Modern cybercriminals have an array of weapons in their cyber arsenals. As technology evolves, their tools and methods continue to become more sophisticated. Ransomware is among these weapons — and it poses a significant threat. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that a ransomware attack targets a business every 14 seconds, and that number will fall to 11 seconds by 2021. Because no business is too small to become the target of a ransomware attack, it’s important to understand how to proactively defend your organization.
Author: Monique Becenti Page 1 of 4
In a matter of minutes, a distributed denial-of-service — or DDoS — attack can bring your website traffic to a grinding halt.
In the past, these attacks were more of an annoyance than a serious threat, but this has changed. DDoS attacks are growing in both size and frequency. Major attacks saw a 967% increase between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. Recovering from an attack like this could cost a small business hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Much like graffiti in the physical world, website defacement attacks can leave a visible mark on your digital property. In carrying out this type of attack, cybercriminals typically replace existing content on your site with their own messages — whether those messages are intended to be political, religious, or simply shocking.
As a small business owner, you know that your website is a critical component of your business. It provides prospective customers with first impressions of your company and may even serve as a digital storefront. A defacement attack that makes visitors turn around and leave could have lasting consequences on your business.
Cybercrime’s unprecedented reach means that virtually every website is “at risk.” But how can you gauge your site’s risk level?
The SiteLock Risk Assessment is a predictive model that examines 500 variables to determine cybersecurity risks. It leverages the SiteLock threat database, which is built from more than 12 million protected sites. The variables fall into three key categories: complexity, composition, and popularity. Each category is rated as either high, medium, or low risk. According to our research, sites with a higher risk are 12 times more likely to be exploited than those with low risk.
Have you ever visited a website — only to be greeted by an alarming red screen that reads: “The site ahead contains malware”? That’s quite the deterrent, and chances are, you left the page in a hurry. That’s what happens when Google and other search engines blacklist a website.
Blacklisting websites is how search engines protect browsers from malicious content. Google and other search engines send bots to scan websites and flag anything suspicious. If your website is deemed a threat, then it’s removed from the search engine’s results page. And for small businesses that rely on their websites to capture and convert leads, this can have serious consequences.
What It Means to Be Blacklisted
Who doesn’t love free Wi-Fi? It allows you the flexibility to work from a coffeehouse or hotel room the same way you would from your office or home. Public Wi-Fi networks are convenient, allowing you to stay connected no matter where you are. But they’re also convenient for cybercriminals, as your personal data is less secure when you’re browsing on a public network.
Don’t expect alarms to go off when cybercriminals launch an attack. In fact, it’s just the opposite. What do cybercriminals want? Mostly to remain invisible. That’s why they make every effort to fly under the radar — and why attacks can go unnoticed for months or even years.
Take a recent cyber attack on Florida healthcare provider AdventHealth. The attack was discovered in February 2019 — a full year after cybercriminals gained access. Attackers used that lengthy window to steal the personal records of 50,000 patients and cover up the evidence of their crime.
No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a good chance that you conduct a lot of your business online. Most modern small businesses have one or more digital properties, including a website and various social media pages. Your website may or may not be your chief sales portal, but it’s usually the first place prospective customers go to learn about your brand, making it a vital asset.
A web application firewall — also known as a WAF — is basically a website’s gatekeeper. Once installed, it monitors all incoming traffic to determine whether website visitors are legitimate or malicious. It then denies access to suspicious traffic, blocking out nefarious players.
You may think that your small business’s website doesn’t receive enough traffic to necessitate a gatekeeper, but consider this: More than 60% of all internet traffic is made up of bots. Of course, not all bots are dangerous; some serve a positive purpose, such as search engine crawling. But many pose a significant threat to your website and its visitors. These bad bots visit websites for negative purposes — crawling a site’s code in search of security vulnerabilities, for instance.
Despite what your lightning-fast Wi-Fi connection may indicate, the internet is not instantaneous. When someone visits your website, it takes time for content such as text, pictures, and videos to travel from the point of origin to wherever the website’s visitor is located. The further apart the two points are, the longer it takes for the content to be delivered.
Content delivery networks exist to expedite this process. Imagine your business is based in Boston and someone visits your website from San Francisco. If the content had to travel completely across the country, the website load time would be extremely long. CDNs improve this process by storing content on servers located throughout the country in data centers called “points of presence.”