Common Types of Cyber Attacks That Target Small Businesses

Cyberattacks are a major problem for every small business as they are more vulnerable to being affected by them. They cause disruption and prevent the smooth functioning of a small business. As per the statistics for 2021, approximately 46 percent of the small companies that became a victim of security breaches could not recover from the loss.

As the internet is the main carrier of malware like worms, trojans, spyware, and ransomware, you may never come to know when a cyberattack might take place. This is the main reason why your small business fails to protect itself from a cyberattack. SMBs are easy targets, and they cannot sustain themselves for a long time after an attack. After a cyberattack, more than 65 percent of the small business decide to close permanently as they are unable to defend themselves from a cyberattack.

  • As per a recent survey, 48% of small businesses with a strength of nearly 50 people have no budget to avail cybersecurity services. 
  • A new study revealed that only 18 percent of small businesses with an employee strength of 250 – 300 people have a limited budget dedicated to avail cybersecurity resources.
  • A report by IBM states that the cost of a data breach has increased to 13% from 2020-2022. Since the small companies function on a limited budget, they succumb to cyberattacks.

Common types of cyberattacks that affect SMBs

There are countless cyberattacks that attack various companies worldwide. With malicious code, hackers enter a company’s system to gain access to the personal or sensitive data of a company. 

Knowing the ways through which a company can be attacked is necessary. Educating the employees of the company about the best cybersecurity measures can be helpful. Having a good knowledge of the common breaches helps to understand the evolving nature of cybercrimes. Some of the common cyber attacks are:

APT or Advanced persistent threat

In this type of attack, the hacker tries to attack a network through multiple phases. They attack using a complex process to avoid getting detected. After reaching the target network, they make a strong foundation on the system and exit through secured routes before detection takes place.

Social engineering scams

It is a very common type of cyberattack that makes a deliberate assault on a computer system or series of networks with the aim of deceit. These scams are phishing, spear phishing, baiting, spoofing websites, and smishing.


Ransomware cyber-attacks are on the rise, and it is important to protect a system from getting infected by this rapidly growing trend. In this type of cyberattack, a system gets infected with malware and hackers demand money in exchange for granting you the access. This type of malware is dangerous as it demands money, and this leaves companies that work on a limited capital unable to rise again.

Denial of Service (DoS)

A DDoS cyberattack occurs when a network server gets overloaded with continuous requests. It results in a system failure when the service requests become unresponsive and authorized members cannot access them. 

SQL Injections and other web applications attacks

In this type of cyberattack, the hackers intentionally inject “malicious code” into the Structured Query Language. With the SQL injections, the hackers display all important and private information and manipulate it for their benefit. In doing so, every service that uses SQL loses its control to the attackers.

Using botnets

Bots attack the network system to steal a company’s confidential data and spread spam or virus in the computer system.

Man-in-the-middle attack

In this type of attack, the hacker acts as a middleman during a transaction between two parties. The hacker takes advantage of the situation, delivers malware to interrupt the transaction process, and takes the important data. These attacks occur when the buyer or seller uses Wi-Fi from an unsecured network where the hacker has injected malware.

Cyberattack with stolen passwords

A hacker attempts to steal or break-in passwords in many ways. The three common ways used by a hacker are as follows:

  • Making wild password guesses through bots.
  • Running a program that tries various password combinations.
  • Involving a program that keeps track of different keystrokes to find passwords.

In-house Attack

Sometimes, companies fail to restrict access from an employee even after termination or resignation. These ex-employees might secretly release the company’s important data via emails or personal messages or even sell the data to competitors or hackers. Misusing credentials to steal important data is purposely done by an employee of an organization and can be a major threat to a company. 

There is also the business email compromise attack which causes major damage. The fastest growing BEC attack is a scam in which cyber criminals threaten company executives or business owners to manipulate employees to transfer money or other confidential data of the company. 

Malware attack

Malicious software is used to spread virus or spam the computer system. These viruses have a negative impact on the entire IT network. If your system runs very slow and gives an unusual response, you should immediately instruct your IT team to look for viruses or a possibility of an upcoming malware attack. The different types of malware are trojans, ransomware, spyware, virus and worms.

Zero-day attack

These viruses are most dangerous as they are not easily detectable. They attack the software by exploiting it and can hold a strong place in the computer system. If they are left unchecked or undetected, they can survive in the systems for a long time.  

Securing the network – Adopting cybersecurity practices

As the use of the internet increases, it becomes essential to utilize cybersecurity measures. Small businesses must make necessary provisions by installing at least basic cybersecurity software to defend against malware systems. According to Cybersecurity Ventures 2022, the worldwide expenditure on cybersecurity software is expected to increase to $1.75 trillion in the next five years.

Business owners can also use Antivirus software to safeguard the network system from getting infected and boost their IT resilience. Many computers have an in-built firewall program that works by default to prevent a cyberattack.


Before you begin to run antivirus software, you must implement a risk assessment plan and budget to invest in cybersecurity measures. You must implement different cybersecurity measures like employee training, protecting data, updating software, encrypting data regularly, and enforcing data security policies to protect the brand, loyalty, and reputation of a company.


Dee is a well-respected business journalist with a deep understanding of global financial markets and a talent for uncovering the stories behind the numbers. With over 20 years of experience covering the business beat, Dee is known for his in-depth reporting and analysis of industry trends, as well as his ability to make complex financial concepts understandable to a wide audience.