Businesses of all sizes increasingly understand the risks associated with performing a broad swath of business functions online and in the cloud.
The onslaught of cyberattacks has become so relentless over the past decade that individual, massive events fly relatively under the radar for just about anyone not working directly in the technology or technology journalism industries.
That said, however, just about everyone—even people who do not regularly use technology for any type of professional purpose—understands that data breaches are a real threat to everyone.
7 out of 10 organizations say their security risk increased significantly in 2017.
There has been no slow-down in 2018 since 54% of companies report having experienced one or more successful cyber attacks that compromised data and/or IT infrastructure, according to Barkly.
In terms of financial effects of increased cybercrime risks, businesses lost around $1.4 billion due to different types of cybersecurity attacks, per the 2017 Internet Crime Report.
With numbers like those, everyone doing business online—to any degree—needs more information about rampant and varied cybersecurity risks.
Whether you’ve just launched your startup and are still somewhat in the dark about the cybersecurity threats you face, or you manage a seasoned and tech savvy company, you could probably use some insights into the never-ending onslaught of cyberthreats lurking in the shadows and everywhere else.
Do You Wonder Why Cybercrime Is on the Rise?
Many people wonder why cybercrime is increasing so rapidly and with so much variation. The simplest answer may be the truest, which comes down to opportunity with less risk.
Today’s criminals don’t necessarily have to break your door’s lock or windows to invade your business operations to steal desktop computers and other goods to sell for quick cash.
Modern criminals can now infiltrate your business in a far more insidious way—and a way that feature far less immediate risk—stealing valuable customer, financial and intellectual data through an online or cloud-based portal. Here, though, the payoff could be much bigger and far more detrimental to your business and your customers.
Following are just four ways that cybercriminals can benefit from stolen data, containing only a name and address:
- Fraudulently apply for loans and credit cards
- Transfer money illegally
- File fraudulent tax returns
- Blackmail and extortion
With easier access to valuable data and myriad ways to abuse that data, it is no surprise that hackers will not fade away anytime soon.
With Each New System of Defense, Malicious Hackers Switch Up to Keep Up
One of the many problems with malicious hackers—amid a long list of problems, of course—is that they do not give up. It is a “never say die” world in which they live, work, sleep and breathe, it seems.
If malicious hackers perceive any vulnerability in your system, as they roam the web searching for unprepared prey, they will try every possible trick in their existing collection to gain access to your system and its files.
That just means that you and all business owners must commit to staying just as vigilant as hackers remain tirelessly and certainly maliciously innovative.
Learn More About Cybersecurity Attacks You Could Face In Order to Thwart Malicious Hackers
A good strategy to fighting your enemy is getting to know his or her work and methods of attack better.
Let’s take a look at the top four cybersecurity attacks, the effects that they have on organizations and what you can do to prevent each type of attack, keeping your data and system secure.
1. Malware Attacks
Nearly everyone has probably experienced malware, to some degree, since it is one of the most common types of cybercrime. You will know that you have wandered into malware territory if you see an antivirus alert pop up on your computer screen, usually just after you have clicked a malicious email attachment or visited a questionable website.
This type of hack is popular among attackers because it gives them a foothold into a user’s computer or worse, a company’s system.
The term “malware” covers a range of attacks that include viruses, harmful software and ransomware.
A few ways to protect your organization’s system from malware attacks is to instruct staff, management and executives to avoid downloading or clicking on any links from unknown sources. You may also technically reinforce your system with a deployment of robust and fully updated firewalls, which will prevent the transfer of large data files over your network. This move can help weed out attachments containing malware.
2. Phishing and Other Social Engineering Attacks
Phishing is the cornerstone of social engineering attacks. This type of attack has been around for a long time, and there is little chance of it disappearing from the hacking landscape. Like other social engineering attacks, phishing relies on tapping into and betraying an email recipient’s sense of trust and confidence in their colleagues, industry peers, and friends and family.
A phishing expedition usually comes in the form of a request for data from what seems like a trusted third party. Sent via email, phishing attacks request that users click on a link and enter personal or organizational information.
Known as a type of social engineering, phishing attacks prey on a trust-based relationship where the recipient sees a familiar name and instantly clicks. While phishing emails technically fall into the category of spam, they are far more deceptive and, without proper attention, can be very problematic.
As IT leaders have increasingly come to understand this aspect of phishing, and have trained employees accordingly, hackers have stepped up their game with the following:
Spear-phishing features a more customized and targeted attack than phishing. The email recipient information like their name, job title, office address, or some other detailed piece of personal information. Such tricks make these emails legitimate.
Continuing with the predatory seafaring metaphor, whaling focuses on targeting C-level employees, specifically. The goal is to attack the most senior-level staff members due to their authority and degree of access.
Each social engineering attack not only potentially compromises your organization’s data, but it also chips at away at a sense of confidence and trust for staff.
Make sure to provide thorough training for all employees to help them identify social engineering attacks. Let them know that a healthy suspicion is necessary to protect their own information, as well as data belonging to your organization.
3. Password Attacks
A password attack involves a third party seeking to gain access to your organization’s system by tapping into a user’s password. Hackers often use a special software that helps them crack passwords, but it is usually their own creation and run on their own system.
The best way to fend off password attacks is by encouraging your team to create strong passwords that use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Additionally, the password should contain at least eight characters, but in this case, more is better.
4. Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks
A DoS attack’s primary goal is to disrupt the service to a network. With a DoS attack, hackers send high volumes of traffic or data across a network until the network can no longer function due the effect of overloading.
The most common means of using a DoS attack is via a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which involves using multiple computers to send the heavy volume of traffic or data meant to overload the system. In many cases, the victim does not realize that his or her computer is under attack and contributing to the DDoS attack.
A DoS attack is one of the more serious types of hacking events, and it can have serious consequences for the hacker since it involves security and online access for the user and is often a means of protest toward government bodies or individuals. Another reason that these attacks are taken seriously is because hackers often demand a ransom for the return of access to the user’s system. Attackers have been known to receive a sentence for jail time.
One of the best strategies to prevent these types of attacks is to keep your system secure with regular software updates and online security monitoring.
Are You Ready to Defend Your System and Data Against Cybersecurity Attacks?
Unfortunately, tech savvy opportunists are not going away anytime soon, so you have to prepare your organization’s system for every potential cybersecurity attack. Our cybersecurity team at I.S. Partners, LLC. can get you up to speed on the attacks here and many others. More importantly, we can help you develop a multi-pronged strategy to streamline your cybersecurity efforts.