The Top Cyber Security Threats of 2017 (And How an MSP Can Help)

45725783_s.jpgIs your company protected from the top cyber security threats of 2017? Cyber security can change not only by the year but by the hour -- and that can be difficult to keep track of for organizations of any size. An MSP can help fill gaps in your resources and educate your organization on the most prominent threats to your business and your industry.

The Biggest Cyber Security Threats in 2017

Malware

What would happen if your organization's computer system was wiped out tomorrow? Would you be able to contact your customers? Fulfill your orders? Malware -- malicious software that infests your network -- can have many goals. It can be designed to do everything from quietly steal your data to obliterate your entire infrastructure. Either way, you need a comprehensive data protection plan to protect against it. Dealing with malware requires early detection, regular data backups, and thorough network scanning.

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Ransomware

Ransomware is a special type of malware that is designed to take your company's data, encrypt it, and hold it for ransom. Unless you pay the ransom, your company may never get back its information. Luckily, ransomware is also one of the easiest types of attacks to defeat -- if you've planned ahead. Through an MSP, you can ensure that you always have up-to-date copies of your data safely stored and encrypted somewhere else. If your organization is struck by ransomware, you can then re-deploy your data without having to pay any hefty penalties.

IoT

The IoT is introducing a multitude of new threats centered around new hardware that is connected to your corporate network. From printers to smartphones, the "Internet of Things" is growing -- and many of these IoT devices are not secured. To protect against potential intrusions or exploits, your organization has to constantly monitor these devices and keep their firmware up to date.

Internal Threats

But perhaps the most common issue your organization will face are internal threats -- threats that are created by your employees. With a continually expanding workforce and increasing reliance on mobile employees, internal threats are becoming even more prevalent. Internal threats come chiefly from two places:

Malicious employees. Disgruntled employees may seek to take data with them as they leave, or to destroy data before they go. If they have the security permissions to do this -- and data isn't properly backed up and encrypted -- it can be difficult to stop them.

Careless employees. Employees will frequently leave their confidential information, such as login data, in publicly accessible places. Once their accounts have been breached, your organization's data can be breached.

How do you protect your organization from threats that arise from within? An MSP can help. MSPs are able to improve upon your security controls, authentication services, and threat detection, to both minimize and mitigate these threats.

There are undoubtedly many cyber security threats that have emerged throughout 2016 and that will become even more devastating in 2017. An MSP doesn't just provide third-party security and risk assessment services but also can become a valuable partner against new and developing threats.

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The 4 Types of Malware That Threaten Your Business

Security intrusions can be costly. IBM found that the average cost of a data breach is $3.8 million, with each record stolen averaging a cost of $154 to the business. Modern companies must protect themselves from malware and security threats -- and to do that, they need to understand which threats are most common.

1. Viruses

When most people think about a security threat, they think about a virus -- a malicious program that entices a user to launch it and then begins to cause a variety of security and stability issues. Viruses are usually spread through email, but not always; they can be spread through any type of file transfer protocol, including cloud servers and Internet downloads. Viruses may be obvious and immediately start causing damage to a system, but they can also be very discrete. A worm, for instance, may reside on a system and quietly send and receive data, while a Trojan may install a backdoor through which a malicious user can enter.

2. Adware/Spyware

Adware and spyware is generally used to collect data. It's often distributed through similar measures as viruses, or may be embedded within seemingly harmless software. Adware may begin to display ads throughout a computer system and the user's browsing experience or it may quietly collect data from the user such as login names and passwords. Adware and spyware can represent a very significant security risk because it doesn't disable the user's computer; instead, it can avoid detection while collecting confidential information.

3. Phishing Scams

Phishing attempts are usually completed through email or instant messenger. A phishing scam may appear to be a legitimate email from a well-known site, such as Gmail. It will prompt the user to click on a link to log into their account. Often the scam will prompt the user with a concern, such as stating that their account had been compromised and that they need to change their password. The user is directed to a fake website which then collects the information that they enter.

4. Botnets

A botnet is also sometimes known as a DDoS attack (distributed denial of service). With a botnet, a malicious outsider attacks the company by sending a multitude of very fast requests. Often when a system is met with a fusillade of requests it can become overwhelmed and vulnerable. DDoS protection and enhanced security is necessary to avoid this type of attack.

Nearly a million new malware threats are released every single day. That's a lot for a company to keep up with, but luckily most don't have to. Comprehensive enterprise security measures are usually enough to protect from viruses, adware, phishing scams and botnets -- provided that they are updated and maintained.

Image source: Yuri Samoilov