Cybercrime is up, way up. This is problematic for businesses in general, but can be a really serious issue for those companies that don’t have security measures in place that can thwart potential attacks. Today, we’ll talk briefly about how big of a problem cybercrime is and some steps your business can take to keep from becoming a statistic.
We call it the threat landscape. It is essentially an exercise in determining risk when it comes to protecting a company’s IT infrastructure and network from all potential cyber threats. The reason it’s called this is because, like anything moving forward, the landscape changes and you have to be ready to adjust to get to your destination. Unfortunately, today’s threat landscape is filled with vertical peaks and bottomless chasms, and littered with landmines of various types and sizes.
In all seriousness, the road forward has never been such an arduous journey as it is today. Besides all the physical security and technology problems the average business faces, there is a whole virtual army looking to steal your data, corrupt your systems and network, and even lock your business down. It’s not pretty, and we’re here to help.
Normally, when talking about cybersecurity it might be a little difficult to know where to start, but when we are talking about cyberthreats to your business, the starting point is with phishing.
For those who are blissfully ignorant of this strategy, it is a coordinated effort to gain access to accounts so that these scammers can do whatever it is they want to do whilst they’re inside. It starts as a benign message: an email, a social media post, a telephone call. Immediately, the phishing email demands the user’s attention with the best (worst) ones facilitating a complete ignorance of reason. While most phishing attacks have telltale signs of corruption, they don’t always become evident until hackers are replicating malware throughout your network and infrastructure. Most of the other threats we will touch on in this article are initiated through phishing attacks.
The granddaddy of all malware, ransomware effectively locks down the files on a system or the system itself and doesn’t allow for access until the user agrees to pay a ransom, typically in Bitcoin. As responses to this horrible malware have evolved, so have the strategies of the scammers themselves. Today, many of the ransomware attacks use what is called a double extortion attack. How this works is that the scammer will give users an amount of time to pay the ransom and also try to exhort them by threatening to release or sell the exfiltrated data, which in many cases can cause major reputational damage. It’s about the worst scenario any organization could ask for and it has happened to literally millions of them over the past several years.
This type of attack is used to take down websites and other technology systems through the use of overwhelming traffic. Hackers will create what is called a botnet, that takes control over a lot of different devices on many different networks. Then, all at once, they exploit normal behavior patterns that online-connected systems were built with and take advantage of how the protocols that run on those systems to effectively render the attacked system unusable. Since a DDoS attack is often confused for other types of malware, it can be too late when it is identified. This cripples the system being attacked and takes time before things return to normal after an attack.
Of course, there are many other ways hackers can get into your business’ network, but for today's purposes, understanding these three methods of attack will get you to understand just how dangerous the cyberthreat landscape is if you don’t do what you need to do to protect your business.
We outlined three terrible cyberthreats so we will also outline three things you can do to protect your business’ network and infrastructure from the threats:
The best thing you can do to protect your organization against cyberthreats is to make your employees aware of what is at stake and how it is their responsibility to help protect the organization. In order to best get this done, you should build, and consistently update, a cybersecurity training program for your entire staff. This should include how to create secure passwords, everything they’ll need to know about access control such as two-factor authentication procedures, and how to spot a phishing attack apart from normal correspondence. By training your people right, you will have a strong army ready to combat scam attempts.
Every piece of supported software is constantly being updated to ensure that the latest threats aren’t a problem and there are no open vulnerabilities to exploit. This goes for your browser extensions down to your mission-critical administrative software. In order to ensure your business is secure against these outside threats, you need to have a strategy in place to keep all of your IT systems updated, patched, and ready to work for your company.
If you felt ill, you would go to the doctor’s office to get tested, right? The same goes for your business' technology. As we told you before, the threat landscape is always evolving and that means your IT security has to as well. Getting professional penetration testing done on your business’ IT can show you vulnerabilities you didn’t know you had. When carried out by professional IT technicians like the ones we have at SCW, you will get a full report of what you need to do to properly secure your network to ensure your defenses are up and ready to repel attacks from the outside.
The threat landscape isn’t getting any less dangerous. Give the IT professionals at SCW a call today at (509) 534-1530 to talk to us about securing your network and infrastructure.