Why Cyberthreats Remain a Part of Daily Business Life

Despite tireless work by IT security teams and large budgets directed to protective tools and services, the threat of damaging cyberattacks remains concerningly high for businesses of all sizes.
While significant progress has been made to combat this issue, the ability of cybercriminals to adapt and make use of new tactics makes staying safe a challenge. When issues such as the rise in remote working and use of cloud platforms is added, the threat landscape becomes even more complex.
According to a recent study by US-based Cybersecurity Ventures[1], an attack took place every 39 seconds in 2023. That translates into more than 2,200 cases each day.
This compares with a similar study in 2022 that found an incident occurred every 44 seconds. This rising attack rate is concerning for IT security teams, who are facing increasingly sophisticated threats designed to circumvent cybersecurity protocols.
For this reason, it is important for organisations to be aware of the types of cyberattacks currently taking place so that they can adapt their strategies to deal with these threats more effectively.
There are currently three attack modes that sit at the top of priority lists for security teams. They are:
  • Malware attacks:
    These attacks involve cybercriminals using malicious software to invade, damage, or disable computers, computer systems, networks, and devices. As a result, they are often able to take control of a target’s IT infrastructure.
    Within the malware group, there are different attack types that compromise the security and internal systems of companies. It was one of the biggest threats in 2023 and this is expected to remain the case throughout 2024.
  • Ransomware attacks:
    Ransomware attacks use a form of malicious software that encrypts files or blocks access to a system or device. Ransomware usually affects all types of organisations, regardless of size, but particularly those that use and store critical information.
    Once the malicious software is installed, cybercriminals then demand a ransom from their victims in exchange for unlocking access to the system. According to a recent WatchGuard report[2], ransomware attacks were the top threat in 2023, and showed a 95% year-on-year increase in terms of frequency.
  • Phishing attacks:
    These are the widest-known form of attack as they affect the end user and tend to impact everyday online activities. Despite increasing awareness of this threat, new modalities have emerged in recent months that continue to make phishing one of the most common problems.
    Thanks to recent technologies and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), cybercriminals have managed to perfect their techniques by simulating the voices of acquaintances through vishing or launching smishing attacks carried out through SMS or services such as WhatsApp.
The risks for SMBs
Given this persistent threat landscape, it is crucial for businesses of all sizes to be aware of the dangers of these increasingly common attacks, as well as their evolution and development.
Small and mid-sized businesses are certainly not immune to cyberattacks. Indeed, many cybercriminals actively target smaller-size organisations because they often operate with smaller cybersecurity budgets and have less protective infrastructure.
The situation was highlighted in a report[3] by the Identity Theft Resource Centre (ITRC) that reveals 73% of small businesses state they have encountered cybersecurity problems during the past year. Given this threat landscape, small and midsize companies need to protect their systems efficiently by using a sophisticated cybersecurity service personalised to meet their needs.
Some key ways SMBs can strengthen their security posture include:
·       Engage a professional partner:
Smaller-sized businesses do not always have a specialised internal cybersecurity team, so many find benefit in using the services of a managed service provider (MSP). An MSP will carry out effective monitoring and provide a personalised assessment to help a business protect against potential cybersecurity breaches.
·       Conduct regular staff training:
Many cyberattacks are caused by employee errors or malpractice when using cybersecurity systems. Developing regular training boosts employee cybersecurity awareness and equips them with the tools they need to help protect internal systems.
·       Consider taking out cyber insurance:
While protecting against threats is a must, having support that protects the company in the event of a cyberattack is also very useful. Cyber insurance can mitigate any damage caused by a cyberattack significantly, so it is worth considering putting a policy in place.
·       Keep software updated: 
While it might sound obvious, ensuring all updates to software are applied can make a big difference. Outdated software can create gaps in a company’s cybersecurity that lead to a security incident.
·       Prioritise a unified cybersecurity system:
A comprehensive cybersecurity system is one of the most effective ways a business can shield itself against security breaches. Organisations interested in applying a system that protects each of the different security layers will require a solution that covers any potential gaps.
The challenges posed by cybercriminals are only going to increase in the months and years ahead. By taking protective and pre-emptive steps now, businesses can be best placed to withstand potential attacks if and when they take place.
Anthony Daniel, Regional Director – Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, WatchGuard Technologies


[1] https://securityboulevard.com/2023/11/how-many-cyber-attacks-happen-per-day-in-2023/
[2] https://watchguard.widen.net/view/pdf/w4vqh1j2pl/eBook_Endpoint_Ransomware.pdf?t.download=true&u=sume5b
[3] https://www.idtheftcenter.org/publication/itrc-2023-business-impact-report/
Anthony Daniel
Anthony Daniel is Regional Director – Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands at WatchGuard Technologies. He has more than 15 years’ sales and senior account experience in the IT and telecommunications industry and is responsible for leading WatchGuard Technologies’ regional sales growth and business expansion while overseeing all aspects of management, including channel partner development, distribution strategy and revenue growth. He was previously Senior Regional Sales Manager for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands at SolarWinds and has also worked in senior sales management positions at Oracle, Vocus and Vodafone.