With security threats around every corner, no business, large or small, is safe from cyberattacks. Some cybercriminals want millions of dollars, while others go for easy targets, picking off a few hundred dollars here and there.
These might seem like small sums, but in parts of Eastern Europe and Asia, where the average monthly wage is less than $500, cybercriminals can earn a decent living working just a few hours a week.
Mitigating security threats starts with effective password management. Sign up for a 14-day trial of TeamPassword's robust credential management solution for small businesses.
What are Cybersecurity Threats?
Cybersecurity or security threats are the risks and vulnerabilities an organization has which are open for attacks. Companies can identify these risks through a comprehensive security audit and determine how to mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Why do Cybercriminals Attack Small Businesses?
Cybercriminals attack small businesses for many of the same reasons they breach large corporations, including:
- Financial gain
- Sensitive data or intellectual property
- Supply chain attack strategies - infiltrating a weaker network as a conduit to a bigger target
- Installing malware
- Corporate sabotage or espionage
Small businesses are significantly easier to breach than larger organizations with sophisticated security systems.
Most of the time, it's low-level criminals trying to hack small businesses—hijacking digital assets, stealing data, or holding systems ransom. Still, occasionally, cyberespionage groups infiltrate small companies to gather intel or as a means to a much larger target.
Top 5 Security Threats for Small Businesses
Small businesses face many security threats every day—and most of the time, they never realize it!
For example, hackers use automated tools (bots) to crawl platforms and networks, trying username and password combinations in an attempt to breach the system—sometimes hundreds or thousands of times a day. Firewalls and anti-virus software works in the background, shielding businesses from these constant attacks.
Here are the top five security threats for small businesses in 2021.
1 - Reusing and Weak Passwords
Two of the most common password errors small businesses make are:
- Reusing passwords for multiple accounts
- Using weak, easy to guess passwords
Reusing passwords is a dangerous practice. Hackers only need to steal one set of credentials, and they have access to multiple company accounts using the same password.
Hackers use stolen credentials from a data breach and attempt to use the same username and password for other platforms until they find a match—also known as a credential stuffing attack.
Weak passwords are also common among small businesses. Team members create weak passwords to manage multiple accounts logins using words anyone can guess.
Using a password manager like TeamPassword can eliminate reusing credentials and weak passwords.
TeamPassword features a password generator so that team members can create and store secure passwords with just a few clicks. You can create passwords from 12-32 characters using uppercase, lowercase, symbols, and numbers.
You can also use TeamPassword's password generator to create secure usernames, increasing your credential security and mitigating credential and brute force attacks.
2 - Poor Password Storage and Sharing
Small businesses with limited resources often use spreadsheets, emails, or messaging apps to store and share passwords with team members. Employees save passwords in browsers like Chrome, exposing the company to further vulnerabilities.
These unsecure password storage and sharing methods make it easy for attackers to steal many or all of a company's credentials in a matter of minutes! In some cases, these storage methods could violate GDPR or CCPA regulations.
Secure password storage and sharing must be every company's priority. TeamPassword makes it easy for small businesses to store company and client credentials safely.
TeamPassword is an accredited secure hosting provider using state-of-the-art encryption to store your company's credentials. We use AES 256-bit encryption—trusted by many multinational organizations and government institutions (including the United States).
TeamPassword also makes it easy to share credentials with team members. You can create groups to share access with only those that need it. When someone no longer needs access, remove them with a single click.
Explore more of TeamPassword's security features to protect your business with a free 14-day trial.
3 - Social Engineering (Phishing Attacks)
Social engineering is an umbrella term for multiple types of cyberattacks based on psychological manipulation.
The most common example of social engineering is a phishing attack—where criminals send "spoof" communications to employees with links that download trojans and malware.
Most phishing attempts arrive via email, but criminals also use text, social media, chat, phone calls, and other communication means.
Spear phishing is a focused phishing attack where criminals use personal information or familiar communications to target a specific individual or group.
Spear phishing attacks can be challenging to identify, often fooling well-trained, security-conscious professionals and government employees.
The only way to combat social engineering attacks is through constant training and even mock drills, so employees learn how to spot inconsistencies and suspicious communications.
3 - Malware, Spyware & Ransomware Attacks
There are many ways cybercriminals deploy malware, spyware, and ransomware attacks. Most often, criminals use social engineering to install these malicious packages, giving them access to a company device or network.
Another method criminals deploy these packages is over public WiFi networks. Criminals often set up spoof networks to mimic a popular local WiFi network, like Starbucks. Anyone logging onto this network will install malicious code, giving attackers access to their device.
Once hackers access one employee's device, they can move laterally through company networks infecting other employees, devices, and networks—installing malware, spyware, ransomware, or other malicious software.
Small businesses are particularly susceptible to ransomware because they have little or no defense against this sophisticated technology. And don't think criminals are only after the millions from big corporations!
Many low-level cybercriminals will be happy with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, money they know small businesses have on hand.
Like with social engineering, combating malicious code comes down to education. Companies must restrict internet browsing and educate employees about the dangers of clicking links or downloads.
Small businesses must also avoid using free software and applications. Criminals often use freeware and free apps to infect devices with malware. Once they have access to your device, it's difficult to remove them, even after deleting the app or with anti-virus software.
4 - Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks
Cybercriminals use a large number of computers in a coordinated attack on a system—usually overwhelming the root access authentication in an attempt to shut it down.
Most DDoS attacks aim to create confusion or divert attention from a more subtle breach where hackers can pass through undetected. Like how pickpockets work in a busy public space—one person creates a distraction while another steals your wallet.
Most small businesses don't have the capacity to deal with DDoS attacks, but tools and systems are available to mitigate the fallout.
5 - Insider Threats
Although more common in large corporations with disgruntled employees, insider threats are still a security threat for small businesses—which could include contractors, clients, and freelancers.
Insider threats are complicated to identify and defend. One way companies mitigate insider threats is through an effective cybersecurity strategy that limits access to systems, data, and applications.
Small businesses can achieve a similar strategy by using a password manager. With TeamPassword, you can create groups for sharing and only provide access to those who need it.
Using TeamPassword for sharing access to freelancers, temps, and contractors will prevent these individuals from stealing passwords or sharing access. TeamPassword's activity log keeps track of every team member, and you can set up email notifications for instant alerts to sensitive data and applications.
Mitigating Security Threats With TeamPassword
We built TeamPassword to solve many of the security threats small businesses face every day. The biggest small business challenge is managing passwords and providing secure access to team members.
TeamPassword reduces those problems with an affordable password manager for small businesses.
Here are five reasons to choose TeamPassword for your company's password management solution.
- Accessible Everywhere - TeamPassword features browser extensions for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, so your team can use our password manager on their preferred operating system. Additionally, the TeamPassword app provides access to mobile-only applications.
- Secure Unique Password Generator - create unique, robust passwords with a single click for every account using TeamPassword's built-in password generator.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) - Team members can secure their TeamPassword account with 2FA. Even if attackers manage to steal an employee's TeamPassword credentials, 2FA prevents a full breach. We use Google Authenticator, available on iOS and Android devices.
- Secure Encryption - TeamPassword uses state-of-the-art encryption technology to hash, salt, and encrypt passwords locally on your computer before uploading them to our servers—mitigating the chance of attackers intercepting your data. With your passwords encrypted in your TeamPassword account, not even our employees can view your data!
- Access Management - Control your company's assets by sharing credentials only with those who need them. Create groups to share access and remove team members when they no longer need it.
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