The six biggest cyber security threats endangering your business

In the age of unprecedented connectivity, where every click and keystroke leaves a digital footprint, businesses face a growing number of security threats. It's a high-stakes battle where the consequences of a single breach can shatter reputations, cripple operations, and cause costs to spiral out of control. From AI and insider threats to the rise of cryptojacking and more, here are some of the most formidable risks plaguing firms in 2023, and beyond…

1. Trust turned threat with the rise of insider breaches

It's a bitter pill to swallow, but sometimes the biggest threats come from within. Once a pillar of security, trust has morphed into a risk that plagues a growing number of firms in organisations spanning finance and education to manufacturing and construction. Knowing the systems and processes a business relies on to operate, employees and stakeholders are at an advantage when it comes to spotting vulnerabilities too. Sometimes all it takes is a single disagreement for these to be exploited.

So, how can insider threats be mitigated? Firms should implement robust access controls, mandatory training procedures, and monitoring mechanisms to detect any suspicious activities and ensure action can be taken promptly. Prevention is always better than the cure.

2. The double-edged sword of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have revolutionised industries in countless ways. Streamlining workflows, increasing productivity, expanding capabilities — the list continues. However, as AI-powered systems become more sophisticated, so do their potential security risks, with adversaries able to exploit weaknesses in algorithms or manipulate data to compromise access.

Particularly as usage becomes more widespread, it's crucial for businesses to invest in rigorous testing, validation, and continuous monitoring to ensure the integrity and security of these burgeoning systems.

3. Unsecured remote access in the ‘work from anywhere’ era

As workforces become more flexible and geographically disparate, traditional perimeter-based security models are no longer sufficient. Weak passwords, unsecured networks, and unpatched devices create easy entry points for hackers, with the rise of cryptojacking exemplifying one of the risks of outdated technology. Exploiting unpatched systems and unsuspecting users, perpetrators have been seen to hijack devices to mine cryptocurrencies covertly — draining computing resources and undermining productivity, resulting in financial losses for businesses.

Implementing a zero trust approach — where access is granted based on user verification and continuous monitoring — helps prevent unauthorised access and reduces the risk of data breaches. Rather than a single product or solution, this represents a critical mindset shift that every business should employ to maximise lines of defence.

4. Targeted ransomware as a means for financial gain

No longer satisfied with petty theft, bad actors frequently hold entire companies and their systems hostage, demanding a hefty price for release. The age of opportunistic attacks is over — this is calculated mayhem with a clear agenda: monetary gain. These exercises can significantly cripple operations, disrupt services, and lead to significant financial and reputational damage.

To mitigate the risk of being in such cross hairs, organisations must prioritise regular data backups, robust endpoint security, and employee awareness.

5. Weak links with redundant and outdated kit

Any elements of the tech stack that are not up-to-date or fit-for-purpose breed major security vulnerabilities. Unsupported software, unpatched systems, and obsolete hardware create alluring entry points for cyber attacks. On top of this, the spiralling costs and lack of ROI might catch the C-suite by surprise.

To overcome this challenge, organisations must prioritise regular system updates, retire outdated technology, and invest in modern, secure solutions. Robust cyber security practices throughout the entire tech estate — including strong access controls, regular vulnerability assessments, and user education — are imperative. By staying proactive, vigilant, and embracing technological advancements, organisations can close the door on security gaps and protect their valuable assets.

6. Lack of visibility throughout the entire value chain

As businesses increasingly rely on third-party vendors, they inadvertently introduce new potential security risks. Weak security practices or vulnerabilities in third-party systems can compromise your organisation's data.

Implementing thorough vendor risk assessments, enforcing contractual obligations, and continuous monitoring of third-party security practices is therefore crucial to safeguard your business. Our Cyber Essentials seal of approval means we have all bases covered here at Vapour, so you don’t need to lose sleep over the integrity of our solutions.

Get in touch for a tech-agnostic assessment of your current cyber security practices, and to explore how our award-winning toolkit can help safeguard against digital threats and compliance breaches.

 

Posted By Vapour Comms Team
18/07/2023

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