Cybersecurity for businesses looks very different in 2022. Over the last few years, the shift toward remote work has triggered a new wave of security concerns. Remote employees are using a mix of their own and company-owned technology, are logging into work systems after hours, and switching between personal and company accounts (email, Skype etc.). All of this makes modern businesses more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
This can be seen, most strikingly, in the statistics. In March 2020, cyberattacks on businesses increased by 69.4%, compared to the preceding year. Cybercriminals recognized that a remote work setting creates vulnerabilities for businesses and have exploited this since. In 2021, a cyberattack occurred every 39 seconds, and this wave of attacks has continued into 2022. Business leaders, who were forced to transform their digital infrastructures rapidly, are having to play catch up to prevent cyberattacks.
What are the biggest cyber threats for your business?
In order to prevent cyberattacks, it’s vital to understand what the threats are. To create a secure enterprise in 2022, we advise looking at threat patterns in recent cybercriminal activities and taking a no-risk approach to your security. Here, we cover key cyber threats and how to prevent them.
In 2021, there was a surge of ransomware attacks. The most prolific actors were REvil, Conti, Darkside, Avaddon, and Phobos, although many more ransomware variants have been found. In 2021, ransomware accounted for $102.3 million per month in transactions. For cybercriminals, ransomware is big business.
The top three infection vectors for ransomware in 2021 were phishing emails, RDP Exploitation (RDP allows users to connect to another computer from remote location), and exploitation of software vulnerabilities. These infection vectors were and remain popular due to an increase in remote work.
Immediate actions to prevent ransomware attacks
- Update all operating systems and company software
- Implement employee training, especially for phishing activities. Educate about the risks of links and attachments
- If you use RDP, ensure it is secure
- Use multi factor authentication, for increased security
- Cloud threats
Businesses, in droves, are moving their digital infrastructure over to the cloud. However, many are doing so without taking the necessary security precautions. In 2022, it’s vital that business leaders think about how to secure data in the cloud, to prevent cyberattacks that will be costly to their organization.
Cloud cyberattacks are, most often, caused by:
- Misconfiguration – errors, gaps, or glitches in your cloud ecosystem which makes it vulnerable to hackers. These are often caused by loose access permissions or encrypted passwords and keys stored in an open repository. As reported by Gartner, through 2025, 99% of cloud security failures will be down to human error. For businesses this is good news — as cloud breaches are very easily preventable. It’s important, then, that you prioritize company-wide education about how to secure data in the cloud.
- API vulnerabilities – cloud applications typically interact with each other using APIs (an intermediary that allows the applications to communicate with one another). Many businesses, however, don’t secure their APIs, which leaves hackers able to exploit this weak spot.
- Malware – cloud applications make viewing, editing, and sharing work documents easy. However, the wealth of data passed to and from cloud applications also leaves it vulnerable to being intercepted. Once it has infiltrated a system, malware will perform an aggressive attack, funnelling data and compromising cloud storage security.
Immediate actions to maintain cloud storage security
- Restrict access to sensitive data
- Tighten loose permissions
- Perform regular reviews of permissions
- Look for storage nodes labelled “public”
- Encourage employees to use a VPN, which encrypts their connection
- Enable multi-factor authentication
- Enable strong encryption and key rotation for sensitive data
- Ensure cloud orchestration tools and APIs are not exposed
- Use a strong anti-malware program
- Vertical specialized threats
An industry vertical refers to a group of companies that focus on a niche or specialized market. Previously, cyber criminals targeted vertical-focused attacks toward finance institutions (i.e. online banks), since they could steal funds and customer data. However, in recent years, financial institutions have toughened their security measures, which leaves them less vulnerable to attacks.
At the same time, personal data has become a commodity, and breaches of data can damage any company’s reputation. This makes almost every vertical a target for cybercriminals.
Vertical specialized cyberattacks are incredibly sophisticated. Hackers will adapt attacks based on the unique processes and technology of a vertical.
For example, in manufacturing, hackers are targeting operating technology (OT) to infiltrate an organization’s network. The higher level of IoT devices in manufacturing gives hackers a window into the company’s digital infrastructure, and from there they can launch a full-scale attack.
For this vertical, malicious actors will steal company data and attempt to control or shut down systems. According to a 2022 IBM report, manufacturing has become the world’s most attacked industry, with system vulnerabilities accounting for almost half (47%) of attacks.
Immediate actions to prevent vertical specialized attacks
- Understand cyberattack trends for your vertical (through a cybersecurity provider with experience in your vertical)
- Perform a risk assessment of your own digital environment
- Take measures to address specific risks, e.g. to secure IoT devices that provide a vector for hackers
Vertical specialized attacks are custom by nature, so there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to prevent cyberattacks of this kind. It’s important that you discover what kind of threats your industry’s technology might pose, in order to tackle them head on.
The bottom line to preventing cyberattacks
As businesses expand their digital ecosystems, opportunities for hackers become plentiful. Adoption of new technology systems, and changes in usage, makes a business more vulnerable to cyberattacks. And the shift toward remote work opens new avenues for cyber criminals to access company data.
For modern businesses to prevent cyberattacks, they need to become more proactive. Industry-specific attacks will continue to rise, and so performing risk assessments of your organization’s specific technology is important. A shift toward the cloud has created weak spots in company networks, so it’s vital to address cloud storage security. Remember, a huge number of security breaches are caused by human error (misconfiguration, phishing emails etc.) so make sure to prioritize security training as a crucial first step.
Is your company secure?
ZAACT’s free consultation will answer your questions, identify your individual needs, and help you to prevent cyberattacks. Get started today with a free consultation.