Bad Actors Are Successful During This Time of Year

bad actors attack SMBs, mitigate risk

No organization’s cyber security offers 100% protection against bad actors. Many SMBs that are victims of bad actors have unfortunately had holes poked in their budgets, sensitive information exposed, and the life span of their organization cut short.

Think of cyber security like an onion. Not because it may make you cry (which it very well might) but because there are many layers. In the current season, bad actors are incredibly crafty. Two significant precautions can make a difference.   

Don’t Take the Bait from Bad Actors

Many online shoppers are waiting for their packages to arrive. If you recently made a purchase, you probably have a tracking number for your shipment, or you opted in to receive text message alerts for the progress of your package. For convenience, you may receive a text message alerting you of package delays or arrivals.   

Do not click on the link!  

Phishing attack bait looks real; that is how many catch themselves in a breach.    

Whether packages are for personal or business use, go to the direct site of the shipping company and enter your tracking number there to receive updates. Naturally, if you receive a text message or email with language such as “urgent, payment needed, attention,” you will want to investigate immediately. 

Bad actors target your emotions, making phishing attacks so successful. Please resist the urge. 

Whether you receive a text message about a package or an email about a password reset, never click on links prematurely. Unfortunately, many small-medium businesses are clicking on links that allow bad actors to infiltrate their systems with malicious malware.  

If you are on the computer: 

  • Hover over links to check the URL address.  
  • Do not reply to emails that are potentially not from the sender it portrays – pay close attention to spelling errors.  
  • If an email asks you for sensitive information, red flag it mentally and then physically flag the risk for your IT department’s awareness. 

You can increase your vigilance with training as well as investing in technology. Bad actors are going to attack – they probably will never stop. We can be emotional and impulsive, which makes us human, but technology can offer cyber security in ways humans may not see. 

Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigation Report states, “Ransomware increased 13% over the previous year – a jump greater than the last five years combined.” The report indicated that credentials, phishing, exploiting vulnerabilities, and botnets are four critical paths to data breaches, and no organization is safe without a way to handle them all.  

Many SMBs Downplay and Do Not Adequately Invest in Cybersecurity 

Ignoring cybersecurity’s importance does not combat bad actors’ ever-changing tactics. While no cybersecurity defense provides a 100% guarantee, businesses must get as close as possible to complete protection. 

Breaches happen every second of every day. Breach reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights show the widespread risk. The photo below is a small snapshot of their site of cases under investigation. 

Breach reports in Florida provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. Bad actors are why every SMB needs top level cyber security.

As remote work and the digital age continues to advance, looking over your shoulder and internally questioning your security can cause unneeded stress.  

To lighten your load, we suggest the following: 

  • Budgeting for recurring maintenance 
  • Utilizing permissions that restrict access to sensitive information 
  • Understanding how SMBs have gone out of business because of cyberattacks 

How Can You Tighten Up Your Cybersecurity?  

As we mentioned, phishing is a problem plaguing SMBs. You can train your organization through simulated phishing attacks. We created our SafetyPlus Phishing Net product with you in mind; if your team falls for an attack during the simulation, you can quickly identify which team members need more training and then route them to our immersive learning before an actual breach occurs. 

You may also consider tightening the security of your specific products with our SafteyPlus Hardening, or if you need security options such as cloud and endpoint alerts, SafetyPlus Microsoft 365 handles mitigating risk in those areas. 

Whatever foundational security option you choose for your team, please know that cybersecurity is not a one-and-done deal.  

Bad actors continuously evolve. We cannot stress their innovation and persistence enough. Your organization can benefit from recurring products that maintain and refresh your security. Our SafetyPlus PassPortalTM, RMM Device Health TM, Cloud VPNTM (Virtual Private Network), and HIPAA Compliance BadgeTM are some products that help protect our clients. 

What’s the point of securing your door if the hinges are loose?  

Cybersecurity comes with a lot, so we are here to help. We want you to focus on what matters to you — taking a less stressful and well-deserving break and continuing to make your community a better place. During this time of year and ahead, let us help you detect and take care of the bad actors.