Cyber security for small businesses: Common cyber threats and how to beat them

Cyber security for small businesses: Common cyber threats and how to beat them
Avast Business
Avast Business
Keeping businesses cyber secure

Posted: Tue 27th Jul 2021

There are many types of cyber threats – malware, phishing, denial of service (DoS), and SQL injection, to name a few. Below, we look at some of the most common and high-profile threats you might encounter.

Malware and viruses

If you're wondering whether malware and viruses are the same thing, the answer is a firm ‘no’.

The malware category includes viruses, spyware, adware, ransomware, and other types of harmful software. Knowing the differences between viruses and other types of malware is helpful when it comes to prevention as well as removal.

A computer virus is designed to copy itself and spread to other devices as widely as possible, just as a biological virus infects its host, self-replicates, and spreads to new hosts.

Computer viruses proliferate by infecting applications and email, and they can be transmitted by removable storage, infected websites, email attachments, and even networking routers.

Prevent malware and viruses with network security

Network security safeguards your internal computer networks and includes the protection of both hardware and software. It prevents threats like intruders or malware from entering your network and spreading.

Network security tools include:

  • antivirus and anti-malware software

  • firewalls

  • virtual private networks (VPNs)

SQL injection

SQL injection is a common web hacking technique where cyber criminals insert malicious code into a website with the intention of accessing and manipulating private information stored in the website’s database.

The target might include users’ login credentials that allow the hacker to impersonate the user or sell the information. Preventing an SQL injection attack requires advanced knowledge of website development.

Prevent an SQL injection with application security

Application security aims to increase the security of your apps by removing vulnerabilities and enhancing security features. Although most of this will be done at the development stage, updates and patches will be released after an app has been launched.

Common threats to applications include unauthorised access to sensitive information and modification – an SQL injection attack being one example. To make sure your applications are secure, consider using a patch management tool to regularly check for new patches and updates and install them as soon as possible.

Denial of service (DoS)

The aim of a denial of service or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is to cause a website, machine or network to crash, making it unavailable to its intended users.

Malicious actors achieve this by flooding the target with requests until it becomes overwhelmed and is unable to serve additional users, resulting in a denial of service.

Prevent a denial of service attack with endpoint security

Endpoint security protects all devices connected to your network, such as desktops, laptops, servers and mobile phones. They will be protected against cyber threats like unauthorised access, data breaches, malware and ransomware.

Common endpoint protection solutions include antivirus software, VPNs, and anti-phishing email scanners.

Man-in-the-middle attacks

A man-in-the-middle attack takes place when two parties are trying to communicate, and a third party – the ‘man in the middle’ – intercepts the communication of either party with the intention of stealing data or impersonating them. The victim remains unaware that this is taking place.

For example, cyber criminals may create a fake e-commerce website then persuade a user to log in by sending an email pretending to be the legitimate owner of the store. Once the user logs in to the nefarious website, they have unintentionally handed over their credentials to the cyber criminal.

Prevent man-in-the-middle attacks with data security

Data security refers to the policies, processes and technologies you have in place to prevent data from being modified, destroyed or disclosed, whether accidentally or maliciously.

Examples of data protection practices include:

  • using strong passwords to avoid unauthorised access

  • running regular system back-ups to aid recovery

  • using encryption to prevent data from being easily read


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About Avast Business

Avast Business provides simple yet powerful security solutions for SMBs and IT service providers. Backed by one of the largest, most globally dispersed threat detection networks, the Avast Business security portfolio makes it easy and affordable to secure, manage, and monitor business devices.

The result is superior protection that businesses can count on. For more information about our managed services and cybersecurity solutions, visit


Relevant resources

How small businesses can improve their cyber security

How to secure your online business

A cyber security checklist for small businesses

Avast Business
Avast Business
Keeping businesses cyber secure

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