Top Cybersecurity Threats SMBs Need to Know in 2023 and Beyond

Usman Malik

Chief Executive Officer

October 24, 2023

The top cybersecurity threats are growing more sophisticated each year. In today's digital era, where businesses rely on technology more, the risk of getting attacked increases tenfold. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), often without the security resources of larger firms, are especially vulnerable. 

As technology becomes an even greater part of daily business, the potential for cyberattacks also rises. For SMBs, understanding these threats isn't just about preventing data breaches. It's about safeguarding their reputation and financial future. In 2023 and the coming years, being aware of and prepared for these top cybersecurity challenges is more vital than ever.

A brief overview of cybersecurity

Think of cybersecurity as the digital lock and alarm system for your business. It's all about using tools and rules to protect your computer systems, phones, apps, and business information. Just like we use locks and alarms to keep our homes safe, we need these digital tools because there are more and more tech-savvy thieves out there trying to steal or mess with our data.

Nowadays, with almost every business being online, these cyber threats are becoming a big headache. These online troubles can range from someone breaking into your email to large-scale attacks that can harm your business. That's why, no matter the size of your business, it's essential to get ahead and make sure you have good cybersecurity. Not only does it protect your business info, but it also helps keep your customers' trust.

what is cybersecurity

Top cybersecurity threats to keep an eye on

Navigating the digital world comes with its share of challenges, especially as cyber threats constantly evolve. Here are the top cybersecurity threats you should be particularly vigilant about.

1. Ransomware attacks

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that locks users out of their computer systems or encrypts their files, making them inaccessible. The perpetrators then demand a ransom, typically in cryptocurrency, to restore access or decrypt the files.

The process usually starts when an unsuspecting user clicks on a compromised link or downloads a malicious attachment. Once inside the system, the ransomware spreads, locking down or encrypting files. With the increasing ingenuity of cybercriminals, several types of ransomware attacks have emerged, including:

• Crypto ransomware: This type of ransomware encrypts the victim's files and demands payment for the decryption key.

• Locker ransomware: Rather than encrypting files, this type locks the victim out of their device, demanding a ransom to unlock it.

• Doxware (or leakware): This threat involves the attacker threatening to release sensitive data unless a ransom is paid.

• RaaS (ransomware as a service): Cybercriminals sell ransomware tools or services to other criminals, enabling them to carry out attacks even if they don't have the technical expertise.

2. Vulnerabilities in the supply chain

The "supply chain" is the network from raw material suppliers to end-users involved in making a product or service. With today's digital business connections, the supply chain covers both goods and data transfers. This interconnectedness means a single weak point can let hackers target multiple businesses.

Often, attackers target a smaller, less secure entity within the supply chain to gain access to larger companies. Types of vulnerabilities in the supply chain attacks are: 

• Third-party software compromise: Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in third-party software or applications used by businesses. The attacker can infiltrate systems once the compromised software is updated or integrated.

• Hardware tampering: Before a piece of hardware reaches its destination, attackers can intercept and alter it to include malicious components.

• Spoofing attacks: Attackers can impersonate a legitimate entity, tricking businesses into revealing sensitive information or making insecure transactions.

• Counterfeit components: Cybercriminals introduce counterfeit or substandard parts into the supply chain. These components can have built-in vulnerabilities or backdoors.

3. Social engineering and phishing

At the core of many top cybersecurity threats lies a technique that doesn't target technology directly but rather the people using the technology. Known as social engineering, this method involves manipulating individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or bank details.

One of the most prevalent forms of social engineering is phishing attacks, where attackers impersonate a trustworthy entity in an attempt to scam users into divulging confidential information or performing specific actions.

With the rise in remote work and increased digital communication, cyber attackers have found it easier to exploit the human element. They use various forms of social engineering tactics:

• Email phishing: The most common type, where an attacker sends fraudulent emails that appear to be from reputable sources to extract sensitive data.

• Spear phishing: Targeted attacks on specific individuals or companies. They're more tailored and often harder to identify.

• Vishing (voice phishing): Hackers use the phone to trick individuals into handing over sensitive information, often posing as bank representatives or other trusted entities.

• Smishing (SMS phishing): Cybercriminals send deceptive text messages to lure individuals into providing personal information.

4. IoT devices and remote work

As businesses adapt to new working environments, they quickly embrace Internet of Things (IoT) devices and shift to remote work. IoT devices, like smart thermostats and connected coffee makers, communicate online and can pose cyber threats if not secured.

As remote work grows, employees using personal devices and home networks might lack the strong cyber security safeguards typical in offices, introducing various vulnerabilities like:

• Device hijacking: Cyber attackers can gain control of poorly secured IoT devices and use them for malicious activities, like launching coordinated attacks or infiltrating networks.

• Ransomware attacks on IoT: Just like computers and servers, IoT devices can be held hostage. Hackers deploy ransomware, effectively locking out users until a ransom is paid.

• Eavesdropping: Using IoT devices as a point of entry, hackers can listen to private conversations or gather sensitive information.

• Remote work phishing: Social engineering attacks that specifically target remote workers, using relevant lures like fake software updates or VPN access links.

5. Insider threats

Surprisingly, not all top cybersecurity threats come from the outside. An insider threat occurs when someone within an organization misuses their access to compromise the company's security, intentionally or unintentionally. These threats can originate from current employees, former employees, contractors, or business associates.

The types of insider threats include:

• Malicious insider: These individuals intentionally harm the organization, often for personal gain, revenge, or other malicious reasons. They might steal data, sabotage systems, or aid external adversaries.

• Negligent insider: These individuals unintentionally become a security risk due to carelessness. They might accidentally share sensitive data, use weak passwords, or fall prey to phishing scams.

• Infiltrator: These are external threats that have managed to obtain insider access. They can pose as employees, contractors, or other staff members and typically exploit access to sensitive data for malicious ends.

top 5 cybersecurity threats

How to stay ahead of cyber threats

Cybercrime is on the rise, and threat actors constantly find innovative ways to hack and disrupt systems. A robust security system is no longer a luxury but a necessity, especially with the growing dependence on cloud security and the integration of artificial intelligence in various business processes.

To ensure that your organization remains protected against these top cybersecurity threats, here's a guide on the proactive steps you can take:

Invest in continuous education

With the ever-evolving nature of cyber threats, ensuring your team stays ahead is crucial.  By keeping abreast of the latest cybersecurity trends, best practices, and potential threats, you equip your team with the knowledge to identify and counteract cybercrime attempts.

Multi-factor authentication

This method goes beyond the traditional password, incorporating multiple credentials to verify a user's identity. Doing so offers an added shield against hacks, ensuring that threat actors have a more challenging time accessing sensitive data even if a password is compromised.

Regular security audits

Conducting consistent security audits is akin to a health check-up for your IT systems. It allows you to identify and patch potential vulnerabilities in your security system before they become a gateway for malicious actors.

Stay updated

Cyber threats mutate and evolve. Just as artificial intelligence and technology continuously advance, so do the tactics of hackers. Ensuring that software, systems, and applications are regularly updated can act as a formidable barrier against these evolving cyber threats.

Partner with experts

While having an in-house team is beneficial, sometimes the depth and breadth of expertise required to fend off sophisticated attacks are best sourced from external specialists. Partnering with managed service providers (MSPs) like CloudOrbis can elevate your cyber security posture, strengthening your protections against intricate security threats.

stay ahead of top cybersecurity threats

The road ahead

The digital realm in 2023 is a mix of vast potential and significant risks. Recent statistics indicate that cyber threats are on the rise, with 83% of organizations experiencing more than one breach in 2022. Forecasts for the coming years predict a 15% increase in cyber-attacks. 

While the threats highlighted in this guide are pivotal, they only scratch the surface. Proactive measures, continuous learning, and collaboration with experts become indispensable. In today's era, a company's data stands as one of its most prized assets.

future of cybersecurity threats

Combat cyber security threats today!

Navigating the online world isn't a walk in the park. Top cybersecurity threats are getting sneakier and smarter, but so can we. As technology grows, so does our shield against these threats. It's essential to keep an eye out, brush up on the latest defenses, and team up with expert MSPs like CloudOrbis. While the digital age comes with its hiccups, we can make it a smoother journey together with the right moves. 

Considering upgrading your cybersecurity measures? Get in touch with us and help us maneuver the cybersecurity challenges your business faces!

combat top cybersecurity threats with CloudOrbis

Frequently asked questions

1. What are the top 10 cybersecurity threats I should know in 2023?

The cyber threat landscape in 2023 has evolved, with several threats topping the list. These include ransomware, phishing emails, DDoS attacks, state-sponsored cyber warfare, and attacks on critical infrastructure. Always stay updated with the latest cybersecurity risks as they emerge.

2. How different are the cybersecurity threats in 2023 from those in 2021?

While many threats, like phishing emails and DDoS attacks, have remained persistent since 2021, the techniques and scale have evolved. Also, with the rise of connected devices, the number of items connected to the internet has increased, leading to a broader cyber risk landscape.

3. What are the recommended cyber defense strategies against these threats?

Cybersecurity professionals recommend a range of security measures to protect against the top cyber security threats. This includes, but is not limited to, regular information security audits, multi-factor authentication, and continuous employee education on the latest threats and attacks.

4. With the changing trends for 2023, how do security agencies play a role in protecting against common cybersecurity threats?

Security agencies play a crucial role in gathering intelligence, analyzing the type of cybersecurity threat, and offering guidance to public and private entities. Their expertise is invaluable, especially when dealing with advanced threats like state-sponsored cyber warfare or attacks on critical infrastructure.