Ransomware – The Biggest Cyber Threat of 2020

As one year closes and another one begins, it’s always worth sitting down and taking stock. At Somerbys IT, we do this for a number of reasons, not least to look at what the major cyber risks are likely to be for the upcoming year. This way, we can stay ahead of the game and keep our clients as safe as possible.

For 2020, it’s plain to see that one of the biggest threats is ransomware. Travelex has been all over the news lately after a cyber-breach was detected on New Year’s Eve. Hackers gained access and threatened to release customers’ personal data, including payment card details, unless Travelex paid them £4.6 million. 

We are seeing more attacks on smaller businesses year on year, and whilst technology and cybersecurity advance at great pace, ransomware is right on their heels – morphing, evolving, and being operated by ever more intelligent hackers. And the statistics prove it…

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Cyber Attacks on Small Businesses – The Stats You Cannot Ignore!

Is your business too small to be hit by a cyber attack? No, is the simple answer. The latest research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that small businesses fall victim to almost 10,000 cyber attacks per day. That’s 8.64 per second. And those are only the successful attacks. Many, many more are attempted.

So why are small businesses not protecting themselves against these attacks? Quite simply, they don’t think they are big enough to be a target. While this is completely understandable, the stats prove that cyber security should be a major cause for concern, even for the smallest of businesses. In the 30 seconds it’s taken you to read this introduction, almost 260 cyber attacks have been carried out on SMEs.

 

Cyber security stats for SMEs

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey is an annual governmental report that evaluates how UK organisations approach cyber security, as well as the impact of breaches that occur.

The findings show that over a third of micro and small businesses have suffered cyber breaches or attacks. Think about the last small business networking event you went to. Over 30% of the people in the room had potentially been hit by a cyber attack.

Yet, despite this, many small businesses are not taking the right steps to protect themselves. The FSB found that over a third of SMEs haven’t installed any form of security software and around 40% fail to carry out regular software updates and back up data and systems. These statistics are consistent with the number of successful attacks, so prove that protection is key.

When participants in the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 were asked why they didn’t have cyber security policies or other measures for risk management, 35% said they were too small, 21% admitted cyber security wasn’t a priority for them, and 19% simply didn’t see it as a risk. Again, the stats demonstrate that these reasons aren’t valid.

 

The impact of small business cyber breaches

The impact on small businesses can be disproportionately severe. The business is small, and, in all likelihood, won’t be able to bounce back like a larger company. Even if they could cover the direct costs, the indirect costs can be devastating, such as a slowdown in productivity, a dip in team morale and the inevitable damage to reputation. The FSB estimates the costs of cyber attacks on small businesses to be £4.5 billion per year.

Losing thousands of pounds isn’t the worst-case scenario, though. Sadly, a large proportion of SMEs that fall victim to a cyber attack will not survive. While there don’t seem to be UK statistics for this, a US study found that 60% of SMEs go out of business within the six months following a cyber attack.

 

What’s the first step in protecting your small business?

 If this is making for uncomfortable reading, it’s probably because your small business doesn’t have the correct level of cyber security. But it can be daunting knowing how to approach it.

Here at Somerbys IT, we always advise carrying out a cyber security audit as the first step.

Our Cyber Security Audit service includes a face-to-face meeting with one of our team, who will take you through a list of questions to find out how secure your system is. From this, we will be able to highlight any gaps, get a clear picture of any potential threats, and create a bespoke action list for your company. It may even be possible for us to detect if you’ve already had a breach that may have gone unnoticed.

If this is something you are interested in hearing more about, get in touch with our friendly team today.

It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Windows 7

All good things come to an end. While Windows 7 has been a favourite among many companies for almost a decade now, the operating system is coming to the end of its life in January 2020 — just three months from now. Many people will be sad to see it go, but here at Somerbys IT, we want to help you make the right decision for the next steps for your company.

What happens after January?

Computers and systems won’t stop working, but Microsoft will stop providing:
● Technical support for any issues
● Software updates
● Security updates or fixes

What does that mean for your company?

The BIG point here is that without security and software updates, your system will become significantly more vulnerable, meaning you’re at higher risk of viruses and cyberattacks — and the disruption they can cause. Reports show that over 70% of cyber attacks target small businesses, and up to 60% of these go out of business in the six months that follow.
Within three or four months, it’s highly probable that the apps and systems you use will be out of date and some will become unusable. It’s exactly the same as what happens when you have an old mobile phone that’s no longer supported. But this is your business and your livelihood — and Somerbys IT wants to protect you.

What we recommend

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Cisco Umbrella – What an Extra Layer of Online Security Could Mean to Your Business


As a business owner or even just an internet user, you’re more than aware of the threat of cybercrime. It’s no longer just the obvious scams from our Nigerian friends or fake calls from people pretending to be your bank.

Now, online where we spend more and more time, you’re up against an army of cyber criminals, keen to lock you out of your website, take it down and charge you to get it back.

From phishing to malware and targeted attacks, you have to have eyes on everything and more. Is it any wonder we’re hearing about more and more attacks in the news?

Earlier this year, Yahoo had 3 billion accounts compromised while Equifax reported that they may well have had over 44 million people’s personal details stolen in a recent data attack.

It puts that dodgy PDF attachment into perspective, doesn’t it?

But small businesses are very much under fire, and away from the banks and Scotland Yard those cyber nasties are after your machine to hold you ransom or steal enough details to make some money from your identity.

We all know we need security for our internet and our devices, and for years we’ve been helping our customers with security packages.

But like the online viruses, we need to evolve and get more intelligent.
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GDPR – What is IT?

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a hot topic right now. Even if you’re a small business, it affects you. Much like the new pension regulations or Making Tax Digital, there’s quite a bit of fear and miscommunication out there.

So, here’s a really simple way to look at it:

– only collect information that you need for a specific purpose

– keep it secure

– ensure it is relevant and up to date

– only hold as much as you need, and for as long as you need it

– and allow the subject of information to see it on request

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Cyber Security: How to Protect Yourself from Malware, Ransomware, Phishing etc

Advice on protection from Viruses, Malware, Ransomware and Phishing

More and more, ransomware has emerged as a major threat to individuals and businesses alike. Ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts data on infected systems, has become a lucrative option for cyber criminals.

In the past, many smaller businesses downplayed the possibility of security threats because they believed they were too small for hackers to target. However, most businesses have become more self-aware in recent years, realising that being under-protected, and under-funded, has made them attractive targets for cyber criminals.

The best practice is to employ multiple layers of protection.  Nothing guarantees 100% security and rarely will a single layer stop the threat in its tracks. Malware is multi-faceted and changing by the minute, however, and multiple strategies significantly increase your chances of staying safe.

See below for some essential layers of defence from current cyber security threats.  Realistically, each aspect needs to be in place to avoid leaving an “open door” for attackers.

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