7 security tips to secure your small and medium business in 2024

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7 Cybersecurity tips to secure your small and medium business in 2024

We are finally here. We are already in the digital future we have always imagined for us. Day-to-day mundane tasks and processes are no longer manual. We finally have the AI-powered assistant we always wished for. Doesn’t it all seem too good to be true? 

The reality we have now stepped into has made us more vulnerable to the sharks of the cybercrime ocean.

The increased adoption of the Operational Technology (OT) and informational technology to steer forward operations efficiently has put small and medium businesses at high risk. As per Gartner’s prediction, cyber attackers will have weaponized OT environments to successfully hunt and kill humans.

The report states that there are three main motivations behind security incidents in OT: commercial vandalism (reduced output), reputational vandalism (Making a manufacturer untrustworthy or unreliable), and actual harm.

The most shocking discovery was that it predicted the impact of CPS (cyber physical systems) attacks to be over $50 billion by the end of 2023!

A rearview mirror into last year’s threats

We had seen a range of cyber attacks that shook the globe last year. There were over 2.3 billion attacks worldwide last year. The highest ransom paid in 2021 was $3.2 million, and this figure saw a surprising increase of over 525% in 2022 (20 million dollars). As per one survey conducted by Trend Micro on oil, electric, and manufacturing companies in 2022, 9 out of 10 companies’ production was affected by some or the other form of OT/ICS attack. It was found that there was over 89% disruption of supply for more than 4 days and over 2.8 million in damage.

Let us take a look at some of the most alarming attacks of 2022:

1. Costa Rica Government

One of the most dangerous attacks of 2022 targeted 30 government institutions in Costa Rica which caused a nationwide state of emergency. It created havoc with massive disruption in essential services, loss of sensitive and valuable information of citizens, and a whopping ransom of $20 million!

2. TransUnion

 America’s top credit reporting agency, with over 1 billion customers worldwide (30 countries), was attacked last year. Ransomware attackers stole over 54 million personal records by exploiting weak passwords. It caused the company to pay the ransom amount of $15 million!

3. Oil tanking GmBH

An infamous ransomware gang called Black Cat orchestrated an attack on Oil Tanking GmBH, a German petrol supplier group. The attackers targeted the company’s OT/ICS systems, leading to massive disruptions in their supply chain operations.

4. Optus

The attack on the Australian telecommunications giant was a wake-up call for many organizations. The attackers stole the data of over 2.8 million customers of Optus. It severely affected the company’s reputation, with all of its stakeholders, and demanded a ransom of $1 million.

5. Nvidia

Even the World’s most renowned manufacturer of GPUs, silicon processors, and chips, Nvidia, wasn’t left out by the devastation of cyber attacks. A notorious group that went by the name of Lapsus$ attacked Nvidia in early 2022 (February) extracting over 1 TB of employee data, company information, and source codes and publishing them over the internet.

It is apparent from the above that 2024 is not going to be any different but far worse than 2023 with the attackers targeting satellites and using artificial intelligence in devising Advanced Persistent Threats. The question now remains especially for small and medium business enterprises.

SharkStriker’s tips for the 2024 cyber threats for Small and Medium Businesses

Here are some of the tips from our security experts and analysts through which you can be prepared against the threats of 2024:

1. Update and patch all systems and software regularly

To ensure that cyber criminals don’t take advantage of the vulnerability that arises as a result of irregular or no updation of systems and software, it is important to update and patch all the systems and software regularly. It also allows them to work smoothly without disruption from operational bugs. It is one of the best security practices that must always be followed by organizations for proactive security. 

2. Backup is a must for everything sensitive and critical in nature

Since cybercriminals primarily aim for the most sensitive data to exploit for monetary gain or political motives or simply an act of grudge, it is critical to back up all the sensitive data. It also assists in reducing the impact of damage from a cyber attack and allows room for contingency and preparing strategies.

3. Set a password policy in place and regularly review the password

There are many ways through which an attacker can get access to your account. He may use brute force attacks to crack your password. He may use a dictionary method of hacking passwords using a list of commonly used passwords to easily figure out your password. Getting your password policy reviewed and encouraging regular updation to a strong password is a must for ensuring account safety and secure access of everyone across your organization. 

4. Create training modules for employees on common individual measures to safeguard themselves against phishing, snooping, etc.

One of the most common reasons behind a cyber attack is human error and to combat the threats of 2024, organizations must make their employees more aware of the matters of cyber security. They must take initiatives to make individuals across different levels understand measures that they can take at the individual level to be safe against the 2024 threats.

5. Deploy email protection and anti-malware software

According to research conducted by APWG, a total of 1,270,883 phishing attacks occurred in 2022 making it the year with the most phishing attacks. This is the reason enough why you must consider email protection for your small and medium businesses. Since 92% of malware is delivered via mail, it is essential to deploy malware protection along with email protection.

6. Restrict users on a “least privilege”” basis and avoid the use of PMD (portable media devices)

All users must be given only a minimum amount of permissions to ensure that they get their job done. This will eliminate access-based attacks considerably by limiting the attack surface, stopping the spread of malware, and reducing security risks associated with access to zero by rendering just-in-time access.

7. Take expert assistance

Most small and medium businesses become victims of cyber attacks because they either lack the skills or expertise or a team for cyber security much needed to proactively build a defense against them or their security teams are overworked.

This is where they should take the assistance of cyber security professionals and leverage their expertise to:

  • Ensure round-the-clock security through a 24/7 SOC team empowered with EDR and SIEM for early detection and hunting of threats.
  • Integrate threat intelligence in your cyber security framework with firewall monitoring through SIEM for early detection of malicious activities and connections.
  • Run comprehensive cyber security assessments regularly through penetration testing for preemptive detection of anomalies and vulnerabilities within your IT infrastructure.

Imagine a cart of highly valuable gold bars. Nobody in their right mind would leave it unguarded on a road for robbers and thieves to steal it right? For enterprises, sensitive customer data, financial information, and valuable digital assets are equivalent to a cart full of gold bars! However, many small and medium, and even big businesses are failing to protect or take measures to safeguard their digital assets.

This is because of reasons mainly a lack of awareness of the security risks they are exposed to, lack of expertise, and a team of professionals that could take care of all the security needs of the organization on a 24×7 basis. As a result of this, many enterprises have become victims of cyber attacks that they had not foreseen.

It had turned out to be costly not just in terms of money but also reputation. And with threat actors becoming more and more evolved, deploying the most sophisticated attacks such as Advanced Persistent Threats with the use of Artificial intelligence, small and medium organizations must step up their defenses to be prepared for the worst. It is essential to take assistance from experts to identify the vulnerabilities in their posture and implement the right set of measures required to prepare the cyber defense of 2024.

Enter SharkStriker! 

SharkStriker has worked with a range of small and medium enterprises, having assisted them with increased cyber security posture, round-the-clock security, and comprehensive defense against ransomware attacks and data breaches. We have helped them get maximum ROI in cyber security from all their existing security investments.

Proactively prepare for the threats of 2024 with our team of cyber security experts, analysts, and incident responders to assist you by conducting a top to bottom assessment of your cybersecurity posture. We identify the gaps in your security and render the right measures, updates, patches, and rules across your IT infrastructure.

Our AI and ML-powered SIEM offers your organization the power of 360-degree visibility, the automated response through SOAR (Security Orchestration and Automated Response), and compliance fulfillment. With SharkStriker, you can secure all of your digital assets from the threats of 2024 and progress toward a productive tomorrow undisrupted and stress-free from cyber threats.


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