Big data has become an essential element of doing business and running an organization in this day and age, across all industries. However, while your venture might put a lot of time, money and energy into tracking, analyzing and using data, this is all for nothing if your computers are hacked, systems crashed, and information stolen or deleted.
Unfortunately, these days companies face huge data-security issues as hackers continually find new and more sophisticated ways to get access and do damage. As such, it is vital that you do everything you can to protect that valuable data from prying eyes.
While you can employ lots of methods to go about this, from protecting your organization with security software, using proper passwords, keeping browsers updated, and the like, it is also important to be aware of some of the different ways that cybercriminals can attack, so that you don’t leave anything to chance. Knowing the various methods hackers use can also help you to train your team in digital security more effectively. Read on for some of the different threats of hackers attack you should be clear about today.
One of the biggest threats that has been making the news lately is ransomware. This type of attack — where malicious computer code is installed on a device without a victim’s knowledge, and then used by hackers to block access to a system and its data until a ransom is handed over — has grown immensely over the last couple of years. While ransomware used to be a threat mainly for large corporations and government agencies, today it is being used to target even small businesses and individuals.
Ransomware can be used by cyber criminals to extort money from victims in a number of ways. For example, hackers can lock a whole system, encrypt files of information and delete original versions, or threaten to make data available to the public if they are not paid.
More recently, some digital thieves have also started offering victims an alternative to handing over money — they can choose to infect two other devices with ransomware instead. In addition, it is alarming to note that hackers are now also finding ways to use ransomware that’s capable of infecting hundreds of computer systems in a very short time span. It is likely that new techniques will continue to be developed over the coming months and years, too.
Phishing scams have also been very popular for years now, and don’t seem likely to go away anytime soon. They involve scammers attempting to trick people into giving out their personal details, such as passwords, bank account numbers and credit card information, online. Phishing scams can come in different forms, but do typically use either spam emails or website links.
Commonly, hackers send out emails which are designed to look legitimately like those you would receive from your bank or other official provider. The emails feature the copied logos and graphic design of legitimate businesses and government departments, and attempt to use the same type of language and tone, too.
They typically stress that the recipient needs to log into their account to provide some information or complete a certain action (a link will often be included that takes readers to a fake version of the company’s website) or a form will be attached to be filled out and sent back. People can get caught out if they believe the email is real, and provide hackers with sensitive information that can then be used to gain access to funds, identities or other valuable commodities.
Similarly, hackers often send phishing emails or texts telling people that they have won something and need to prove their identity to claim their prize; or, more recently, they have also started to send fake documents through group uploading sites like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Internet of Things Threats
With billions of connected devices in the world these days, and with the number growing rapidly every year, the Internet of Things (IoT) presents an unprecedented opportunity for hackers to cause havoc. As such, there is a rising number of attacks happening on smart devices and, unfortunately, many individuals and corporations are leaving themselves vulnerable because they’re not prioritizing security on these products and services.
This puts huge amounts of sensitive information, not to mention lives, at risk. After all, hackers can take advantage of the IoT to take control of everything from connected cars to everyday gadgets like routers, thermostats, fridges, fitness trackers, garage doors, entertainment and home-security systems, lighting and more.
Recently, security experts have discovered that IP (internet protocol) cameras have been increasingly targeted by hackers, too. The digital video cameras commonly used as webcams or for home or business surveillance, sending and receiving data via a computer network and the internet, seem particularly vulnerable to attack. IP camera botnets have been discovered in at least four different malware families specifically focusing on these types of products: Persirai, Mirai, DvrHelper, and TheMoon.