Your Business is at Risk – Cyber Attacks are on the Rise

According to Microsoft…

58% of cyber breaches took place in small to medium sized businesses last year and 55% of businesses have experienced one or more attacks.  

At best a cyber-attack creates a massive amount of stress, disruption and cost for the business whilst identifying, mitigating, recovering and responding to a breach.  This includes the PR effort of having to regain the confidence of clients, suppliers, partners and staff as well as potential attention from media and authorities around what has occurred.  At worst businesses aren’t in a position to pay a ransom, suffer permanent loss of critical business data or credibility and don’t survive.

Whilst our clients don’t appear to be suffering quite as badly as these stats indicate (largely due to the protection solutions already in place) we have seen a significant spike in cyber-attacks.  Below are a couple of typical examples of what clients have been dealing with recently.

  • Business Email Compromise – Building Company in Christchurch made a large payment on a fake invoice with a fraudulent bank account number.  The invoice was made to look exactly like a genuine supplier invoice because the attacker had obtained one of the staff’s username and password for their email, had setup forwarding to their own email address and had been monitoring the mailbox for some time to see what invoices were coming through and at what times of the month before carrying out the attack.
  • Phishing – Professional Services business in Central Otago had a username and password breached and the attacker sent out emails to thousands of email contacts with an invitation to an event.  The invitation had a link to “register” which was actually a link to run some malicious code and steal sensitive information from the recipient.
  • Ransomware – Queenstown-Lakes Hospitality business had one of their users email accounts breached and sent out links to download a document with malicious code to most likely gain access to recipient’s machines to encrypt files and then ask for a ransom to be paid to get them back.

This is just a sample of some of the common type of attacks that we are increasingly dealing with.  The common factor in all of these cases is that the hacker was able to access a user’s email account credentials (username & password) and obtain access to sensitive/personal information, copies of invoices or all email addresses that the user has ever corresponded with.  This enables the cyber criminals to launch their attacks with a huge amount of knowledge of how the business operates (sometimes after weeks/months of sitting dormant) to exploit or extort money from their targets or their related businesses or contacts.

What do you need to be doing to provide the protection you need against these new threats?

Traditionally security has been very much focused just on securing the endpoint (your laptop or desktop).  Working in the cloud, remote working and the proliferation of mobile devices has changed the way your business operates.  Whilst this provides numerous benefits and opportunities to end users, it has also introduced a raft of new risks and threats. Your security solutions now need to protect you from multiple perspectives covering:

  1. Endpoint protection – minimising the chances of physical devices being hacked
  2. Identity protection – safeguarding user’s credentials to reduce the chances of criminals logging into your systems or purporting to be one of your staff
  3. Data & information protection – ensuring that your critical electronic files and data is secured and backed up
  4. Business Processes & User Awareness – Risk is not just all about technology, whilst technology can assist ultimately it is the lack of security-focused business processes and human actions (inadvertent or intentional) that can lead to security breaches.

Click here to get an overview of our Enhanced Security Solutions