Cyber threats are not country-specific. They are triggered in the form of bullets from a machine gun, and whosoever is running their business without taking precautionary measures in IT security may fall into the pool of victims of cyber threats. If we specifically consider small businesses, they are the primary victims of cyberattacks.
The increasing number of attacks on small businesses is that they don’t update themselves according to the cybersecurity policies and guidelines issued by the regulatory bodies and security standards like GDPR, CISA, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and ISO.
Developing nations like Pakistan are improving themselves in cybersecurity. But it will take time to make every citizen aware of the cyber threats.
But the businesses that depend upon the IT infrastructure where all the activities from manufacturing to administration and from financial transactions to transportation are running based on software need to be aware of cyber threats and incident management policies.
Here, if we specifically list small businesses in Pakistan, thousands of companies are running independently but serving the nation on a large scale.
We can also see that they use multiple mobile applications to make instant payments for online transactions. But due to a lack of knowledge of cyber threats and security policies, they get trapped by various cyber attacks in Pakistan and lose their hard-earned money in just minutes.
If they can’t spend more on improving their It security, they should communicate through a dedicated IP or use highly trusted VPNs to encrypt their communications.
Here, if you, as a small business owner, search on Google, what is your IP, then you will get the IP as per your ISP, and most of the time, you see a shared IP assigned by your service provider.
But when you get a dedicated IP or communicate through a trusted VPN, you are provided with a fresh IP of the server location you choose from the given locations. In this way, you can reduce the threat of cyberattacks.
In this article, we will discuss:
Different Types of Cyber Threats that Hit Small Businesses
Daily, hundreds of complaints are registered in the cyber police stations in different parts of Pakistan. It isn’t easy to detect them because of international law boundaries. Many of them are still pending because the suspects who committed cybercrime with the local nationals running small businesses in Pakistan belong to other parts of the globe.
Following are the cyber threats that have become significant issues for small businesses:
Nowadays, whether they are large or small businesses but when they get trapped under a cyberattack, then most of the time, Phishing attacks get the credit. These attacks are becoming popular because the victim gets easily trapped under the cheesy flakes of hackers.
Attackers know that small business owners always remain excited to make more money through short routes. Cybercriminals take advantage of this type of weakness and lure them through attractive offers sent through emails and phone texts.
Most of the time, the small business owners get trapped under the cooked scene of hackers, and they click on the link and respond to the phone texts.
Following the instructions on the malicious websites, the victims share all the expected details and lose their data. Sometimes, if hackers find something valuable in the victims’ systems, they steal and demand hefty amounts to return that data.
There are many phishing attacks, like spear phishing, vishing, etc., but small business owners mostly get trapped through Vishing and Spear phishing.
The attacker acts like an officer of an insurance company or an income tax department, or various banks, and asks to open the given link for detailed information. Sometimes hackers act like lottery managers and try to lure the victims through impressive surprised calls that the victim has won a lottery, etc.
The innocent business owner knows that if he violates the rules and ignores the warning message or email, he may face legal issues against him.
So he immediately reacts to the given links, etc. He responds without cross verification and getting into the details of that text or email. By taking advantage of this crucial scene, cybercriminals swipe money and personal information from bank accounts and the computer.
Apart from Phishing attacks, many business owners have also suffered from ransomware attacks in Pakistan. Some have disclosed the matter to the police, and some have shut their systems permanently because they will have to pay the hackers if they want to get back the data. And if they can’t pay, then they will have to start from the very beginning on a new system.
In 2020, Pakistan’s famous electric supply provider K-electric suffered a ransomware attack where attackers demanded a ransom of $3,850,000 to return the stolen 8.5 GB of data. When the victim company refused to pay the amount, the hackers published the stolen data online.
Many other victims are afraid of losing their reputation, which is why they don’t disclose the incidents; either they lose the information or follow the hacker’s instructions.