Over the past few years, we have seen cyberattacks rise at an astronomical rate, causing harm to businesses, governments, and individuals alike. According to reviews of threats in 2021, threats rose across nearly every category over the past year, and headlines showed the impacts these attacks could have on the businesses they affected.
Examples of this rapid jump include ransomware attacks rising by 105 percent to 623.3 million, encrypted threats jumping by 167 percent to 10.4 million, and intrusion attacks increasing by 11 percent to 5.3 trillion. While they grew in volume, the attacks also increased in severity, taking down utility companies, financial organizations, government services, schools, and more, for hours or days.
These attacks aren’t cheap for the businesses that experience them, either. According to IBM’s annual survey, the global average data breach cost reached an all-time high in 2021, costing an average $4.35 million. This represents an increase of 13 percent over the past two years, the report said. This is a significant amount for organizations of all sizes to bear, but especially for small and medium businesses, which are less likely to be able to weather the burden of the cost.
For a managed services provider (MSP), this rise in attacks creates new urgency to its responsibility to act in the best interest of its customers, and support its technology needs. MSPs can play an important role in defending against these attacks by offering services to help customers up their defenses and better protect against the latest threats. It is also an opportunity for an MSP to tap into the full value it can provide to a customer and develop new revenue streams.
Assess vulnerabilities and threats, network security, workspace and equipment security, documentation, and more. The pack includes:
- a ready-to-print PDF file
- an Excel file to help create a customizable assessment resource
Protecting customers against today’s cyber threats starts by knowing some of the most common types and vectors of attack. While they are not the only attacks a customer might face, by defending and protecting against common vectors, an MSP can help mitigate some of the greatest risk areas facing a customer today. Here are 5 for an MSP to consider:
Phishing — Even as threats grow more sophisticated and frequent, phishing has remained one of the most common vectors of attack by nearly every metric. Phishing is an attack where a bad actor sends a fraudulent message to get an unsuspecting user to divulge private information or click on a link or file download containing malicious code to compromise the organization. According to one report, more than 80 percent of reported security incidents could be attributed to phishing. MSPs can play an important role in helping protect customers against phishing attacks by putting technology mitigations in place, such as email monitoring, strict policies about file downloads, and ongoing monitoring for signs of attack. An MSP can also help educate customer employees on how to spot potentially malicious emails and know when not to click.
Further reading Methods and Types of Phishing Attacks
Ransomware — One of the quickest-growing threat areas, with a 105 percent year-over-year increase in 2021 to 623.3 million attacks, ransomware is malware that infects victim systems and then encrypts essential data and systems, demanding a ransom fee to deliver the encryption key to decode it. In 2021, this type of attack took down many types of businesses, from small organizations to the Colonial Pipeline that controls much of the fuel to the East Coast of the United States.
MSPs can help customers combat ransomware by putting anti-malware technology solutions in place, as well as implementing continuous monitoring solutions across the environment. An MSP can also help a customer implement segmentation technology, which can limit the blast radius of an attack, as well as educate employees on what quick actions need to be taken in the unfortunate instance of a successful ransomware attack.
Further reading Combat Ransomware with MSP360
Denial of Service (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack — This attack is where data and inputs flood a company’s systems or website until it collapses under pressure. While it may not cause damage or loss of data in the same way a malware attack might, a DoS attack can cause painful disruption of business operations, something an MSP should work to help its customers prevent.
These attacks can typically stem from two locations, with a DoS attack originating from just one system and a DDoS stack coming from multiple systems, such as a bot network of many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. An MSP can help its customer prepare for this type of attack by having a DDoS game plan outlining how the organization will respond to it. Additionally, it can put in place mitigation protections for the network, including setting up a more distributed network without single traffic chokepoints, implementing anti-DDoS hardware and software, or leveraging cloud technologies with greater bandwidth capabilities.
Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) Attack — A man-in-the-middle attack is a specific type of attack where a bad actor works to sneakily collect sensitive information (think passwords, logins, banking accounts, access to other applications etc.) by quietly sitting between a user and an application. One newer use for this type of attack is gathering personal information that could allow an attacker to pose as an executive or other decision maker in the organization, such as how they talk or secret business information that only that person would know.
One of the commoner ways that a MITM attack is launched is when an attacker sets up a free malicious WiFi hotspot, which an unsuspecting user might connect to in a coffee shop or other public place. From there, the attacker can implement IP spoofing, ARP spoofing, DNS spoofing, or other methods to launch the attack. MSPs can help customers avoid this attack or other similar ones by advising customers to avoid public WiFi, leveraging encryption to protect the information, and other tactics.
Cryptojacking — With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, a new type of attack has emerged: cryptojacking. In this attack, attackers break into an organization’s network and then use malware or other methods to hijack their computing power to mine cryptocurrency. By mining the cryptocurrency using a victim’s computing power, the attackers can profit from earning new cryptocurrency without the overhead of costly infrastructure (and, of course, the victim doesn’t share in the profits). MSPs can help identify this type of attack by detecting any sudden decrease in the computing power available to customers or by monitoring systems for signs of common types of malware used in these attacks.
These are just a few examples of the many types of hundreds or even thousands of attacks targeting organizations today. As these attacks continue to rise in volume and severity, it is more important than ever for an MSP to act as a trusted advisor to customers and help them defend their organizations against bad actors who may look to steal their data or disrupt operations. In doing so, an MSP can help grow its own business and ensure it is providing true value to its customers through its technology and services.
Read our free guide to learn about:
- Common MSP vulnerabilities;
- How to prepare for a ransomware attack to keep your clients safe;
- Which actions response to a ransomware attack should involve;
- How to manage clients while handling an attack.
About the author
Kurt Abrahams is the Vice President of Marketing at MSP360 with expertise in technology marketing, cybersecurity and AI based technology.