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Capstone Works, Inc. has been serving the Cedar Park area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

New 2023 Cybercrime Trends that Austin Businesses Need to Prepare For

New 2023 Cybercrime Trends that Austin Businesses Need to Prepare For

The last few years have seen an unsettling jump in cybercrime rates, with more businesses struck by various attacks, ransomware, and data breaches. Phishing attacks against end users haven’t slowed down, either—in fact, they’ve become effective enough that even the pros can be tricked. Let’s consider some of the cybercrime trends we anticipate to see in 2023.

Cybercriminals Will Target Your Users to Get to Your Business

With the pandemic sending so many people out of the office to work, cybercriminals have seized their chance to put them in their cross-hairs. The stress and pressure of the time gave them the opportunity to take advantage of people, who were almost certainly too preoccupied with other matters to put much thought into the threats they faced—or used that stress to manipulate their targets that much more effectively.

Many attackers will also craft emails that appear to come from cloud services, like those provided by Google and Microsoft, in an effort to fool users into handing over sensitive data or downloading malware.

Furthermore, many businesses are still operating through hybrid or even fully remote operations, which has done nothing to stop these kinds of cybercriminal activities… not that phishing is rare in the office, either. Phishing is a very effective means that cybercriminals have to bypass a business’ protections, simply by manipulating that business’ employees.

Therefore, in addition to critical network security tools being implemented, you need to ensure that your team is trained to spot and deal with these threats appropriately. We can assist in this regard, with training programs designed to instill proper security practices in even the least engaged employees.

Ransomware Won’t Stop… Why Would It?

Cybercrime is essentially a business these days, which means that cybercriminals are always going to try and maximize their return on investment. Because of this, cyberattacks are always being improved upon, every cliched rich-uncle phishing attack having numerous far-more-effective attacks coming with it.

As a refresher, ransomware works by infecting a computing system and encrypting any file it can access, locking away all this data and demanding a ransom for it to be unlocked, typically in Bitcoin to the tune of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not that paying the ransom will necessarily help—not only does the criminal have little to no incentive to return access to your data, they can also do a lot more damage, too. Ransomware can not only overtake entire networks, it can spread through email, too. Plus, many cybercriminals will steal a copy of their targets’ data before it's locked away to sell or leak later on.

Many businesses haven’t taken the precautions to avoid these types of attacks, which could easily become an expensive mistake—for reasons that go beyond just the ransom itself.

The real costs come from the downtime that ransomware creates, and the public relations legwork that follows these attacks. Firstly, ransomware, by its very nature, prevents productivity. While some of your employees might be able to accomplish some things without technology, modern work processes are going to be significantly stagnated. Secondly, if any customer data is involved, you need to communicate with everyone who may have been affected (and even that could very well not save your reputation).

Globally, the first half of 2022 saw over 236 million ransomware attacks—a number that continues the rise of the past few years.

At the end of the day, preventing ransomware will require two things: active and modernized IT security, as well as user training.

Even the Cloud Isn’t Safe

It’s common for small businesses to skip the expensive in-house infrastructure in favor of leaning on cloud services, like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. Actually, most organizations utilize cloud computing to some degree, consciously or not. If your data, or an application you use, is stored online, you use the cloud.

The cloud has become more prominent in business computing since it began, and why wouldn’t it? It’s cheaper—broadly speaking—and gives your users more tools to utilize, and is frequently more secure thanks to the budgets that cloud vendors have to invest in security.

This is not to say, of course, that you can blindly trust any cloud service to be risk-free. Any business can be breached, although it is rarer in large corporations.

While to our knowledge, services like Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive haven’t faced a major data breach, it could happen. After all, with millions of daily users for each of these services, there are plenty of potential victims to target.

Plus, a flubbed or mismanaged implementation of any cloud service could very well leave a business vulnerable. Basically, without the right security and authentication measures in place, your data isn’t going to be sufficiently protected.

Complete Cybersecurity Coverage for Your Business Isn’t a Luxury, It’s a Necessity.

While cybersecurity has grown increasingly complicated, that hasn’t left it inaccessible to small businesses. We can assist Central Texas businesses to secure their operations, while also improving their processes. Find out what we can do for you by giving us a call at (512) 343-8891.

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