Lesser-Known Cybersecurity Threats to Your Small Business in 2021

Even though cybersecurity is of vital importance to small businesses, there are some lesser-known threats that tend to be overlooked. Inattention to these risks could have significant negative impact on your organization. It is important for your company to take the time to work with a trusted IT Support Partner to assess, understand, and protect against the complex array of cybersecurity threats facing your organization.

In this article, we will focus on identifying and explaining some of the lesser-known cybersecurity risks that your organization should be aware of in 2021. The danger from these risks has increased greatly since the pandemic as the percentage of employees working remotely has dramatically increased. The too frequent use of personal devices to access company networks has enhanced these threats considerably.

Lesser-Known Cybersecurity Threats to Protect Against

Zombie Accounts

Whether on company equipment or personal devices, your organization’s employees have downloaded many different apps and solutions and have inputted their personal information during the registration process. Even though many of these accounts are dormant, the associated personal information remains accessible as a potential target for hackers. Ignoring these accounts or even uninstalling the apps are not sufficient actions to overcome this threat. If any of these apps or solutions suffer a data breach, which occurs far too often, this sensitive information could be compromised. The only way to ensure the sensitive company and personal information stored in your accounts is protected is to require that employees officially shut down or cancel any online accounts they are not actively using or do not need for their position.

Social Media Accounts

Both professional and personal social media accounts are at constant risk from cyberattacks. One of the main methods cyber criminals use is to pose as legitimate businesses or customers sending official looking links to your social media accounts and hoping for one of your employees to click on them. Typical schemes involve invitations to webinars and websites and phony new product launches. One click on the link from an employee and the hackers can gain access to your company’s social media accounts and threaten your entire network.

Another typical scam involves the use of online quizzes and games that collect personal information when users sign up for them. Having this personal information can help hackers find a way around some social media account defenses as well as give them tips to access other personal and professional accounts.
In addition, your employees should beware of making their online photos public, as some social media sites do not block the location data contained in them. Cyber criminals will access any publicly available photos on professional and personal accounts and use the location data and other background information to help gain access to these accounts.

Browser Extensions

Browser extensions often pop up automatically for installation and usually offer the user the ability to have enhanced functions and features. However, it is important to vet these extensions as closely as any other new tool or software. If the user selects an unknown and unvetted browser extension, the company might sell your browsing data or automatically install untrustworthy software that is not needed. A new browser extension might also trigger an unwanted slew of pop-up ads or, even worse, allow a hacker access to your device and potentially into the company network.
In short, experts recommend limiting browser extensions to the bare minimum and using only those that come from vetted sources.

USB Sticks and Charging Cables

Although they don’t appear dangerous, those convenient thumbnail USB sticks can easily be engineered with malicious code that would compromise your organization’s network if plugged into a device. Some firm rules for your company include never using USB sticks from outside your organization and always running virus scans before using them.

This same warning applies to charging cables for remote devices. Hackers have developed knock-off charging cables that will give them remote access to a device as soon as they are plugged into it. Your organization should urge your employees to never use unknown charging cables, no matter how legitimate they might look.


Malvertising is the insidious use of normal online advertising to spread malware. Typically, it involves hackers injecting malware-laden advertisements into legitimate online advertising networks and official company websites. Users who click on advertisements, and even some who might be unlucky enough to scroll through a web page with malvertising on it, will inadvertently provide cyber criminals with access to their devices and possibly to their company networks.

This threat is particularly reprehensible in that the malware is designed to be inserted into high-profile and highly trusted company websites, which lulls users into a false sense of security when they see the ads or click on them. This deceptive technique enables hackers to get around firewalls and other network security protection as users encounter the ads on supposedly trustworthy company and official websites.

The best advice to deal with this threat is for your company to train its employees to never click on ads or any other unknown links, no matter how legitimate they appear to be. In addition, employees should be discouraged from visiting websites not necessary for their job functions.

Consult with A Reliable IT Support Partner

Because of the increased cybercriminal activity in both well-known and lesser-known areas, we encourage you to reach out to a trusted IT Support Partner, like Network Depot, for cybersecurity assistance. These experts will help ensure that your company is optimally protecting itself against all types of cybersecurity threats.

A reliable IT partner will work closely with your organization to assess your current cybersecurity efforts and determine your strengths and weaknesses in this vital area. Your IT partner will offer your small business valuable advice and will implement any necessary solutions to help protect your organization against aggressive cybercriminals both during and after the pandemic. By following the recommendations in this article, encouraging good cyber hygiene, providing proper training, and working closely with your IT partner, your organization will be successful in meeting all the cybersecurity challenges of this difficult time. With your cybersecurity issues well managed, your organization will be able to keep its focus on achieving your unique objectives.

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