When a new piece of technology comes out, clever hackers everywhere are ready to test it to see where its weaknesses lie. Or they may go the social route to infiltrate if hackers are not particularly tech savvy. By using a number of both emotional and practical measures, hackers have seen major successes in targeting companies and individuals for their own gain. To truly improve an organization’s security, a staff needs to start thinking the way a criminal would. As you will see in the following examples, it seems everyone could use a little extra practice when it comes to proper protection.
The Living Past
A hack can occur at any time, and it can go undetected for years. It can come about if a company has inconsistent security methods. When a company attempts to merge old technology (e.g., legacy systems) with new technology (e.g., SaaS or the cloud), it leaves the company particularly open to cybercrime. Considering most companies do this, it’s no wonder that users all over the world worry about being the next target. Even the best technology companies have admitted they can stay only around six months ahead of hackers (at best), and it raises concerns about the security efficacy of practically every organization that handles financial and personal data.
New and Improved
Business email compromise is a common type of phishing scam designed to take advantage of companies who use foreign organizations in arranging financial transfers. These companies typically were able to do so either through direct computer access (e.g., a link that contained malware) or through a social measure, such as offering technical support to a company or posing as a frantic coworker desperate for help. The results totaled $3 billion lost across companies of every state in the U.S. The victims’ protocols clearly were researched by the hackers for a better success rate, and the net gains from the efforts illustrate just how vulnerable people can be to opening up the wrong email, attachment or link.
Ransomware is alive and well today, and the FBI just released a message to openly encourage victims to report a scam to federal law enforcement so the FBI can have an accurate picture of hacking today. Ransomware is a means to encrypt files and information on a computer. Considering there is generally some private data stored there, the hacker will then demand money so a company can get data back. The FBI is aware that 2016 has been a big year for hackers, and they came out with a report that just one type of ransomware could infect 100,000 computers a day. This malware can affect both mom-and-pop businesses and huge conglomerations alike, and it can lead to permanent financial and information loss for the targets. It has been known to encrypt hard drives and servers as well as files. It should be noted that the FBI urges individuals and businesses not to comply with ransom demands, as there is no guarantee that the information actually will be released. The FBI posits that there are a number of people who do not report, either because they aren’t sure of the protocol or are afraid it will ruin their reputation.
Taking a Stand
A business does not have to rely on chance to keep itself protected even as hackers evolve at an alarming rate. Ransomware and hacking techniques will continue to get better, but so too can your company’s protection. When you invest in training employees and updating your security, you virtually can eliminate your risk for an attack. It all starts with understanding the dangers fully, and ends in implementing a security procedure that employees can truly understand and incorporate into their work days.