Under Siege: SMB Cyber Attacks and the Threat Landscape

Many business professionals operate under the illusion that cyber attacks mostly impact large, high-profile companies and organizations. In reality, small-to-medium-size businesses (SMBs) are the most vulnerable and furnish a target-rich environment for cybercriminals, disruptors, and other cyber-aggressors.

SMBs are attractive targets because the commercial cyberweaponry deployed by large businesses are out of reach from a cost perspective, but SMBs are too valuable for cyber-criminals to ignore. Many SMBs believe their smaller size is a deterrent against cyber-attacks, making for an especially risky strategy. SMB growth is typically accompanied by technological expansion, enlarging the attack surface that hackers can potentially exploit. Also, the supply chain, primarily occupied by SMBs, provides a friction-free conduit for transgressor access into the systems of larger enterprises and other SMB.


Of course, no business chooses to expose itself to unnecessary risk. For many SMBs, the threat of cyber attacks creeps up on them over time, as their IT environments get more sophisticated and older, producing the flaws that cyber-attackers discover and subsequently exploit.

Some SMBs misunderstand the threats they face. They often underestimate the level of sophistication of threat actors and overestimate their own ability to thwart them. They put too much trust in relatively limited, off-the-shelf software solutions that offer one type of protection, leaving users vulnerable to other dangers. Compounding the challenge of misunderstanding the threat is misunderstanding the intent.


Six common threat vectors for cyber attacks targeting SMBs are:

  • Email – Phishing attacks (masquerading as trusted entities) and malicious attachments are a primary tactic used to damage businesses.
  • Networks – Bad-intentioned players continuously probe perimeter and internal networks searching for asset vulnerabilities.
  • Users – Social engineering and social networking are the tools of choice for many attackers to gather information and trick users into opening a door for an attack.
  • Web Applications – SQL Injection and Cross-Site Scripting are just two of the many web-based threats that enable attackers to compromise otherwise legitimate web pages.
  • Remote Access – Corporate devices using weak authentication and insufficient access controls can be compromised and exploited to access corporate networks and assets.
  • Mobile – The surge in BYOD work environments enable smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to be used as devices to pass malware and other attacks onto the corporate network.

Defending your business against cyber attacks

A recent insurance industry study revealed that 25 percent of SMB owners and managers believe a cyber-attack is a matter of when, not if, and another 25 percent stated they plan to do more to prevent cyber-attacks. If this sounds like the position you find yourself in, then it’s critical that your organization does these things:

  • Understand the potential cyber threats you face. It’s essential to be able to recognize and understand the dangers, and the nature and intent of the source of attacks. Cyber intelligence, both internal and external, plays a crucial role in this and is vital for mounting a robust defense.
  • Be prepared to respond and contain in real time. When an attack is detected, you must be able to evaluate and respond immediately. Developing this posture ensures that, if a strike resulted in a compromise, you are able to contain it, minimize damage and reduce the dwell time of the aggressor.
  • Have the proper cyber weapons at the ready. Determine if you have the appropriate digital armaments at your disposal to defend your IT ecosystem against attacks. Make sure they function correctly, and you have a stock of professionals trained to use them effectively.

Are you interested in how GuardSight can help you combat cyber-threats? Are you interested in how GuardSight can help improve your cybersecurity posture to protect your businesses and data from exposure and intrusion? Contact us for a free consultation.


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