5 Myths of Cyber Security

5 Myths of Cyber Secruity

People often make assumptions about cyber security and underestimate just how crucial it is, no matter the size, sector or maturity of the organization. In this article, we share some of the top misconceptions surrounding cyber security and the reality of the situation.

 

  Myth #1: Our data is unimportant to hackers

Reality: Hackers can exploit anybody’s data and sell it for their own gain

You may feel like you don’t have any information that is worth stealing, but there are various ways that hackers and bad actors on the internet can use your data for their own gain, usually with money as the motivator.  

Cybercriminals can monetise the data of your employees – or even customers – by selling it on the dark web, leaving individuals with their data exposed and your business in jeopardy. 

It can also be used for impersonation purposes, to convince colleagues, customers or suppliers to send money to a fraudulent account. Phishing attempts account for a whopping 83% of cyberattacks against UK SMEs.

They may not even be looking for your data – they may infect your network with ransomware which locks you out of your systems until you pay a ransom, or malware which is designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorised access to your computer systems. 

 

Myth #2: It is too expensive

Reality: Remediating a cyber security breach is much more expensive than preventing one

Cyber security can seem like an unrewarding endeavour as there is no obvious ROI at first. However, the consequences of leaving your business open to attack are far more catastrophic than the potential benefit of saving some money. Not only the cost but also the time it takes to get back up in running.

The average cost of a cyberattack for a UK business is £4,200, and that’s only in the immediate aftermath. A cyberattack can do huge damage to your reputation as customers, prospects, suppliers and partners may no longer trust you to hold their data and take their business elsewhere, resulting in a loss of income. 

Many businesses choose to outsource their IT security to a managed service provider in order to get peace of mind that they are keeping up with and protecting their business from the latest threats.

A highlighted Lock within a computer

Myth #3: We’re too small for it to happen to us

Reality: Small businesses are an easy target for cybercriminals

You may think that your business isn’t significant enough to target. Usually, on the news, you only hear the big stories where hackers have extorted large sums of money from corporations. 

The truth is that cybercriminals don’t discriminate: over half of SMEs businesses experienced a cyberattack over the 12 months leading up to a recent NCSC survey

Cybercriminals understand that SMEs don’t have the same advanced security solutions that are employed by big corporations and are more likely to pay ransoms, which makes them an easier target. It also means that they will attract less attention from law enforcement agencies. 

Any weaknesses that can be exploited – such as a lack of formal password policies, not installing updates and not using security software – make a business more likely to be targeted. 

The stakes are higher for SMEs, too, as a significant cyberattack could potentially result in the closure of a small business.

 

Myth #4: Our antivirus will protect us

Reality: Your employees have much more impact than the toolbox they use

Whilst antivirus software is certainly not a bad thing to have in your armoury and is recommended as part of a robust cyber strategy, it is not the be-all and end-all and simply isn’t a match for the advanced threats seen today. It’s always one step behind zero-day threats (attack vectors that haven’t been seen before), and there are more of these appearing all the time. 

Without a synchronised security toolkit and a cyber-aware workforce, your antivirus can easily be rendered useless. You can become a victim of cybercrime in different ways, for example, an employee may click on a malicious link or be tricked by a social engineering attack to pay money or disclose sensitive information. 

Your cyber security strategy should span people, processes, and technology, all interacting with one another to provide the strongest defence possible. Your toolkit should cover your endpoints, firewall, network connections, email and more. Plus, to mitigate the effects of any potential incidents, you should be investing in backup and disaster recovery solutions. 

Myth #5: The IT department is responsible for cyber security

    Reality: All employees are responsible for keeping their organisation cyber safe

All too often, the IT department is viewed as being solely responsible for cyber security. Whilst they should indeed be leading the way, all employees have a responsibility to stay vigilant and make sure they are not doing anything to compromise the business. Training should be provided to ensure staff are well equipped and aware to spot anything that may be unusual. Plus, an IT department has different priorities and goals than a cyber security team and should not be expected to provide monitoring and defence services. 

Everyday employees are the frontline of your defence and represent the biggest possible attack vector. Cybercriminals are much more likely to target those who lack security knowledge than IT professionals who will recognise a phishing attempt.  

If employees aren’t trained in basic cyber security, they could compromise your business by falling for a phishing attack or downloading malicious software. This is even more apparent in the new hybrid working era where people are detached from workplace norms and become less vigilant. 

Cyber security awareness is critical so that your employees understand the risks, know how to spot threats and take the right actions accordingly.

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