How to Protect your Online Business from Cyber Threats

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Last updated - June 24, 2022

Digitization is advancing rapidly, opening up entirely new opportunities. But at the same time, cybercrime is increasing dramatically. Inadequately protected systems offer cybercriminals many opportunities to spy on sensitive data and sabotage devices or processes. Moreover, secure websites convey trust and increase the likelihood that you will do business with customers. A company should secure its potential weak points, therefore, a comprehensive security concept is essential.

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What does cybersecurity mean for a website?

Internet users should be able to freely navigate any site without worrying about security incidents. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as every website is constantly exposed to a variety of cyber threats. Cybersecurity includes measures to ensure the confidentiality of services and user authentication in the world wide web. Network security is one of the biggest challenges facing the IT industry today. The threat landscape is complex and constantly changing, prompting many businesses to use a large portion of their technology budget on cyber protection.

For companies, it is particularly important to quickly identify whether digital IP theft has occurred. The sooner an infringement is detected, the faster a company can react and limit the damage. Understanding vulnerability factors, as well as the impact of digital theft, is therefore central to containing losses.

There are various ways companies can protect their data and ensure that critical systems withstand potential intrusions, prevent threats and ensure business continuity:

1. Train your employees

Companies need to educate employees about cyber risks with the help of IT training in order to raise their security awareness in the long term. Employees and network end users are often targeted by hackers to gain access to corporate networks. This is largely due to a lack of clearly articulated security policies for them to follow or a general misunderstanding of how their activities can impact the entire network.

To prevent employees from being attacked by cyber criminals, they need to be made aware of the types of security threats one may encounter. In general, they should learn to recognize and report incidents:

  • Fraudulent emails
  • Phishing websites and phone calls
  • Insecure downloads
  • Hijacks of browser programs

2. Monitor the IT network

Because of other vulnerabilities and the fact that even well-trained employees occasionally make repeated mistakes, it is considered highly crucial to monitor all systems to identify and respond to potential problems. However, such a great task can quickly overwhelm an IT department. It is worth and often essential to hire a professional IT service provider to handle the workload.

3. Update your software

Create backups and test them accordingly. Companies that comprehensively back up their data are protected from cyber-attacks such as extortion attacks. Backups need to be updated and should therefore be created regularly and tested for functionality and consistency.

4. Get an SSL certificate

An SSL certificate provides security and encrypts all information transmitted to and from a website. IONOS offer reliable protection for your website with highly secure 256-bit SSL encryption. For online stores, this measure is even absolutely necessary, because no customer wants personal data like addresses and credit card numbers to be transmitted over an unsecured connection during the payment process.

5. Secure your data

Most companies store vast amounts of data on laptops and smartphones. Therefore, it is recommended to use a backup solution that automatically makes copies of the files that need to bed store. This way, files can be restored from the backups in the event of an attack.

6. Deploy sufficient IT staff/specialists

Companies need to build a professionalized team of IT security experts. Security managers develop security strategies and implement certain measures to identify and avert IT vulnerabilities.

However, since many attack vectors focus on known as well as unknown software flaws and hardware deficiencies, it is impossible to completely secure a network against every type of intrusion.

What are the main types of cyber threats your online business may encounter?

Cyber attacks have worsened in recent years. From now on, not only do cybercrimes affect individuals, but they can affect companies too. In fact, even large groups such as Netflix or FedEx have suffered devastating computer attacks. In general, the purpose of cyber attacks is to obtain personal information from your customers in order to exploit or resell it.

That said, it is important to be aware of the problem and to double our efforts to implement the measures that have been mentioned. Also, by understanding how many kinds of cyber attacks work, knowing how to avoid them becomes easier. Here are the 3 main types of computer attacks that your online business might encounter.

1. Phishing

Phishing is one of the most deadly cyber attacks on the Internet. This is a malicious technique which consists of taking the identity of a site or a brand in order to obtain personal information about your customers. Hackers who use brand spoofing mostly want to collect personal data such as passwords or bank IDs of your customers for criminal purposes.

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The victims receive an email that appears to be from a famous and reliable organization. The users will then open the email that contains a link which redirects them to a landing page or a site that asks them to give their personal information in return for some benefits. After registering their personal data, the hacker will then use them for malicious purposes.

The same could happen to your online business, so it’s important to protect yourself from it. Here are some good practices that you can recommend to your users to avoid this type of scam:

  • Avoid spontaneous trusting of all messages received in the mailbox. If in doubt, your customer should contact you by other means.
  • Beware of attachments that may be contaminated and ask them to contact you if in doubt.
  • Never respond to a request for information by courier.
  • Check the spelling and content of the email to see if there are any errors. If so, it is likely fraudulent content.

By informing your users in this way, you will protect them from data theft. But above all, you will preserve your brand image.

2. Man in the Middle attack

This is a higher level of cyber attack. A hacker will intercept the data that a customer is registering on your site. This is the goal of the man in the middle. In other words, the hacker, who is the middle man, will steal the information which the user will provide on your website without his knowledge. After intercepting your customer’s personal data, the cybercriminal can then monitor these actions. They could even use their credit card number besides seeing the various exchanges or transactions they perform.

To protect your customer, you can advise them to use a VPN when browsing your website while connected to a public WiFi. A VPN will encrypt its data, which will prevent hackers from intercepting the data it uses. Alternatively, you can also advise your client not to connect to public WiFi by browsing your site.

3. The ransomware

Ransomware is the type of cyber attack which directly affects the database of your online business. It can take the form of a malware that keeps your site’s data for ransom. So, as long as you do not give the amount required by the cyber criminal, he will not return your data. This type of cyber attack is the worst you may encounter as you may lose all your data. Nevertheless, it is easy to avoid ransomware. Just update your operating systems regularly, or install firewalls and antivirus.

We hope this article has given you a few ideas to mitigate cyber threats that can affect your online business. With adequate caution you should be able to manage your business without trouble.

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