What is a Cyber Attack and how can it affect my business?

Cyber attacks are an ever-present threat in our digital landscape. They are occurring more and more frequently, targeting organisations from start-ups to global conglomerates alike. On average, a cyber attack takes place every 39 seconds, meaning there are over two thousand attacks every day. So what is a Cyber Attack and how can it affect my business?

What is a cyber attack?

In its simplest term, a cyber attack is an offensive manoeuvre carried out by a hacker or group of hackers, with the intention of accessing a private device and private information. The aim here is to acquire details that can be used to the hackers’ advantage, whether that be company data, company payments, personal bank details, passwords, contact lists or other secret data.

what is a cyber attack

Once a hacker acquires this information, they can impersonate the victim online, steal money or information and hold data for ransom. On average, over $6 trillion of damages are caused by cybercrime each year.

What are the most popular types of cyber attacks?

  1. Phishing – this is the most popular type of cyber-attack, responsible for up to a third of all data breaches. Phishing is a type of social engineering, when a fraudulent email or text is sent to the victim, with the aim of getting them to click on a malicious link or download. Phishing scams often use urgent language to trick the victim into acting without thinking and will be aimed at either username and password information, or bank details.
  2. Malware – this is software that is designed specifically to disrupt or damage a computer or network systems. Malware stands for malicious software and can be delivered in several ways. Most commonly it is downloaded by mistake – often through a pop-up or unfamiliar link – and then before the victim realises what has happened, the hacker has gained control of their device and it’s too late.
  3. Ransomware – this is a form of malicious software that is designed to block access to a computer or network system until the ransom is paid. The victim will discover that they have suffered a ransomware attack and their data is being held captive until they pay for its return, though unfortunately in many cases, the information is never recovered.

How can a cyber attack affect my business?

If you feel like your organisation has suffered a cyber attack, this can put all your private data and your employees at risk. Firstly, everything saved or shared on the company network may be affected, meaning the hacker could have access to private or confidential information. This can include email correspondence and attachments. In the worst cases, it can grant them access to payment portals leaving large sums of money at risk.

Furthermore, if there are cases where employees use their work device for personal activities as well – such as private banking, personal emails, or social media accounts – then these can all be compromised as well. This can leave employees open to personal financial losses and corruption, with their personal information and private details at risk.

How can I avoid a cyber attack?  

There are many steps you can take within your organisation to remain protected and safe from a potential cyber attack – and they’re all simpler than you might expect.

  1. Keep systems and software up to date
  2. Install a firewall and/or two-factor authentication
  3. Limit who has access to specific data
  4. Use separate devices for work and personal use
  5. Encourage complex and unique passwords

But the most important and easiest way to mitigate your risk as an organisation is to invest in cyber security training for your staff. This will cover the basics from how to identify phishing emails, to reducing your risk of a social engineering attack, keeping your mobile and physical devices secure and working safely at home.

Want to find out more about protecting your business online?

If you’d like to find out more about how you can protect yourself or your organisation from cybercrime with Cyber Security Awareness Training courses, Boxphish has the tools to help.

At Boxphish, we are passionate about providing our users with the skills needed to identify and avoid cyber-attacks, reducing risk and protecting both the individual and the organisation. We use interactive training and real-world attack simulations to educate and train our users, with courses tailored to individual needs and industries. Click here to find out more and book your demo today.  

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