The best way to keep your business secure from the ever-increasing risk of cyberattacks is to stay up-to-date and on top of industry trends. Ensuring that you are aware of some of the techniques being used by hackers and other bad actors, will better empower you to layer your business with the latest security technology, security patches and protection tools. This short article will provide you the five most common types of cyber threats faced by businesses of all sizes and how you can protect your business from these threats today.

  1. Criminals Who Organize Cyberattacks for Financial Gain

Most cyber attacks against businesses today have a financial angle. Criminals use many methods to gain financially such as infecting business networks with ransomware as well as stealing and sale of valuable company data. Some criminals are also using stealthy attack methods that are have low returns but which are harder to detect like crypto-jacking. Simply put, criminals have revolutionized analog financial crimes using digital software and they are minting millions by the day.

Criminals tend to favor digital financial crimes since they can easily mask their activities and launder their ill-gotten gains through undetectable digital currency like bitcoin.

Recent studies have shown that in the first 6 months of 2019, the number of businesses that have been hit by ransomware attacks has doubled. The number of companies which have been targeted by cyber criminals through business email compromise has also risen by over 50%. The most worrying thing is that no one is safe. Criminals targeting all types of businesses starting from multinationals to SMEs. The increase in the number of attacks can be attribute to the ease of acquiring ransomware and malware on the dark web.

How Can You Protect Your Business from Financial Exploitation by Criminals?

First, you should ensure that your business network is protected by implementing a multi-layered security intrusion detection and response solution using artificial intelligence. Recent attacks have shown that most of the antivirus solutions that were being used in the past are no match for cyber criminals who have deep pockets and sophisticated phishing tools at their disposal. The ideal protection solution for your business should be able to detect phishing schemes before they are introduced into your network and when they enter the network. Some of the AI based software that we use would allow our team to kill, quarantine, remediate and rollback the effects of malware, ransomware and other phishing tools.

Additionally, you should also ensure that you close any holes in your network the moment that you notice an attempted attack. 

You should also ensure that you have an incident response plan for when there is an attempted attack. Prepare yourself with a plan of what to do in case there is an attack instead of acting when it actually happens. It is also important that you educate your staff on the steps that they should take when there is an attack. If you are prepared, you will be better suitable to counter cyber attack offensives by criminals.

  1. Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

Advanced persistent threats (APTs) refers to a broad classification of many types of attacks that include:

  • Industrial espionage
  • Political manipulation
  • IP theft 
  • And many others

APT attacks have been on the rise in recent years as countries try to gain an edge over each other commercially, financially, militarily and politically.

It is hard to keep track of APTs given the many actors in the attack groups as well as the different types of sophisticated phishing tools at the disposal of attackers. Attributing and tracking these threats is even harder due to the fact that different security monitoring groups classify APTs differently. Below is a diagram that illustrates the different types of APT actors, their activities and classification.


Although APTs are mostly used in cyber wars between countries, sometimes businesses get caught in the crossfire. For example, some nations use phishing tools such as Stuxnet to take control of the IP addresses of businesses. There are even some recorded instances when APTs have been used to direct swindle money from business directly.

How Can You Protect Your Business from APT Attacks?

For starters, you should ensure that you employ the same protection strategies as those mentioned for cyber criminals who target businesses for financial reasons.

You should also carry out a security risk analysis in your business with a view of identifying the assets that could make your business attractive to other nations. This will help you identify the type of APT attacks that your business could be vulnerable to. On identifying possible target assets and the APT attacks that could be used, you should devise strategies on how to curb any attempted attacks.

Additionally, you should ensure that your employees are aware of the phishing techniques that could be used by attackers. You should also implement policies that make it mandatory for employees to use safe password procedures.

  1. Insider Threats

Insider threats usually arise from within a businesses. They can be attributed to:

  • Negligence of an employee
  • Incompetence of an employee
  • Malicious intent by a member of staff

It is important to note that insider threats can be more devastating that outside attacks. Though most insider threats occur due to malicious intent by a disgruntled employee, they can also arise because of unintentional employee errors.

Insider threats to businesses have been on the rise in recent years and they are hard to detect. This is because the people who can expose the business to insider threats often have valid credentials. Many businesses also store their data on the cloud where there is less rigorous monitoring as to who gains access to the stored information. The fact that many companies also allow employees to use personal devices at work has made detection of insider threats harder.

How Can You Protect Your Business Against Insider Threats?

It is important that you ensure that your business has the threat protection solutions discussed in other threats above. Apart from that, you should ensure that you can see what all employees are accessing on the company network. This will allow you to detect anomalous behavior and take the appropriate action. It is advisable that you ensure that you lock down your files so that employees can only access the data that they are cleared to see.

You should also ensure that you have a proper network firewall. For maximum protection, you should also acquire protection for your network so that it cannot be compromised through Bluetooth and other peripherals.

In order to spot disgruntled staff who may expose your business to insider threats, you should have wellness programs in your business which can be overseen by the HR department. 

Additionally, to minimize the risk of unintentional errors leading to insider threats, ensure that you educate all company employees on cyber threats and how they should stay on top of cyber security.

  1. Hacktivists

Hacktivists refers to a group of hackers who pool their resources and attack organizations, businesses, and even government agencies with a view of either portraying the target in good light or negative light. Hacktivists use phishing tools such as botnets and DDoS attacks to take over corporate business handles and even deface websites. If they target your business with the aim of wreaking havoc, they can cause a lot of damage.

How Can You Defend Your Business Against Hacktivists?

Since most hacktivists tend to target websites, social media platforms and business applications, you should ensure that you have a modern multi-layered security solution, multi-factor authentication on your social media platforms, and strong network firewalls for business applications. You should also get DDoS mitigation solutions that can analyze your traffic and identify suspicious requests.

It is important that you also form a formidable response plan in case of a hacktivist attack. The plan should include strategies for mitigating reputation damage that the hacktivists may cause should they infiltrate your network.

  1. Lone Wolf Attackers, Script Kiddies & Other People with Beef

There are some individuals who may start attacks in your business without any clear motive. They can include:

  • Script Kiddies

This term refers to attackers who have access to powerful phishing tools that have been written by others. These attackers deploy these phishing tools either for experimentation or fun.

Script kiddies can be dangerous as demonstrated in the case in which an attacker by the name Paige Thompson gained access to the networks of different corporations causing data breaches that led to losses of millions of dollars. This is despite the fact that the attacker did not sell any data that the accessed on infiltrating the corporations.

  • Lone Wolves

This refers to an attacker who develops software and uses it to target corporations, businesses and government agencies. A good example of a lone wolf attack is Phillip Durachinsky who developed malware targeting macOS. He infiltrated several companies as well as federal and state government agencies. To date, his motives are unknown.

  • Other Malcontents

These are people who simply use phishing tools to infiltrate network systems belonging to governments, companies and other institutions for no clear reason.

How Can You Protect Your Business from These Threats?

The threats described above can either be internal or external. In addition to having an up-to-date multi-layered security protection solution that uses artificial intelligence, I highly recommend that your business provides regular security awareness training to all your employees.

To optimally protect your business, it is required that you have an effective, multi-layered protection solution for your business with artificial intelligence. Remember that technology is continuously evolving and criminals are revising and finessing their techniques daily. To stay on top of cyber threats, visit CYB3R-X.