Cyber threats are a growing problem for businesses of all sizes. According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 30% of businesses that experience data breaches had their systems compromised by malicious cyber attacks. This same report shows that attackers used malicious software such as ransomware, malware, and phishing campaigns to infiltrate companies and steal valuable data. Companies should take steps to protect themselves from these threats by employing strong cybersecurity measures, such as regularly updating software and using two-factor authentication for sensitive information. By taking these precautions, companies can minimize their risk of a data breach and the potential financial damage it can cause.

Types of cyber threats

Cyber threats are becoming a bigger risk for businesses as more operations move online. Criminals do not discriminate when thinking of their next target. They will be after companies in different industries and of various sizes. What they are looking for is vulnerabilities within business systems and a lack of knowledge among staff. A lot of cyber attacks rely on human error. Some of the most common cyber threats a business may face include:


Phishing attacks are cyber threats that try to steal information from businesses. They use fake emails and websites to trick people into giving away passwords, credit card numbers and other private information. These attacks usually start with an email that looks like it comes from a legitimate source, but the links in the emails take you to a malicious website instead. The attackers then use this website to collect the personal information from unsuspecting victims.

These attacks can also be spread through social media messages or even text messages on your phone. Attackers may send messages that look official or ask for money, but these are all attempts at stealing confidential data such as passwords, bank account numbers and more. To protect yourself against phishing attacks, never click on suspicious links or give out any personal information online without first verifying its authenticity. A very popular one that has cost Australians 7.2 million dollars is the ‘Hi mum’ scam. 


Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, designed to block access to your computer system until a sum of money is paid. It can be spread through malicious emails, downloads from untrustworthy websites and other infections. Once ransomware has been installed on your system, it encrypts important files and data and locks you out. The cybercriminals behind the attack will then demand payment in order for you to regain access to those encrypted files.

Unfortunately, paying the ransom does not guarantee the hacker will return access to your files; they may disappear with the money instead. According to a survey, the highest ransom a company paid was  $3.2 million. It is important to do everything you can to protect yourself from ransomware attacks in the first place. This includes only downloading apps and programs from reputable sources and keeping your operating system up-to-date with security patches. Additionally, having reliable backups of all your data ensures that even if ransomware strikes, you will not lose any irreplaceable information or documents when trying to remove them from your system.


Malware is a type of malicious software designed to disrupt or damage computers, networks and services. It can be spread through email attachments, downloads from untrustworthy websites and other sophisticated ways. Malware can range from harmless fun programs such as computer pranks to serious threats such as viruses and ransomware. Malware attacks keep increasing and in 2020, Business E-mail Compromise schemes alone accounted for $1.8 billion

Viruses are malicious software programs that replicate themselves to infect systems and spread to other computers without the user’s knowledge or permission. Viruses are major cyber threats as they can cause system crashes and data loss, as well as steal confidential information from your computer. They can also corrupt your hard drive, delete files, modify applications and even render them unusable. To protect yourself against viruses, it is essential to keep your operating system up-to-date with security patches, use antivirus software regularly, and only download apps and programs from reputable sources.

Spyware is another type of malicious software that collects information about you without your consent or knowledge. It can track browsing habits, search terms and website visits; capture keystrokes; record emails sent; collect usernames/passwords; monitor messaging apps; take screenshots of the device; install additional malware; etc. To avoid being infected by spyware, make sure you only use trusted websites for any online activities and use secure browsing methods whenever possible. Additionally, keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your device – if you notice something unusual like new applications installed or changes in settings that were not made by you – scan the device immediately with an antivirus software solution.

cyber threats

How can cyber threats impact your business?

Cyber threats force companies to come up with solutions to fight them. These solutions require resources but the risk can only be minimised not eliminated. This means organisations are affected by:

  • High costs
  • Reputational damage
  • Operational disruptions
  • Slow growth and expansion

High costs

Cyber threats can have a significant impact on businesses, with costs that are felt both in the short term and the long term.

Costs could include damage to a business’s customer loyalty and the loss of customer trust. With data breaches becoming increasingly common, customers are becoming more aware of the risks associated with using businesses that have experienced a data breach. This can result in a loss of business, as customers may choose to take their business elsewhere. A company’s stock may also fall as this is a common consequence of a cyber attack.

Businesses may also face costs associated with implementing security measures to prevent cyber threats or restore broken or compromised systems. This includes the cost of hardware and software, as well as the cost of hiring and training IT professionals to manage and maintain these systems. Organisations need to allocate resources to activities such as a risk management plan and continuous review of the current risk environment which requires even more staff to be hired.

In addition to these costs, businesses also face potential legal liabilities in the event of a data breach. This includes the cost of hiring lawyers and paying settlements and fines. If any stolen data contains customers’ personal information such as credit card numbers or addresses, then fines imposed by regulatory bodies must also be taken into account in terms of financial losses.

Reputational damage

Cyber threats can have devastating effects on a business’s reputation and sales. In most cases, when a company is the victim of such an attack, the public may perceive the company as negligent in terms of cyber security and fail to trust them with their own sensitive data. This negative perception can spread quickly through social media, causing consumers to turn away from the company and opt for competitors with better protection measures in place. Customers may feel betrayed if a company they are loyal to has allowed criminals to take their personal information. Even though it is a one-time breach, their data is compromised for a long period of time.

If an organisation’s reputation is damaged, it can take a while before customers feel comfortable with working with the company. Sometimes months, years and sometimes their customers never return. Depending on how much the customers were impacted by the cyber attack, a company’s reputation may be ruined by word of mouth and negative media even when it has developed stronger strategies. This is why it is so crucial to prevent cybercrime or at the very least, minimise its effect.

Operational disruptions

As well as damaging reputation, cyber attacks can also lead to lost revenue due to interrupted operations. If confidential information is taken or systems are damaged, it could take days or weeks to repair the damage while customers look elsewhere for services. The longer this repair period lasts, the more money a business stands to lose in terms of salaries, customer satisfaction, new orders and more.

For instance, a ransomware attack can encrypt the data on a business’s computers and hold it hostage until the ransom is paid, leading to a significant data loss if the data cannot be recovered. Alternatively, a DoS attack can flood a business’s servers with an overwhelming number of requests, resulting in a sudden spike in traffic that renders the website inaccessible to customers or employees.

Moreover, cyber attacks can also compromise a company’s supply chain by disrupting the delivery of critical components or materials, ultimately impacting the production and ability to carry out operations. Additionally, a successful cyber attack can lead to reputational damage, loss of customer trust, and fines or litigation that can impact a company’s financial health.

Slower growth and expansion

Cyber attacks can cause significant setbacks for businesses by draining their resources and hindering their growth and expansion plans. When companies fall victim to cyber-attacks, they must allocate their resources towards recovering from the damages and earning back the trust of their customers. This often means diverting resources away from growth and expansion initiatives, which can cause these projects to slow down or even come to a halt.

Implementing enhanced protection measures to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future can also be a costly and time-consuming process. Companies may need to invest in more advanced cybersecurity tools, update their existing systems and provide training for their employees to prevent future attacks. And while these measures are essential for protecting against future threats, they can also impact a company’s ability to allocate resources towards growth and expansion.

Moreover, cyber attacks can cause reputational damage that can take a long time to recover from. The loss of customer trust can lead to a decline in sales and a loss of business opportunities. This loss of revenue can have a significant impact on a company’s ability to invest in new projects and expand into new markets.

All of these show how strong the impact of cyberattacks can be on companies. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages but one way or another, cyber threats are expensive.

Wrapping up

Companies need to be careful and protect themselves from cyber threats. There are lots of costs associated with protecting your business from cyber threats like having antivirus software, keeping your operating system up-to-date, making sure you have backups of all your data in case of an attack, avoiding suspicious websites and more. Making sure you have a strategy in place to prevent further attacks can help keep these costs down in the long run by reducing the chances that your business will be targeted by cybercriminals.

When our customers need to conduct an investigation into cyber attacks, they choose Polonious. This is because we offer them a secure place to store sensitive data as we are ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 certified. We prioritise confidentiality, data safety and we focus on delivering the highest quality system possible. Our clients can receive automated updates, streamline their workflows and benefit from up to 25% reduced administrative effort. Get to know more about our system! Request a demo and we can show you how you can have a smoother and more successful investigation.