7 types of computer threats that every SME should know
If you run a business, you need a website. Today’s technology makes it very easy for businesses to go online. But what about computer threats for SMEs?
A website is a very valuable asset for your brand, unlike a Facebook page, which could be closed at any time and for any reason.
A web page is a place where your customers can find the answers to all their questions, they can even discover how to get to your physical location. And if your website is totally focused on your business , it is important that you know what are the cyber attack threats that you can find and what kind of maintenance you should carry out.
The maintenance of a website covers all the activities that you must carry out to guarantee that it is kept up to date and in operation. An important maintenance activity that many do not pay enough attention to is web data security.
According to Kaspersky Lab and the Ponemon Institute, 60% of SMEs disappear within six months of receiving a cyberattack. It’s easy to understand why: the exposure of sensitive information can damage users’ confidence in the proper security of their data.
However, this should not scare you! In the case of small companies, you do not need to contract the security plan of the FBI. In fact, you don’t need a big budget to adequately protect your website against computer threats either.
But you do need a proactive approach and the help of specialist professionals to check the security of your website and implement measures to prevent possible computer attacks.
Article with updated content in 2021*
7 types of common cyber threats for SMEs
Web security covers a wide repertoire of attacks and solutions. These are the 7 most common computer threats:
- SQL injection.
- Cross Site Scripting (XSS).
- Password attacks.
- DDoS attack.
- Incorrect security settings.
While there are other cyber threats that can affect your website’s security, protecting your site against these seven types of cybersecurity vulnerabilities will help keep you on the right track.
Malware is software created for malicious purposes, designed to infect and damage a system.
Since it is a broad term, malware encompasses vulnerabilities ranging from computer viruses to adware that can infect both computers and web pages.
The consequences of a malware cyberattack involve the exposure of sensitive data, including your customer information.
Malware attacks can be very damaging to businesses, especially those that are unable to recognize them.
In Q2 2021, McAfee Labs monitored an average of 688 malware threats per minute . A figure 3% higher than that of the first quarter of this year.
Two of the most common types of malware are:
Defacement, which changes the appearance of a website. Usually, the page will display a message containing the hacker’s name.
Malicious Redirect – In this situation, when users access your website, they are redirected to another page that contains malicious content. This can make certain pages, or even the entire web, inaccessible to users.
GoDaddy Website Security offers several options to keep your website secure, including malware scanning, prevention, and removal .
This tool is ideal for small business owners who do not have the time, special knowledge, or technological resources to properly protect their sites from Internet threats.
Vulnerabilities typically occur when a page contains a security flaw in the code that allows those with malicious intent to attack or gain control.
This is commonly caused by issues with outdated WordPress plugins or other tools used on your website.
SQL injection is a type of cyber attack that involves malicious SQL statements or application code being injected into user input fields. This process allows attackers to gain access to the web backend or corrupt database content.
If the attack is successful, they can steal customer information, modify or delete data, or gain complete control of the web.
This is one of the most widespread computer threats in the world.
A Web Application Firewall (WAF), included in GoDaddy’s Website Security package, can protect your website against SQL Injection attacks.
A WAF is a cloud-based firewall service that screens and protects your web traffic in real time against threats such as SQL Injection attacks and spammers, while also preventing DDoS attacks.
Cross-site scripting (XSS)
This type of vulnerability, also called XSS, is another of the most common types of computer threats that your website can suffer.
These scripts hijack user sessions via a web page’s search bar or comments (via the backend).
This can disrupt the web and redirect users to other malicious pages that may appear as seemingly normal pages, but can actually steal your information.
An Interception attack occurs when a hacker captures data that users submit to a website, and then uses it for their own benefit. It can be contact information or sensitive data such as credit card.
Cybercriminals then sell this data or make their own purchases.
Among many examples, a group of cybercriminals in Belgium hacked several European companies in 2015 to access sensitive financial data. They stole 6 million euros as a result of these criminal activities.
It is important to install an SSL certificate on your website to protect confidential data.
The SSL certificate encrypts the connections between the visitor’s browser and the web server, to establish a secure session. This protects buyers from cyber attacks, such as Interception.
So, does your website need an SSL certificate even if you don’t sell online ? The answer is yes.
Some hackers guess passwords or use dictionary tools and programs to try different combinations until they find them.
In some cases, keylogging is also used to gain access to user accounts. Keylogging recognizes every keystroke made by a user. The results are reported back to the hackers who initially installed these programs.
eye! Be careful when using public computers and Wi-Fi networks.
Many websites lack strong passwords, which makes login attempts incredibly easy. Here are some ways to protect your website:
Request a strong and unique combination of passwords.
Ask users to regularly change their passwords.
Requires two-step authentication to confirm user access.
And please do not leave “admin” as your WordPress username.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack occurs when a web server receives a lot of traffic or requests to overload or flood the system.
This is fake traffic from computers controlled by attackers, often called botnets. A botnet is a number of Internet-connected devices running one or more bots.
When the web server is overloaded with traffic or requests, the web loads poorly or does not load at all. With enough force behind these attacks, the web server can crash, which completely disables the page.
According to an analysis by F5 Labs, DDoS attacks have increased by 55% in 2021 compared to the previous year.
The morale? DDoS attacks continue to increase, both in number and complexity!
Fortunately, preventing DDoS attacks doesn’t have to be complicated. GoDaddy Website Security’s advanced security monitoring and Web Application Firewall (WAF) can prevent these types of cyber threats.
Incorrect security settings
This attack occurs when a website’s security settings have security holes that can lead to various vulnerabilities.
This often happens due to lack of proper maintenance of your page or improper configuration of the web application.
Incorrect security settings allow hackers to access private data or web features that can completely compromise the system. In these situations, data can also be stolen or modified.
Computer threats arise when settings are insecure by default. Leaving its settings as default makes it easier for hackers to gain access to the backend of your website.
The moral here? Never save your web page’s default security settings; spend some time customizing and configuring them to suit your needs.
Final Thoughts on IT Threats for SMBs
There are many different types of companies: medium-sized, small, sole proprietorships, from different sectors… And each of them has different computing needs.
As an entrepreneur, you have a unique vision of your business, and information security must be extremely relevant in your business.
Taking time to learn about the most common web security vulnerabilities is an important first step in defending your company’s website. Second, corporations must take steps to create an optimal security plan.
Having the help of professionals specialized in the field or with an IT services company, having sufficient means to make the appropriate changes and installing software to protect your data and that of your clients should be a priority for your company.