Small Business Could Be Weaponized for Cyber Warfare


In today’s headlines, we are either reading of the misfortunes going on in Ukraine or the rocket testing going on in North Korea. Although it may seem to be unrelated to the daily activity of your business, there are battles being fought online too. The reality is, your small to midsized business could be weaponized for cyber warfare.

The common targets we normally see when it comes to cybersecurity breaches are the big guys. A nations critical infrastructure, organizations that host elections, military databases and government communications.

The Ukrainian government saw hacks to over 70 of their organizations following the attacks from Russia. They were told in a multitude of messages and languages to be scared and expect the worst.

Now, why would this mean your small business is at risk right? These bad actors are after national security, so why would they come after the little guy.

Reasons Your Business Could be Weaponized

The simple answer is that small businesses are the pieces that connect the bigger picture. You could fall victim to a supply chain attack or a leap frog attack which collects data in one attack to use in the next. Or you could have a partner that also does accounting for someone in the defense sector. All of these seemingly small connections, makes your a bigger target to hackers.

You may not be the end goal for these attacks, but they will use you as a pawn to get there. They are under the impression that you have less defense than the bigger guys so they infiltrate your networks as an entry point for the real attack.

Think about this. Imagine you supply the heating and cooling for a utility business. Some hacker wants access to that utility business so they use information they can get from you to send the utility company a phony invoice. One that is full of malicious payload. That utility company is now way more likely to open this malware because they trust your credibility. From that point, these bad actors have access to the original information they were seeking.

The reasoning behind these attacks are tricky. Not every actor is looking for financial gain. Information can be just as valuable to them as money. That’s why you should never overlook the idea that this could happen to your business, regardless of size.

Ways you can Defend your Business to Prevent Cyber Warfare

Invest in a cybersecurity plan. This doesn’t have to be a fully financial investment. Invest time and energy into creating a plan that will prevent and deter cybersecurity vulnerabilities. No one is too small to become a victim of these attacks. To maintain your systems, follow best practices and make sure you have the right protection in place. We came out with a list of preventative measures every business can take, check it out here.

These attacks often weaponize small businesses and their software vulnerabilities. Make sure your software is up-to-date and patched. Staying current on the latest cyber threats could also be a huge help.

Another big thing is reminding your employees on the importance of good cyber habits. It’s the people who work for you who can be the weakest links. Uneducated staff will be the first to open a phishing email, opening up your software to malware. They don’t mean to cause damage, but they could be a one way ticket in for hackers.

The most important piece of advice we can offer to you is to implement multi-factor authentication. You’ll see I mention it time and time again that requiring multi-factor authentication almost fully deters your systems from being a victim. Even if a hacker gains access to login credentials, they would have to have access to an approved device to enter.

Bad actors know it’s the ones who don’t care about cyber security that are easier to manipulate. Making it difficult to access your network screams to them that you are taking your security seriously and it would be best to them to try somewhere else.

There’s Help Out There

It’s beneficial to you to put in place a way to monitor any security related events and install remote access controls. There is something we call “Geo-Fencing” that you can enlist to restrict foreign IP addresses from accessing your network. It puts a virtual fence around your location and will trigger a response if someone outside the network tries to access it. They will validate trusted computers and use that data to report on ant suspicious activity.

We know this can be intimidating for a business that does not have a hand in IT. That’s why you can use an MSP to bridge the gap. Using a Managed Service Provider instead of having to hire someone in house, can be a cheaper and smarter initiative for your business. You’ll have the access of an entire IT team to defend yourself against these cybersecurity tactics.

We don’t want to see your small business be weaponized for cyber warfare. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do to reduce your risk of attack.

Click here to schedule a free 15-minute meeting with Stan Kats, our Founder, and Chief Technologist. 

STG IT Consulting Group proudly provides IT Service in Greater Los Angeles and the surrounding areas for all of your IT needs.

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