The Top 5 Cyber Threats of 2022

See our list of the top five cyber threats to watch out for 2022.

In 2022, small and medium businesses (SMBs) have to be aware of the looming cyber threats in the cyber landscape. Small and medium-sized businesses are especially vulnerable to attacks as they are viewed as easy targets for hackers. This is for good reason. Large corporations can have massive security budgets and entire departments dedicated to their cyber security. Hackers are becoming more organized and well-funded, meaning they have the luxury of picking and choosing their targets.

With this in mind, SMBs have to be conscious of the most prevalent threats they face in 2022. Cyber attacks are evolving quickly, and businesses need to stay on top of the year-to-year trends to stay protected. This article lays out the top 5 cyber threats SMBs need to be familiar with in 2022.

1. Ransomware

Ransomware has been a prominent threat for the last few years, and it doesn’t look to be going anywhere any time soon. Ransomware is an attack that actively locks employees out of their sensitive files. Once the data has been encrypted by hackers, they offer a decryption key for large sums of money. 

In 2021, the average cost of a ransomware attack was $4.62 million. In many cases, when ransomware attacks happened to SMBs, businesses were forced to close down for good as they couldn’t come back from such a serious attack. 

Ransomware attacks are unique because they work pretty slowly. This means that once hackers have gained access to a system, they work behind the scenes for weeks and sometimes months to encrypt sensitive information before calling for a ransom. 

2. Phishing

If you have had an email account for over a year, there is a chance you have experienced some kind of phishing attempt. Phishing is one of the more popular types of social engineering attacks that target individuals as an entry point rather than the weak points in the security itself. 

Phishing attacks start with a hacker using a fake email address that emulates a trusted source. Vendors, management, IT professionals, and even investigators are all impersonated with a convincing but slightly altered email address to extract login credentials or other protected information. 

Employees that aren’t regularly trained to identify these phony emails are prone to giving out that information without much of a second thought. Keeping employees trained and aware of this tactic is often the only defense against phishing as hackers continue to find ways around spam blockers. 

3. Man-In-The-Middle Attacks

With the massive migration to hybrid and remote work models during the pandemic, businesses and employees need to be extra careful of man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. Workers are still working from home, but with the world relaxing on covid protocols, some are opting to work from public places like coffee shops and restaurants these days. Using unsecured wifi connections allows for hackers to insert themselves in between the wifi source and the workstation. This allows them to view screens and intercept outgoing and incoming emails and other sensitive information.

These types of attacks have begun to be a favorite of hackers as workers are looking for a change of scenery for their work days. Making sure the network connection is secure is one of the few ways to combat this method of attack, but public wifi is never secure. Anyone who buys a cup of coffee has access to the wifi and, subsequently, any computer that is on the wifi as well.

4. Social Engineering

Social engineering is the umbrella term for cyber attacks that target individuals and exploit human error. Phishing is the most common form of social engineering, but there are plenty of other attacks that fall under the same category. Baiting is a common method where hackers will plant flash drives with enticing labels to prey on employee curiosity. 

They might leave a drive in a shared space of a business with the label “Wage increases for Q3” to hook a curious worker. Once the drive is inserted into a laptop or computer, viruses are immediately uploaded and the attack runs its course.

Hackers will often employ scare tactics by impersonating authoritative figures to get specific information from employees. This is slightly different from phishing because of the perceived punishments the hackers use to threaten and scare employees into compliance.

5. Cloud Vulnerabilities

With many SMBs continuing to utilize remote and hybrid models, cloud storage is becoming a more serious security concern. Cloud services allow workers to access essential data from wherever they are working. While it can offer more flexibility and productivity for remote workers, it also carries a high amount of risk. Hackers are proficient in bypassing outdated firewalls used to protect cloud storage to gain access to employee and customer data. Keeping security up to date is a key deterrent to cloud-based attacks. 

For all of these attack methods, keeping up to date on your security system is one of the best ways to avoid costly attacks. To do that, you need detailed reports and regular assessments to fully understand where your security is weakest and how to remedy those shortcomings.

Trava specializes in small and midsized business security tools to help you identify and address security issues. With a suite of tools like risk assessments and vulnerability scanners, Trava can help an SMB take their security to the next level. Schedule a demo with Trava today to see just how much your small business stands to gain.

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