.
The clearest sign of this type of attack is a sudden drop in your system’s performance. You can identify this type of attack by running a powerful anti-malware program across your entire system. If you do identify this software on your system, you should check your business services. When you find cryptojacking software, it means there’s a weakness in your security.
Malware planting is the act of hackers breaking into a system and installing malicious software. Most of the time, this software is implanted through a security vulnerability in the target system, but social engineering can also be used.
There is a huge variety of types of malware that hackers can install, each with different purposes. Hackers use keyloggers for farming passwords or other key data. There is spyware in general, which reports data to the hackers automatically. One of the most worrying kinds of malware is ransomware, which holds your system hostage until you pay money to release it.
The only real way to detect malware on your system is through regular security checks. Ensure that you’re running scans of your system at least once a week and that your software is up-to-date. If you discover malware on your network, check your system. Malware is a clear sign of a breakdown in security, either through software vulnerabilities or human error.
Data skimming is the act of stealing data directly from a company’s system and is one of the most basic and common types of cyberattacks. Hackers will breach a system, either through social engineering or security exploits, and attempt to set up a backdoor. Backdoors allow hackers to continue accessing a system without the owner’s knowledge for a long period of time.
Data skimming is a massive problem for a variety of different businesses. Exposed data can include banking information, client’s personal data, or other sensitive information. Hackers will either use this information to steal money from bank accounts or sell the data on the dark web. For more information on how criminals use the dark web to sell information, see our guide on the subject.
Detecting data skimming can be difficult, as there is no detectable damage to your system from data being stolen. The only real way to discover data skimming is to regularly check access logs and ensure that no unauthorized access occurs. If you detect a backdoor or data skimming, close up the security gaps and check your business services and cybersecurity practices for vulnerabilities.
Taking Over Social Media Accounts and Websites
If you use social media for your business, then this is another way that hackers can harm your business. Hackers have the ability to hack into your Facebook, Instagram, or other social media accounts related to your business. These hackers will typically either hold these pages/accounts to ransom or sometimes even change their information to something completely different to make money on advertising. In either case, a compromised social media presence can hurt your brand and make you lose customers.
Your small business website can also be a target for takeover by hackers. By cracking your hosting or content management platform, a hacker can gain complete control over your website. Not only does this prevent customers from learning about your services, but it can also be detrimental to your brand. In the past, hackers have changed banners and frontpage images and text to reflect poorly on the company in question. If your domain manager is hacked, the hacker can steal your domain name.
Detecting a social media or website hack is simple. If you keep up an active presence on either your website or online accounts, then you should be notified when any account settings are changed, or a login attempt is made. As soon as you have any suspicion that you’re at risk, change your online passwords and ensure you have 2FA enabled. For more information about securing your online accounts, visit our guides on account security.
Socially Engineered Money Transfers
Socially engineered money transfers are a danger to any kind of business, online or offline. In this type of attack, hackers will usually pose as a bank, financial institution, the CFO of the company, or an online service/store and attempt to trick the victim into transferring money directly to them.
In some examples, victims have transferred more than $20,000 to the scammers. If you’re dealing with business accounts, the potential for harm is even greater.
The best way to detect this sort of attack is to familiarize yourself with how these scams work. As hackers using this method rely on social engineering, education is your greatest asset. We have several guides on recognizing scams, including scam emails, scam texts, and even social media account scams. Familiarize yourself with how these sorts of scams work, and above all else, never transfer money without checking directly with the bank, person, or service in question first.
How We Can Help to Protect Your Business
If you’re worried about how hackers can hurt your business, we at hacked.com can help.
We offer comprehensive business protection plans that are perfect for your small business. Each plan comes with a free consultation to help tailor the plan exactly for your business so that you can buy in confidence.
If you have any questions about your cybersecurity, contact us at [email protected] or arrange your free consultation today.
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