6 Cybersecurity Risks Businesses Should Keep an Eye on in 2022

Cybersecurity Risks Businesses

Did you know that the first cyber “attack” happened way back in 1971? In the same year as the sending of the first email, a computer programmer named Bob Thomas created a virus that could move from one computer to another. It broadcast a simple message: “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!”

Unfortunately, we’ve come a long way since that innocent virus was made. Today, businesses of all sizes face serious cybersecurity risks that could spell disaster for their futures. In fact, cybercrime cost businesses around $4.2 billion in 2020, and that figure continues to rise year over year.

Because cyberattacks are constantly evolving, it’s crucial for business leaders to stay on top of the latest trends. Knowing what to watch out for is the first step toward protecting your organization. Let’s take a look at the biggest threats you’ll face in 2022 and beyond.

1. Ransomware

Because it can be so lucrative, this threat is one of the fastest-growing types of cyberattacks in the last few years.

Ransomware falls under the broader umbrella of malware, which is a malicious type of software that can harm a computer system. Once malware finds its way onto your computer, it can perform functions on its own without you knowing. This can include things like deleting your data or monitoring your activity.

Ransomware is a specific type of malware that locks your computer and data down. As the name suggests, hackers then hold this information for ransom, forcing you to produce a payment to unlock your own data.

For businesses, double extortion ransomware is a particular threat. With this form of ransomware, hackers threaten to release the data they’ve locked—including private or sensitive information—if you don’t make a payment.

2. Phishing

Phishing continues to be one of the most common types of social engineering online today. Instead of involving complex software, it takes advantage of a key vulnerability in your business network: humans. Because we’re so prone to making simple errors, hackers can often infiltrate networks with ease using just a few simple messages or emails.

The best way to guard against this cyber threat is through diligent training sessions. This can help educate your team on common phishing scams. This can include emails that look like they came from a financial institution or social media messages that appear to have come from a friend or colleague.

In addition, it’s worth noting that while we tend to associate phishing with emails, SMS-based phishing is also on the rise. Messages might appear to be from banks, delivery carriers, or other legitimate businesses. Again, make sure your team knows they should follow a few key cybersecurity tips: always assume that businesses will call you rather than text, and consider calling the business directly to ask about the message.

3. PDF Scams

Though this cybersecurity threat is often linked to phishing attacks, it’s such a serious risk to businesses that it deserves special attention. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, one study found a 1,160% increase in malicious PDF files!

Because PDF attachments are so prevalent in the workplace, we tend to associate them with legitimate business transactions. Unfortunately, this mentality can put us at risk if we click the wrong file. In some cases, the file may prompt the victim to give up their personal credentials or details, or it can even expose a computer or network to malware or ransomware.

4. Database Exposure

This cyberattack is what most people envision when they think of a serious business hacking threat.

As the name suggests, database exposure involves a security breach that puts the information on your database into the hands of hackers. They may gain access using other techniques on this list, like phishing or malware.

Because most businesses collect and host sensitive files—from customer information to financial records to Social Security numbers—this can be a significant issue. Worse, hackers can use the information they gain as leverage during further social engineering attacks! In addition, once a data breach becomes public, most businesses’ reputations take a serious hit.

While your team may be able to avoid other cybersecurity challenges with proper training, you’ll need to enlist specialized cybersecurity services to protect against this threat.

5. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks (MITM)

You might also hear this cyber attack called “machine” or “monster” in the middle, but the principle is the same regardless.

As these names suggest, this type of attack involves a hacker inserting themselves into a line of communication. This often happens through IP or DNS spoofing.

Because the hacker is hidden in the chain of communication, they can see and edit messages that pass from one person to another without anyone knowing. This causes obvious security issues: hackers can use this method to steal information, edit messages, or ask for sensitive files under the appearance of a trusted user.

6. Remote Desktop Software Threats

Until a few years ago, remote desktop software wasn’t a major point of concern for businesses in terms of online security.

That changed after the recent pandemic. Many businesses now allow employees to work from home more often than ever, and granting remote access to networks and devices has become the norm.

Unfortunately, this remote access makes it easier than ever for remote malicious cyberattacks to invade. This can happen via malware or poor authentication practices. Once hackers have accessed your session, they can do many of the things we’ve mentioned above, like holding data ransom or stealing private data.

Prepare Your Business for These Cybersecurity Risks

Online security has never been more essential. At the end of the day, any business—large or small—can become the target of one of the threats above. Knowing more about your cybersecurity risks can help you prepare your network and your team to face them.

For more training, software, and education, partnering with an IT service provider can be a great way to get added protection. In addition, don’t forget to check out our other tech guides for more insights on cybersecurity, online trends, and much more.