Contrary to popular belief, not all cyber attacks target large businesses. In fact, a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that over half of all cyber attacks involve small businesses. As a small business owner, it’s your responsibility to safeguard your computers and network from cyber attacks. While you’re probably familiar with viruses and malware, however, you may overlook backdoor cyber attacks. So, what is a backdoor cyber attack exactly, and how does it work?

Overview of Backdoor Cyber Attacks

A backdoor cyber attack is any type of cyber attack — the deployment of malware, keyloggers, viruses, phishing, etc. — that involves bypassing a computer’s or network’s conventional authentication system without being detected.

A computer, for example, usually requires a username and password. During a backdoor cyber attack, a hacker will bypass the login portal, thus gaining access to the computer’s files without proper authentication.

How Backdoor Cyber Attacks Work

The way in which a backdoor cyber attack works varies depending on the specific type of attack. Some backdoor cyber attacks involve exploiting a vulnerability in a computer or network. If a computer is running an outdated operating system, for example, a hacker could potentially bypass the computer’s authentication system to gain administrator access.

Some backdoor cyber attacks work in conjunction with malware. In other words, hackers can create a backdoor on a computer or network using malware. Worms like Sobig and Mydoom, for instance, have been used to create a backdoor on PCs.

Even using the default username and password to access a computer or network is considered a backdoor cyber attack. Like the other examples previously mentioned, it bypasses the conventional authentication system.

Keeping the Backdoor Closed: What You Should Know

Now that you know how backdoor cyber attacks work, you might be wondering what steps you can take to better protect your small business’s computers and network from them. First and foremost, you should keep your software updated to the latest version. Whether it’s an operating system or any other software, running an outdated version could result in a backdoor vulnerability.

Deploying an intrusion detection system can also lower your small business’s risk of suffering a backdoor cyber attack. As you may know, intrusion detection systems are designed to monitor computers or networks for signs of malicious or suspicious activity. If a hacker attempts to sneak his or her way into your small business’s network through a backdoor, the intrusion detection system will notify you.