One of the biggest threats to small and medium-sized businesses today is a cyberattack. These malicious crimes target computer networks in an attempt to stop business and steal data. It’s essential to understand the threat to your company and take steps to protect your data. Most attacks against SMBs fall into one of three categories: Denial of Service, Password and Malware attacks.

Denial of Service

In a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, hackers attempt to disrupt your business by sending large amounts of data and requests into your network from a variety of computers. When successful, this overloads your system, causing it to crash. During this time, legitimate business requests can’t make it through and your business cannot operate.

The best defense against this type of attack is robust network security software. This software can monitor network traffic and alert you to any abnormalities so proper steps can be taken before the attack overloads your system.

Password Attacks

Passwords are an important means of authentication, ensuring only approved users make it onto your network. However, they are also extremely vulnerable. Criminals can guess passwords using brute-force or dictionary methods, trying common words and combinations of log-in criteria to gain access. They may also use key-stroke logging to capture the passwords of authorized users, which can later be used to log-in and steal your data.

Network experts suggest using complex passwords made up of long strings of letters, numbers, and symbols. Users shouldn’t use their names, pet names, or other identifiable information in their passwords, and should change passwords frequently. You can also implement multi-step authentication, such as an expiring passcode or fingerprint scanning for added security.

Malware

Malware is any software that is installed on your network with malicious intent. This can include viruses, Trojan horses and ransomware. Malware typically gets onto your system when someone opens an email attachment or clicks on a malicious link. Once on one computer these software programs often spread themselves to other computers on your network via email to your other contacts.

Anti-virus software provides protection from many known malware programs. However, you should also train employees to check links before clicking them, even from known sources.

No business is too small to fall victim to a cyberattack. By understanding the types of attacks cybercriminals are using most frequently, you can take appropriate steps to secure your network and protect your company.

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