The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats to Small Businesses

Technology > Security

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Faster Internet not only means more connectivity but more cybersecurity threats as well, with hackers continuing to target small businesses, writes Brenda M. Egan, for the Entrepreneur.

As much as 61 percent of small and medium-sized businesses were subjected to a cyber attack in 2017, according to The Ponemon Institute.

For 2018, small businesses will have to contend with three major cybersecurity threats, as reported by the Internet Security Forum (ISF), a non-profit that focuses on cybersecurity.

Internet of Things security leaks will become more frequent as more businesses acquire IoT devices for such tasks as traffic monitoring, gathering health information, and optimizing industrial equipment. However, IoT devices are not always secure because they create a backdoor for hackers to exploit, the ISF points out.

Hackers rely on automated programs to locate IoT devices and will attempt to use default admin credentials to gain access to these devices. Hackers usually succeed because admin credentials are rarely changed, and once logged on, they install malware and hijack the system.

Daniel Soderberg, CEO of EyeonPass, advocates changing all passwords when a new device is bought. Soderberg says he will not operate a new device with the default passwords, which are usually printed and freely available, exposing the user to all kinds of cyber threats.

The ISF also expressed concerns about the increasing use of algorithms, as businesses rely on these for managing critical systems. Improper and non-transparent interactions among algorithms can cause incidents such as the “flash crash” in 2014 that saw US Treasury bond yields drastically unduly drop before the algorithms were corrected.

Human monitoring of algorithms that execute operations and decisions should be resorted to by organizations, the ISF proposes.

Legal action taken against researchers that expose digital vulnerabilities is a trend that will continue to grow, the ISF predicts. Its consequence is that technology buyers, including businesses, are exposed to vulnerabilities that manufacturers would rather ignore than fix.

The ISF is insisting on transparency during the procurement of devices to protect technology buyers from cyber threats.