The 7 Most Common Cyber Attacks You Need to Know About

Does your company have an extra couple of million dollars lying around? If you’re like most small businesses in the Lancaster, PA, area, your answer is probably no. And that means that you cannot afford to be without proper cybersecurity services because the average total cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million, according to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021.

There are many common cyber attacks today that can lead to a data breach, so as a responsible business owner, you need to be mindful of these threats and know how to protect your company. Since 2005, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses just like yours get the IT support they need to prevent hackers from gaining access to their networks to steal data.

Get in touch with our team today to get a quote to see how we can ensure your business is protected from cybercriminals who may use any of the following seven cyber attacks to infiltrate your business.

Watch our video for a fast summary of the most common cyber attacks you should know about.

1. Phishing Attacks

One of the most common cyber attacks today is phishing. A phishing attack occurs when a criminal sends fraudulent communication, usually through email, that appears to be from a reputable source. The emails include a link or attachment that infects the targeted computer with malicious software once clicked. They can hold the network for ransom, install programs to steal financial, proprietary, and personal information, and more.

According to IBM’s report, phishing attacks accounted for 17% of all data breaches in 2021 and were the second most expensive attack vector at a $4.65 million average total cost.

Chart of Frequency of Data Breaches by Initial Attack Vector 2021

Source: IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021

Chart of Average Total Cost of Data Breaches by Initial Attack Vector 2021

Source: IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021

Phishing and social engineering attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making spotting phishing emails harder than ever. Unfortunately, this means that your employees may have fallen victim without even knowing it.

The best way to avoid these attacks is by providing your employees with proper cybersecurity training to recognize and report phishing attacks before they cause issues. And, beyond that, we recommend monitoring the dark web for your stolen credentials. Our Password Watchdog service will alert you when your passwords have been stolen. It can also help educate and train your employees about phishing, so they don’t get tricked into giving their credentials away. Do you know if your passwords have already been stolen? Get a free scan today!

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2. Malware

Another common cyber attack is malware. Malware attacks come in various forms, including:

  • Spyware
  • Ransomware
  • Viruses
  • Worms
  • Trojans

They infect computers when a user clicks on a fraudulent link or attachment, like through a phishing email. Once the harmful software is installed, it can do several destructive things to your computer and business network, like block access to critical parts of your network, steal information from your hard drive, or make your system completely inoperable.

You can protect your company by using a reliable email service provider, like Microsoft 365 Business. This plan includes robust security features to protect your email from malware attacks, phishing, and other threats. Plus, as Microsoft Certified Partners, we can help get your business set up for Microsoft 365 so you can take advantage of the productivity, security, and other great features.

3. Password Attacks

The third common cyber attack on our list is a password attack. These happen when a cybercriminal uses social engineering, gains access to a password database, finds unencrypted passwords through a network connection, or simply guesses your password.

Birthdates are not good passwords

Since most people don’t have safe password etiquette, they frequently use relatives’ names, birthdays, anniversaries, or pet names as passwords. When you post seemingly innocent games on social media, like “20 things you didn’t know about me” and reveal personal data, password attackers could use it to try to access your accounts.

For example, in January 2022, a Chester County man in Pennsylvania pled guilty to hacking into area college computer networks. He accessed approximately 25 school network email accounts at two nearby colleges to steal their sensitive data. He opened bank accounts, emails, and prepaid phones in their names and attempted to submit fraudulent tax returns to steal the money. Thankfully, the FBI investigated the case and caught this cybercriminal.

To protect your business, ensure you have strict password guidelines, so your employees can’t just use bad passwords like “password123” to access the data on your network. You can also use two-factor authentication and require passwords to be changed quarterly.

4. Man in the Middle

Is your business network secured and private? If not, you could be setting yourself up for a man-in-the-middle attack. These common cyber attacks frequently happen when users are on unsecured public WiFi and send information through the internet.

Graphic of man in the middle attack with icon of cybercriminal in between two laptops connected via wireless

The “man in the middle” intercepts the traffic and steals the data. You may think it’s harmless to buy office supplies while you’re in a coffee shop, but the criminal is stealing your credit card information.

Malware can also perpetrate a man-in-the-middle attack by installing software to steal information. Either way, these cybercrimes are hard to detect, and it’s often weeks later that you realize it happened. You can protect yourself by having robust cybersecurity protocols in place and teaming up with a managed IT services provider for 24/7 network monitoring.

5. Denial of Service

If your business operates an eCommerce website or uses a network to conduct business, you could be vulnerable to a denial of service (DoS) attack. This common cyber attack happens when networks, systems, or servers are flooded with traffic and are unable to fulfill legitimate service requests.

Attackers use a compromised device to orchestrate this type of cyber attack. They could also use multiple devices to launch the attack, at which point it’s called a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Their goal is to disrupt your business, so you’ll have to waste time and money getting things back on track.

6. SQL Injection Attacks

A structured query language (SQL) injection happens when an attacker penetrates a server to insert malicious code that forces it to reveal protected information. The SQL injections deliver the sensitive data—like names, social security numbers, addresses, credit card information, and more—the criminal wants to steal from your company. The people who use this common cyber attack will submit the code through an unprotected comment or search box on a website.

7. Internet of Things

illustration of internet of things concept with smartphone connecting to various home devices

The internet has brought with it a plethora of opportunities for businesses and individuals alike. However, it also brought with it multiple entry points for cybercriminals to attack your network. So many devices today connect to the internet, from cat litter trays to toasters and even toilet seats. Internet of things (IoT) refers to these devices that use the internet.

IoT devices typically have low-security protocols, making it even easier for criminals to leverage them to their advantage. For example, a casino in Las Vegas fell victim to this common cyber attack thanks to a smart thermometer in its fish tank.

Protect Yourself Against Common Cyber Attacks! Get a Quote Today!

These seven types of common cyber attacks are only the beginning of ways hackers can infiltrate your business network and wreak havoc. That’s why you need robust cybersecurity to protect your business on multiple levels. Don’t risk going it alone because you’re either going to be spending so much time on protecting your business that you won’t have time to run it or not going to spend enough resources on securing your data because you’re running your business.

Leave cybersecurity to our trusted IT professionals serving Lancaster, Harrisburg, and York area small businesses. We’ll take care of monitoring and securing your network to help protect you against cybercriminals, but also teach you and your employees safe internet practices so that you don’t accidentally fall victim to a phishing scam. Unless you have that $4 million lying around that you can use to recover from a data loss incident, contact us today to get a quote for your business.