As we all know technology runs the world. Due to the covid-19 pandemic without it most businesses would be halted at a stand-still. Whether it be; processing and shipping orders, communicating over email, or paying employees, most businesses are extremely reliant on their IT infrastructure to operate effectively.
In recent times it has hit headlines that big businesses are being targeted by cyber-attacks.
What is a cyber-attack? A ‘cyber-attack’ is a broad term that covers a multitude of different breaches including; social engineering, denial of service (DoS), and malware attacks. These attacks can happen to small, medium, and big companies and can be a serious hit to a business.
KP Snacks fall victim to ransomware
The most recent to be affected by it was KP Snacks. The company was hit by a ransomware attack on their IT systems which has led to potential supply problems for their McCoy’s, Tyrrells, Hula Hoops, and KP Nuts products. The company sent out a letter to stores discussing the attack and how it has had an impact on their IT and communication systems, which could last until “the end of March at the earliest” due to not being able to “safely process orders and dispatch goods”. This could have a big impact on the company’s profits for the next multiple of weeks. KP Snacks said through Nisa that they were going to limit the size of the orders going to the retailers so they could “manage what stock we do have”.
The company found out on Friday 28th of January that they had been victims of the ransomware attack. In a statement KP Snacks said, “As soon as we became aware of the incident, we enacted our cybersecurity response plan”. Their internal IT teams are continuing to work with experts to assess the situation.
The hackers threatened the company by saying they would release information stolen from the company’s IT system if they didn’t make a payment to decrypt the files.
“This is another example of the real-life consequences that ransomware can have,” said Carl Wearn, the head of risk and resilience at the cybersecurity firm, Mimecast.
Furthermore, “Our recent report found that organisations in the UK have experienced an average of 3,000 ransomware attacks in the last two years, at a rate of four attacks per day.”
What Is ransomware and how can you protect your business?
A ransomware attack is where a hacker can gain access to your computer/device and then lock and encrypt the data stored on it. It often comes into fruition by someone accidentally downloading malware through an email attachment or link.
Ransomware attacks have the potential to totally shut down a business’s operation if payment isn’t made. It is scary to think that in today’s world of business one dodgy email can have the capacity to totally destroy a company’s infrastructure. Ransomware is a malicious and lucrative business for criminals and can affect any company, even yours.
Many ransomware gangs conduct themselves as real businesses and even go so far by hiring people, having marketing teams, support forums, and company websites. These companies then operate in black and white hat communities. Black and white hat communities meaning they work within the normal web and also the dark web. In 2020 ransomware revenues were over $400 million worldwide, which is crazy to process knowing most, if not all of that money was stolen.
Small businesses are more vulnerable
The pandemic has had an effect on online security and “has made small businesses more vulnerable to cyber security attacks” according to The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. The increased number of employees working from home and the use of contactless payments at an all-time high has given the criminal groups more opportunities to target vulnerable businesses. Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report suggested that 22 percent of small to medium-sized companies have undergone a security breach due to remote work since March 2020, which is a staggering amount of attacks and consequently money stolen.
It is difficult to stop every threat but small businesses can put protections in place to make it harder for attackers to target them. Having as many layers of security as possible creates obstacles for the hackers to hopefully not get around then. An example of this could be; regular staff training about the cyber threats they could face, multi-factor authentication technology, and backing up data are just a few. Staying alert and up-to-date with potential security threats is a must-do for small businesses in 2022. Another form of protection that could be incorporated is cyber insurance. This type of insurance could be crucial to protect your business if you rely on computer systems, have a PCI (payment car industry) agreement in place, have sensitive data about your customers and employees, and even if you have a website.
With the way the business world works post-pandemic, protecting yourself online is definitely a must-do. Doing a quick internet search to find the best ways to protect yourself and your company is a good start. Don’t leave it too late and end up regretting it, there are many ways to combat cyber-attacks and keep your business safe.
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