When a small business owner is faced with the responsibilities of production economics, financial reports and marketing all at the same time, cybersecurity can often appear complicated and, at times, unnecessary. However, this disregard for IT security is being exploited by cyber criminals.
Kaspersky researchers assessed the dynamics of attacks on small and medium-sized businesses between January and April 2022 and the same period in 2021, to identify which threats pose an increasing danger to entrepreneurs.
In 2022, the number of Trojan-PSW (Password Stealing Ware) detections in South Africa increased by 69% when compared to the same period in 2021 – 20 922 detections in 2022 compared to 12 344 in 2021.
Trojan-PSW is a malware that steals passwords, along with other account information, which then allows attackers to gain access to the corporate network and steal sensitive information.
Another popular attack tool used on small businesses is Internet attacks, specifically, web pages with redirects to exploits, sites containing exploits and other malicious programs, botnet C&C centers, etc.
While the number of these attacks decreased in the first four month of 2022 in South Africa by 13% (419 506 infections in 2022 compared to 483 846 infections in 2021), the amount of Internet attacks remains high.
With the shift towards remote working, many companies have introduced the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), a technology that enables computers on the same corporate network to be linked together and accessed remotely, even when the employees are at home.
While the overall number of attacks on RDP has decreased in South Africa, globally this threat is still a challenge. For example, in the first trimester of 2021 there were about 47.5 million attacks in the U.S., whereas for the same period in 2022 the number had risen to 51 million.
Having a special security solution enables attack visualisation and provides IT administrators with a convenient tool for incident analysis. The faster they can analyse where and how a leak occurred, the better they will be able to solve any negative consequences.
Even small businesses with limited IT resources still need to protect all their working devices, including computers and mobile phones, from cyber threats.
“With the shift to remote working and the introduction of numerous advanced technologies in the daily operations of even small companies, security measures need to evolve to support these sophisticated setups. Cybercriminals are already way ahead of the curve, so much so that virtually every organisation will experience a breach attempt at some point.
“For small companies today, it’s not a matter of whether a cybersecurity incident will happen but when. Having trained staff and an educated IT-specialist is no longer a luxury but a must-have part of your business development,” said Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky.
To protect your business, Kaspersky recommends:
- Providing your staff with basic cybersecurity hygiene training as many targeted attacks start with phishing or other social engineering techniques.
- Using a protection solution for endpoints and mail servers with anti-phishing capabilities to decrease the chance of infection through phishing emails.
- Taking key data protection measures. Always safeguard corporate data and devices, including by using password protection, encrypting work devices and ensuring data is backed up.
- Keeping work devices physically safe – do not leave them unattended in public, always lock them and use strong passwords and encryption software.