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Cyber Security Threats in the Cannabis Industry

by Mic Johnson

Cyber threats are always haunting the cannabis industry. Now and then new cannabis businesses are being opened up and cybercriminals are always on the prowl looking for more ways to attack these businesses. To protect your business and deliver the best quality in your cannabis service, you should be aware of cybersecurity issues including cloud cybersecurity.

Some of the major things that cybercriminals are after when they attack a cannabis business include consumer exploitation, patient data, and vulnerability. You should know that cyber-attacks can be catastrophic both to you as the business owner and your customers.

Various laws have been put in place to protect patient data and also maintain the privacy of the consumers. Businesses that fail to implement the proper security measures can face big fines. It is also worth noting that if your cannabis business is vulnerable to attacks; your customers will lose trust in you very quickly.

Impact of Cyber Attacks on Cannabis Businesses

Cyber-attacks often lead to devastating financial losses in any business. An attack on a small cannabis business can completely ruin the business. Studies show that in the United States, 6 out of 10 small cannabis companies that have been attacked were out of business within six months.

Cyber Threats in the Cannabis Industry

Cyber threats can affect how your business will grow especially if you are a small-scale retailer. Here are some of the common cyber threats that you should know about.

Phishing

This is one of the oldest tricks used by cybercriminals. In this type of attack, the perpetrator impersonates an individual or an entity and sends a fake email. The intention is to convince the person receiving the email to share confidential information or download malicious content. It is worth pointing out that at least 80% of data breaches are accomplished through phishing.

To prevent phishing, it is advisable to stop downloading or even opening emails from people or entities you are not familiar with. You should also never share any confidential information with people who you do not know.

It is also troubling to know that attackers are getting smarter each day and they even use HTTPS encryption or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure to make their emails look genuine and trustworthy. Other ways criminals are perfecting phishing include using geographically accessible phishing and mobile phishing.

Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are one of the most recent and sophisticated cyber threats in modern times. The logic behind this type of cyber threat is simple; the attacker gains access to the computers running the cannabis business and locks and encrypts the data.

The data can range from financial data to consumer information. Once the attack is achieved, the attacker demands ransom and once you pay the ransom, the attacker gives you a security key so that you can access the locked data once again. However, the worst part is that you have no guarantee that the attacker will give you access to the data once you have paid the ransom.

The FBI estimate that at least 4000 ransomware attacks happen every day and they cause a loss of at least $1 billion every year. Most common ransomware attacks that threaten cannabis businesses include RaaS or Ransom as a Service, Doxware, Scareware, Lockers, and Crypto Malware among others.

Password Management

Having a strong password is key in keeping cybercriminals at bay. Recent studies show that weak passwords cause at least 80% of cyber-attacks. You should create strong passwords because a password is sometimes the only thing that stands between you and a cybercrime.

It is advisable to use passwords that have at least 12 characters. You should also include capital letters, numbers, and special characters in your password. You should also change your password once in a while to prevent the chances of someone learning the password. Also, make sure that you avoid using your names, date of birth, or social security number as your password.

Cyber Extortion

Cyber extortion and ransomware might seem to be the same thing but they are not. In cyber extortion, criminals hack into your computer and steal your data. Then the criminal threatens to release the data to the internet if you fail to pay. Also in most cases, cyber extortionists usually demand to be paid in virtual currency so that they can keep their identity anonymous.

In cyber extortion, the data targeted usually include customers’ personal information. It is a worrying case because, in the cannabis industry, you may find that there are many high-profile clients such as business executives, entertainers, athletes, and politicians who may not want the public to know they use cannabis even if it is legal.

Final Thoughts

To protect your business against such attacks you should secure your computers and devices with strong passwords. You can also use strong security software to safeguard your business against cyber threats. It is also important to avoid using public wi-fi.

 

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