Are you under the impression that cyber attackers only go after big corporations or those with hefty bank accounts? Think again.

Recent studies reveal that cyber criminals are expanding their scope, targeting businesses of all sizes, from mom-and-pop shops to multinational enterprises. And they’re employing a tactic known as “botnets” to do it.

You might be wondering, “What exactly is a botnet, and why should I be concerned?” Botnets serve as the covert weapons of cyber criminals. They consist of networks of compromised devices, all under the command of a single malicious operator. These devices can range from your computer to even your smart refrigerator. Yes, your fridge could be manipulated into a cyber weapon.

A recent report noted a significant surge in botnet activity, with over a million devices engaged in nefarious activities at one point. To put this in context, it’s a hundredfold increase compared to typical levels of botnet activity.

Normally, there are around 10,000 devices engaged in malicious activities each day, with 20,000 being the highest figure researchers had previously observed. However, in December 2023, the numbers skyrocketed. It surged to 35,144 initially, and then two weeks later, it spiked even further to 43,194. That’s a considerable number of compromised devices.

But it didn’t stop there. Researchers witnessed the largest surge yet, reaching an astonishing 143,957 distinct devices being utilized simultaneously. In fact, on the 5th and 6th of January, there were spikes of over a million devices!

So why are they doing this? These botnets are scanning the internet, seeking out vulnerabilities in websites, servers, and even email systems.

Picture the internet as a fortress with numerous entry points. These cyber criminals are on the lookout for unlocked doors and open windows to infiltrate. They particularly target specific “ports” that act as entryways.

Now, what can you do to shield yourself from these cyber threats?

It boils down to fortifying those entry points. Here are some straightforward steps:

• Keep your software, operating systems, and applications up-to-date. Regular updates often patch vulnerabilities.

• Deploy a robust firewall and dependable antivirus software to safeguard your devices.

• Educate your staff on cybersecurity best practices, such as steering clear of suspicious links and emails.

• Implement strong, unique passwords for all your accounts and devices.

• Routinely back up your data to mitigate losses in the event of a cyber attack.

• Monitor your network for any unusual activity.

• Consider enlisting the expertise of a cybersecurity professional (like us) to evaluate and enhance your security protocols.

If you’re interested in bolstering your business’s defenses, feel free to reach out.

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