Cyber Attacks on the Rise: Cybersecurity Tips for Your Business

Data breaches and cyber attacks on businesses have been reported in record numbers since Covid-19 has forced the world to become increasingly online. Cybersecurity has never been more critical. Cyber Fraud Insurance is one way to help keep your business cybersecure in 2021.  

Cyber Attacks Are Increasing 

The increase in cyber attacks, data breaches, ransomware and other cyber threats during Coronavirus, has highlighted the need for businesses to protect themselves 

At the peak of the first wave of lockdowns in April 2020, the FBI reported a 300% increase in incidents alone, while cybercrime is now estimated to cost the global economy more than $1 trillion, up 50% from two years ago.” (1)  

It isn’t just the increase in cyber-attacks that is worrisome for businesses and individuals alikeit is also the sophistication with which attacks are being carried out. Covid-19 has created new opportunities for cybercriminals who are adopting new ways to attack their victims. “Attackers are innovating using automated scanning to identify security gaps, attacking poorly secured routers or even using ‘deepfakes’ – (realistic media content modified or falsified by artificial intelligence), said Catharina Richter, global head of the Allianz Cyber Center of Competence at AGCS.” (1) 

My Business Is Too Small for a Cyber Attack 

During 2020 hackers wreaked havoc on large corporations Marriott, Zoom, and Magellan Health, but it’s not only big companies that fall victim. (6) Many small to mid-sized businesses mistakenly assume cybercriminal wouldn’t target their company because of its small sizeUnfortunately, cyber attacks happen to every size business and even to individuals. The statistics are sobering.  According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report,  

“43% OF BREACH VICTIMS WERE SMALL & MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSES.” 

and according to SafeAtLast 

THE AVERAGE COST OF A RANSOMWARE ATTACK ON A BUSINESS IS $133,000.” (2) 

Most small to medium-sized businesses have struggled amidst the pandemic and a hit to their budget of over 100k could prove financially devastating. It is no longer a matter of if your business will be affected by a cyber-attack or data breach, it is now a matter of when it will be affected. Businesses need to take steps to protect themselves from increasing cyber threats.  

Top Cyber Threats Facing Your Business & Tips to Prevent Them 

To help your business prepare, we have identified some of the top cyber threats experts say your company should be aware of and tips on how to prevent them.  

Phishing 

What is Phishing?  

Phishing is when a hacker uses a false identity to fool someone into providing sensitive information, downloading malware, or visiting a site containing malware. Phishing is the most popular tactic used by hackers as it is easy to do and it often works. Phishing attacks account for more than 80% of reported security incidents and Google has registered 2,145,013 phishing sites as of Jan 17, 2021 (5).  

Ways to Prevent Phishing Attacks 

The best way to prevent becoming a victim of phishing is to know what to look for. Train your employees how to recognize the tell-tale signs of a phishing attempt: 

  • Incorrect grammar, punctuation or language.  
  • An email or text that uses general language such as addressing you as “sir” or “madam” instead of using your name.  
  • An odd sense of urgency in the message.  
  • Unusual requests for sensitive or personal information about you. For example, “ your debit card information on file has expired, please click this link and enter your updated car information.”  

If yourself or one of your employees receives an email, text, or social media message that seems suspicious, it is always best to contact the person or company directly to determine the legitimacy of the request.  

Malware 

What is Malware? 

Malware is a broad term used to describe any malicious form of software designed to harm a computer system. Malware steals, deletes, encrypts or alters key computer functions and can also track a user’s activity without them knowing. Worms, Trojan horses, spyware and viruses are all common types of malware.  Hackers use of malware increased by 358% in 2020 (5).  

Ways to Prevent Malware Attacks- 

While there is no way to prevent a malware attack, there are ways to block them thereby preventing your computer from being affected. These include: 

  • Installing good antivirus software 
  • educating staff on the use of strong passwords,  
  • using spam filters to scan all emails, and  
  • never using unfamiliar remote drives or media  

These are just a few of the ways to help keep your business’ computer systems from being infected by malicious software.  

Ransomware 

What is Ransomware?  

Ransomware is when a hacker locks a victim’s computer and holds the files for ransom. In this type of cyberattack, the victim is usually asked to pay the attacker in order to unlock the filesRansomware often spreads through emails or a person unknowingly visiting a website that has been infected. Unfortunately, even those that chose to pay the ransom may never receive their data back from the hacker.  

Ways to Prevent Ransomware?  

Preventing a ransomware attack on your business requires a multi-step approach: 

  1. Make sure your computer systems are regularly backed-up 
  1. Make sure your employees are using strong passwords or multi-factor authentication 
  1. Train employees to recognize phishing emails and scams 
  1. Consider subscribing to a dark web monitoring service 

Cyber Insurance is a Critical Step in Protecting Your Business  

Its critical in today’s online environment, for businesses to ensure their assets, including their digital assets. In addition to software and online security measures, cyber insurance can help protect your business from cybercriminals. Formerly considered a luxury addon to a business insurance program, cyber insurance has quickly become a necessity. McSweeney & Ricci can create a tailored cyber liability insurance policy to address your business’ unique needs. Just as every business is unique, the amount of cyber insurance a business requires is based upon that individual business’ degree of risk. Our team of business insurance experts will partner with you to provide the proper levels of cyber liability for your needs.  

Since 1964, McSweeney & Ricci has provided personal and business insurance protection as well as trusted advice, to individuals and businesses throughout Massachusetts and beyond. Our team delivers complete home insurance, auto insurance, business insurance as well as personal cyber insurance and cyber liability insurance for businesses and much more.  

For more information on adding cyber liability insurance to your existing business insurance program, contact as at

844-501-1359, or submit for a complimentary quote on our website.  

 Sources: 
  1. “Top Business Risks for 2021: Pandemic-Related Business Interruption, Cyber’ 03/03/21  MyNewMarkets.com
  2. “2020 Data Breach Investigations Report” Enterprise.Verizon.com
  3. “Cyber Insurance Trends to Look for in 2021” propertycasualty360.com by Trent Cooksley 01/05/21
  4. “7 Top Cybersecurity Threats For Businesses in 2021 [& How to Prevent Them]” straightedgetech
  5. “Alarming Cybersecurity Stats: What You Need To Know for 2021” Forbes.com Chuck Brooks 03/02/21
  6. “The 52 Biggest Data Breaches [Updated for 2021]” Upguard.com Abi Tyas Tunggal 02/15/21
  7. “134 Cybersecurity Statistics and Trends for 2021” varonis.com Rob Sobers 03/16/21
  8. “28% of Data Breaches in 2020 Involved Small Businesses” smallbiztrends.com 07/22/20 Michael Guta
  9. “How to Prevent Malware Attacks: 10 Security Tips” blog.netwrix.com Ryan Brooks 10/20/20

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