Repeat Cyber Attacks: Why You Need Managed IT Services

Repeat Cyber Attacks: Why You Need Managed IT Services

So your business has met the hackers' demands and they've restored your network. Everything's over, right? Wrong! 

A recent study found that 80% of organizations that paid cyber attack ransoms experienced a second attack. Paying a ransom isn't like flipping a switch. The problem doesn't go away until a business buffs up its cyber security. 

Read on to learn more about cyber attacks and why they take place. We'll also teach you how managed IT services can help you protect your business from cyber attacks. 


What Are Cyber Attacks? 

Cyber attacks are assaults in which cybercriminals use one or more computers to attack one to several computers owned by a victim. Through these actions, criminals can steal, alter, destroy, and expose apps, data, and other assets. As more and more businesses go digital, more and more cyber attacks occur. 


Who Are Cybercriminals? 

The term "cybercriminal" refers to anyone who conducts a digital attack on a victim. A wide variety of individuals and/or groups can launch a cyber attack. Some examples of these include the following: 

  • Criminal groups 
  • Professional hackers 
  • State-sponsored actors 
  • Amateur hackers 
  • Hacktivists 

Experts further classify cybercriminals as being insider or outsider threats.


Outsider Threats 

Outsider threats are threats that exist outside of victim businesses, private individuals, etc. That is, they are groups or individuals who do not have authorized access to a victim company's assets. 


Insider Threats 

Insider threats have this access. They then misuse these privileges for some sort of personal gain. Here are some examples of insider threats: 

  • Clients 
  • Contractors 
  • Employees
  • Suppliers 
  • Business partners 

However, if these individuals compromise networks by accident, they are not considered cybercriminals. Insiders have to attack the company deliberately and maliciously to be considered cybercriminals. 


What Are Cybercriminals After? 

Those who attack computers and networks are usually after something. Many of them want money directly from a company. Others may sell the data they collect to other parties. Some of the types of data that cybercriminals target are as follows: 

  • Client lists 
  • Trade secrets 
  • Product designs 
  • Sensitive customer data 
  • Company financial data 
  • Email addresses
  • Login credentials 

However, some cybercriminals aren't out to steal something. Many of them just want to damage their target by disrupting a network for fun. Others, like hacktivists, want to send a message to their designated target. 


State-Backed Hackers 

State-backed hackers also aren't usually after information. They often hack into enemy systems to destroy them. For example, governments may want to destroy what they believe is a weapons program. 

Governments in any country can attack another country with hackers. So your company likely won't face an attack from your government. However, your business can face an attack from a foreign government. 


How Do Cyber Attacks Occur? 

Most of the time, cyber attacks occur because hackers have spotted vulnerabilities in a computer network and exploited them. They may, for example, find a flaw in a website code. This can allow the hackers to insert personal coding that can help them bypass security measures. 


Not Always Sophisticated 

However, it doesn't have to be this sophisticated. Some cyber attacks occur simply because an employee has chosen an easy-to-guess password. They may also not have changed the default password on a router. 


Employees Are Gateways 

Speaking of employees, employees and business partners are often the main gateways for cyber attacks. Hackers can easily trick partners and employees into downloading pieces of malware like QBot. They can also trick them into giving up security information. 


What Are Different Types of Cyber Attacks? 

The type of cyber attack where hackers can demand a ransom from a victim is known as a ransomware attack. With this type of attack, a victim's system is held hostage until demands are met. Once this happens, attackers will provide the victim with instructions on how to unlock their systems. 

Sadly, ransomware is far from the only type of cyber attack. Here are some of the types of cyber attacks that we deal with regularly: 


Phishing Attacks 

Phishing is the common way that hackers trick business insiders to help with their attacks. In some situations, the hackers will trick the employees into giving up company access information. In other situations, employees, partners, etc. will download malware by mistake. 

Hackers can do this by pretending to be a trusted, legitimate source. The targeted individual will receive an email from this party. If the hacker successfully tricks the target, they will do whatever the hacker requests. 

In the best-case scenario for the hacker, the target won't realize they've been compromised. The attacker will then keep going after others in the company through the same methods. If the hacker manages to get malware into a system, they can use that to take down the company. 


Password Attack 

Hackers can get user passwords by phishing. They can also gain passwords by merely guessing one of the common easy passwords people go with ("123456", "password", etc.). Hackers can also find passwords that insiders have left on sticky notes or pieces of paper. 

Another method of password guessing that hackers use revolves around a target's personal information. If they can learn their target's name, birthdate, anniversary, etc. they may be able to solve their password. 


DoS Attacks 

Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks overwhelm computer systems. Hackers give computers hundreds to thousands of commands. Eventually, the network will be unable to respond to all of the commands and will shut down. 

In many cases, hackers perform these attacks to cripple companies. Company competitors might pay them to do this so they can profit. Hackers may also perform DoS attacks to make a network vulnerable to another form of attack. 


Man-in-the-Middle Attacks 

With a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, a cybercriminal can "listen in" on the information shared between two parties. This individual is essentially spying on two people, networks, or computers. If the hacker does their job well, they can intercept messages without either party being aware. 

From these messages, hackers can gain crucial information like passwords or trade secrets. 


What Are Some Consequences of Cyber Attacks? 

Cyber attacks can take companies down in several different ways. We've already mentioned that they can steal data, demand money, and slow down networks. However, we haven't mentioned how these actions can affect companies.

1. Loss of Reputation 

Reputation loss often occurs because businesses lose customer data. Any customers who lose data will think poorly of the business and stop working with them. Potential customers won't join a hacked business because they think it is not secure. 

Companies' reputations can also be ruined because of the contents of the data that the company lost. Hackers can reveal company actions that the general public may find distasteful, for instance. 

2. Loss of Finances 

Companies don't just lose money from ransoms and sour reputations. They can also lose money from fines, losing data, replacing devices, and more. Having their systems down for days can also take away the profits that a company could've made during this time. 

3. Loss of Productivity 

Shutting down a network also affects people outside of a company. A company's partners and customers may face mild to severe inconveniences for being unable to access a company's services. 


Who Is Most Vulnerable to Secondary Cyber Attacks? 

Small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are more vulnerable to secondary cyber attacks than larger ones. There are a lot of reasons why this is the case. 

1. Business Protection Products 

Larger businesses often have more financial resources to use on business protection products like cyber security services. Small businesses often can buy security software or hire security workers. However, the kinds they can afford will be less effective. 

Likely, SMBs won't be able to bulk up their defenses enough to prevent a secondary attack. 

2. Can Barely Afford Ransoms 

The fact that SMBs have less financial resources can also make them more vulnerable to ransoms. A single ransom can drain all of a business's financial resources. This is why smaller businesses may need to rebuild their network and not get the old one back. 

This network will likely be very weak and more prone to secondary cyber attacks. 


Why Can't Companies Deal With Cyber Attacks?

One of the big reasons why companies experience secondary cyber attacks is often the reason why they experienced the first cyber attacks. They think they don't need business protection products and/or services. Instead, they try to handle all of their cyber security issues internally. 

1. Doubting Security Services 

Another reason the secondary attack occurs is because they don't trust their current security services. After a business security attack, many businesses dismiss their security staff. 

On top of that, many companies don't leave their current security staff alone. They often have unrelated executives interfere with the security staff. Sure, a security service needs other employees to comply with its commands, but interfering can weaken the team's responses. 

2. No Public Relations Consultations 

As mentioned, cyber attacks can sour a company's reputation. When this happens, they can experience significant financial losses. This can make them less able to afford the cyber security services that they need. 

Executives who are successfully running a company should know they need public relations experts to smooth over reputation issues. If they don't, their problems will get worse. They'll become increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. 

3. Using the Wrong Solutions 

Companies also tend to use the wrong cyber security solutions. They don't necessarily need to have cyber security experts to learn what the right solutions are. However, these experts likely have information that these companies cannot find on the internet. 


Ways Companies Are Successfully Preventing Cyber Attacks

The companies that don't experience secondary cyber attacks are the ones who find the right solutions for preventing cyber attacks. Here are some examples of the steps that they may take.

1. Multifactor Identification 

This is an alternative to using passwords alone. It asks users to identify themselves through a few different methods.

For example, a security program may send a code to a user's phone or email. He or she will use this code to get in. 

2. Phishing Awareness Programs  

A lot of employees may not know about the dangers of phishing. By teaching their employees about phishing and how to avoid it, companies will lessen the likelihood of cyber attacks. 

3. Least Privilege 

Least Privilege is a security concept where only certain users have access to different types of data. Only the most trusted employees will have access to the most sensitive pieces of data. With this strategy, phishing cyber attacks shouldn't become a threat. 

4. Cyber Security Services 

Of course, the most successful companies use cyber security services to prevent cyber attacks. In the next section, we'll tell you why this is the case. 


How Cyber Security Services Can Help

Cyber security, by definition, is a way of protecting electronic information. Professionals in this field mitigate all of the possible risks and vulnerabilities. We've mentioned only some of the ways that your company's computers and networks can be vulnerable to attacks. 

1. We Prevent Cyber Attacks 

Therefore, services like ours prevent all of the consequences that we mentioned above and more. You won't have to worry about the vast majority of the cyber attacks that we mentioned. Without the threat of cyber attacks, you won't have to worry about your company losing data, finances, and reputation. 

2. Our Professionals Work Better 

Yes, you can learn how to fight against cyber attacks yourself. Let's be honest though. Between the person who's read a few books and articles on the topic and the professional with years of experience, the latter is more likely to do an excellent job. 

3. Our Managed IT Services Prevent Cyber Attacks 

Cyber attacks can seriously cripple (if not outright shut down) all types of companies. Luckily, all that companies need to do is make the right choices and they're less likely to experience cyber attacks. As we've discussed, cyber security services are one of the best defense tools against cyber attacks. 


We at AffinityMSP can act as your Australian cyber security centre. Our managed IT services include many cyber security services as well as many other perks. Take a look at our services page to learn more about what we can do for your company.

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