For years, many small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners have been lulled into a false sense of security regarding the threat posed by cybercrime due to the assumption that their organizations did not possess anything of value for hackers. Although large enterprises remain popular targets among ambitious cybercriminals looking to strike gold or pump up their hacking credibility, SMBs are increasingly finding themselves on the receiving end of devastating malware attacks. According to one IT news source, the size of a target has become irrelevant to many hackers.
"It's increasingly clear that cybercriminals don't look at the size of the company when launching their attacks," the source stated. "Data is data, and even the smallest organization has valuable data the criminals can steal and sell. The days of 'I'm too small for them to find me' are long gone. In many cases, the small business may just be a stepping stone in a chain of attacks, with the criminals targeting the smaller and weaker networks as part of a comprehensive campaign against larger partners."
SMBs susceptible to ransomware attacks
Ransomware has emerged as one of the most popular tools for cybercriminals to deploy against SMB networks. Because of their sophisticated cybersecurity measures, the vast majority of large enterprises are largely unaffected by this threat. SMBs, however, lack these resources and have been highly susceptible to this form of cyberattack. After the malware has infiltrated the organization's system, the infected workstation will display a screen overtly announcing that the business' data has been compromised and a fee must be paid in order to regain access to that information. An alternative method involves aping local or federal law enforcement agencies to coerce users into paying a penalty for a crime they did not commit. The use of fear-based tactics combined with the lack of proper resources has made ransomware an effective tool for hackers across the globe.
Once a ransomware attack has been launched, there are few courses of action for SMB system administrators to take. Essentially locked out of their system, IT teams may find it exceedingly difficult to launch a counter offensive and remove the malicious code. That is why it is essential to have defenses in place to block these programs from launching. By installing application control software, system administrators can establish a set list of programs that can access the business' networked environment. Any other executable software that attempts to run will be blocked, meaning businesses can prevent these harmful malware attacks from occurring.