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Small Business, Big Threat: The Rising Tide of Cyberattacks

Your business’s computers have been unusually sluggish for weeks. Then, out of nowhere, you receive a dubious email, threatening to disclose your clients’ information unless you comply with an unreasonable demand for payment. You’ve just fallen victim to a cyberattack.

Africa, particularly South Africa, experienced a significant 107% spike in cyber extortion (ransomware) assaults between 2023 and 2024, making it the second-highest globally for the biggest percentage increase in such incidents. This surge heightens the risk for all South African businesses, including small businesses in the financial, insurance, education, and professional services sectors.

“Most small businesses are the perfect target for ransomware hackers,” said Corey White, CEO of security firm Cyvatar. So maybe it’s time to cut the “it won’t happen to me” attitude and start protecting your company.

Shockingly, 51% of small businesses don’t have cybersecurity measures in place- Digital.com

The Severity of a Cyberattack

Cyberattacks pose a significant threat to small businesses, often resulting in identity theft or the loss of critical company data, both with devastating effects. In worst-case scenarios, this might lead to the catastrophic exposure of consumers’ sensitive information. Ransomware is a major concern, involving the hacking of computer systems, encrypting sensitive data, and crippling business operations until a hefty ransom is paid.

Another big risk factor is social media. Allowing employees to access platforms such as Facebook or check personal emails on corporate computers may appear harmless, but it exposes the business to potential hackers or malicious emails that can release viruses into your system.

Even if a business manages to weather a cyberattack, the consequences can last for years, leading to unexpected long-term costs such as the depletion of monetary reserves due to ransom payments, loss of critical company and consumer data, disruption of regular business operations, revenue decline from downtime, expenses related to notifying customers and shareholders, legal obligations and attorney fees, enduring brand damage that’s challenging to rectify and reduced productivity across the entire company.

However, there are some discernible indicators that could alert you about potential intrusions. 

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How to Identify a Hack

Your Email is Abnormal

Are you locked out of your email? A hacker might have changed your password. Perhaps your contacts have reported strange emails from you, or you see opened messages you don’t remember. These are tell-tale signs your email account has been hacked, potentially due to phishing, social engineering, a password hack, or a forceful cyberattack. Change your password, log out of all devices, assess the accessed information, and contact affected parties.

Your System is Compromised

Notice a sudden drop in computer speed, more pop-ups than usual, or random shutdowns? Your security software might have been disabled. These are signs your system could be compromised.

Protecting Your Business

Investing in high-quality security measures is crucial. Cutting corners on security can result in unpatched software and exposed vulnerabilities, leaving your business at risk. To stay out of the danger zone, you need robust processes in place. Evaluate the technology your business relies on and develop a risk management plan to combat potential cyberattacks.

We understand the ever-evolving cyber threats and are committed to helping businesses protect their digital assets. Our tailored solutions are designed to shield your business from the escalating menace of cyber extortion and attacks.

Get in touch with us now to explore how we can assist you in fortifying your cybersecurity defenses and guaranteeing the resilience of your business against cyber threats.

Tel: +27 10 500 6867 / E: support@pro-space.co.za