Cybersecurity issues are one of the most significant problems facing business owners today. As many as 75% of data breaches are caused by external attackers.
In light of this information, we wanted to bring your attention to ten of the biggest threats facing your cybersecurity tactics. Some of the topics we detail below overlap and often, two or more strategies may be used in an attack.
Knowledge is power. Once you know the threat is out there, you can then take action to protect your business.
Let’s dive on in!
For those of you who don’t know, cryptojacking became a massive issue towards the end of last year.
If you’ve jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon, then you need to make yourself aware of these risks.
Cybercriminals can hack into your computer and mine cryptocurrencies like BitCoin. Shockingly, the victim doesn’t even need to install something to allow this to happen accidentally.
Sadly, this concern goes way beyond the theft of cryptocurrency. Attackers who intend on stealing from their victims need vast amounts of computing capacity.
This is necessary to solve the complicated math problems that provide the hacker with the info they need to complete the transaction.
Consequently, there’s a temptation for criminals to compromise other computers. To date, a few public Wi-Fi’s hosted by Starbucks have fallen foul to this. So has a Russian oil pipeline company!
The primary concern is that hackers will continue to breach more and more computer networks. Obviously, this poses a massive risk when it comes to protecting sensitive data.
2. Powershell-Based Attacks
This technique refers to a macro inserted into Microsoft Word. This targets the victim’s computer with an information-stealing Trojan.
This kind of script-based attack is incredibly difficult to identify. Unfortunately, they can easily evade antivirus engines, which is one of the reasons why they’ve received a surge in popularity.
The takeaway here is to basically never open a Word doc (or similar) attachment to an email unless it’s an email you are expecting. Even if the email appears to be from a friend or colleague, it could contain a malicious attack because that trusted friend or colleague could have had their email account compromised.
Always double check to stay safe.
3. Targeting Security Software
This year we’ve seen more cybercriminals aiming for security software than ever before.
Hackers can take control of devices (phones, tablets, computers) and manipulate the users to suit their own ends. They typically aim to leverage security products like antivirus software that allows them to intercept and redirect cloud traffic to steal valuable data.
This is often very difficult to detect so be sure to only install software on your device if it comes from a trusted source (ie app store, your company’s IT department, etc).
There is a growing concern that hackers will learn how to utilize malware to attack a large number of victims very quickly, even more so than they have already.
This network of worms enables the attacker to spread and infect a lot of computers very quickly, which poses a serious concern that needs monitoring.
There are many things attackers can achieve via this method, namely, infiltrating an organization through spear phishing and stealing confidential information.
On the other hand, attackers have taken great pleasure in destroying data to make a public statement. The damage this can do to your business’s reputation is insurmountable.
Furthermore, malware (AKA the remote access Trojan) is often utilized by hackers by infecting computers and laying low inside an organization’s system.
The attacker(s) will then take bids from people who want to receive the information they can retrieve from your computer.
This raises a significant challenge because this kind of virus is designed to go undetected, which is why it’s crucial you harness technology like EDR (endpoint detection response) to protect your data. This can help you spot the potential danger and allow you to take the necessary steps to flush it out of your system.
5. Ransomware in the Cloud
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a whole host of ransomware attacks. Some of the more famous ones include:
- Britain’s National Health Service
- San Francisco’s light-rail network
It’s shocking that in this day and age, organizations as large as the ones listed above aren’t even safe from these kinds of attacks.
Ransomware is a relatively simple form of malware. It manages to infiltrate a computer’s defenses and source computer files using secure encryptions. The malware then locks down your system so no one can access the data across the network.
The thief will only allow the data to be released if a hefty ransom payment is made. Depending on the thief, payment of ransom may or may not actually cause the data to be released. Sadly, a lot of sensitive data isn’t backed up, and so the victims feel as though they have no choice but to pay to get it back.
6. Physical Attacks
It’s become increasingly popular for hackers to attack physical structures such as electrical grids and transportation systems.
Some of these attacks are designed to cause immediate damage and malicious destruction.
Alternatively, (just like the other cyberattacks discussed in this article), the attack will utilize ransomware that hijacks these systems and temporarily shuts them down.
The attacker then threatens the institutions by promising to cause chaos unless the digital ransom is paid, at which point the hacker promises to give control back to the original owner.
This is particularly dangerous when applied to the transportation sector (like shipping, airplanes, cargo, etc). The implications for physical safety as well as data protection are unthinkable.
7. Targeting Point of Sale Systems
Don’t overlook the danger your point of sales systems could be facing. These are no longer isolated systems, as today’s POS is often part of a more extensive network that is typically connected to the internet.
Cloud-based POS’s are also vulnerable to hackers, especially if merchants use either a smartphone app or laptop-based system to facilitate transactions on the move.
Therefore, business owners are advised to use point of sales solutions that focus on security and protection.
Also, if you’re implementing a system like this, we suggest consulting with a professional who can analyze the extent of your risk and advise you accordingly.
8. Threats From the Inside
Insider threats (from individuals within an organization) have become increasingly prevalent. There’s never been a greater need to balance privacy alongside compliance practices.
This issue will continue to be a problem especially as information storage systems proceed to develop in their sophistication and complexity.
Therefore, you need to keep a tight rein on access levels for employees who can access particular pieces of data. This is one of the easiest ways of minimizing threats from the inside.
In addition to this, we also suggest educating your employees on the importance of password and data security.
An emphasis on teaching them how to recognize common attack methods should be given. That way it’s less likely your business will fall foul to the deception of cybercriminals within your organization.
9. IOT Attacks
The Internet of Things (the network of various devices in your home or office that all have connectivity to the Internet) has numerous benefits including increased connectivity, automation, and the collection of data. Needless to say, these features are great for business.
However, as with any system that involves the internet, you need to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to harmful cyber threats that could destroy your business.
If this is a system your company is utilizing, then we suggest analyzing your existing security policies, and implementing more effective methods that take the risk of IoT devices into account.
10. Phishing Schemes
Phishing schemes have been around for quite a while and the danger they pose to both personal and business computers can be problematic. Unfortunately, hackers have become increasingly apt at tricking victims into visiting fake websites that look legitimate.
The victim will then unknowingly fill out a form with their username and password, attempting to login in to their real account, but instead, sending the attacker their username and password.
To prevent this from happening to you, always pay very close attention to the links you click on. If you have a bad feeling about it, don’t risk it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Try doing a Google search and see if anyone else has reported a similar scam. It’s always best to visit a website (like PayPal.com, for instance) by typing the address directly into your browser so you know you are at a legitimate website.
However, if you think you’ve accidentally clicked on a dodgy link or given away your personal information, change all of your passwords, immediately. This could potentially reduce the damage done.
More From the PeopleSec Blog
If you found this article on cybersecurity issues interesting, then we’re confident you’ll love the other advice published on our blog, where we discuss everything from cybersecurity risk assessment to protecting your company from phishing.
Or, if you have any questions about this subject, please feel free to reach out and contact us to see how we can help you.