Protecting your business against cyber criminals is vital in today's digital age. Cyber attacks cause significant financial losses, damage to reputation, and disruption to your business. If a hacker gains access to your network they can steal sensitive information, such as customer data, intellectual property, and financial information. They could also steal company funds, disrupt your business operations, and damage your company's reputation.
Here are the top 5 methods hackers will use to compromise your organisation.
- Phishing Attacks
- Malware Attacks
- Weak Passwords
- Insider Threats
In a phishing attack the hacker tries to trick individuals into giving away sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information, by disguising themself as a trustworthy entity. This is typically done through emails, text messages, phone calls, or social media messaging. The attacker sends a message that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank, a company or even one of their own contacts, and asks the target to click on a link or enter information on a fake website. The hackers goal is often to steal personal information such as credit card or bank numbers, but in a corporate environment they can get hold of login credentials, or other sensitive data that can be used for financial gain or to gain access to your business systems.
A malware attack, short for malicious software attack, is a type of cyber attack that uses some form of software designed to harm or give access to your computer systems or networks. This includes viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, and other forms of malware. These types of attacks can be used to steal sensitive information, disrupt or damage your computer systems, or even take control of either a single PC or your entire your company network.
The most famous type of malware attack is a virus, which is a piece of code that can replicate itself and spread to other computers. A worm is similar to a virus, but it can spread to other computers on its own, without requiring human interaction. A Trojan horse is a program disguises itself as a legitimate application or file, but when opened, it causes harm to the computer. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the targets files and demands a ransom to retrieve your files and data.
Malware can manually activated by opening an email attachment, installing infected software downloads, or by exploiting vulnerabilities in your software or operating systems. Once installed, it can be difficult to remove and can cause significant damage to your computer systems and networks.
Ransomware typically encrypts a your hard drives and data meaning that you can’t access any of your files. The hacker then demands a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. It is a cyber attack that is delivered as malware but is then used to encrypts your files. You then get a message demanding payment in order to restore your data. The payment is normally requested in a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, and the attackers often threaten to destroy or make the files public if the ransom is not paid.
Weak passwords are one of the most common and easily prevented attacks. A user on your system uses a password that is easily guessed or cracked by hackers. Hackers use automated software to crack passwords that tries millions of combinations of common words, common misspellings, dates, etc. Various methods hackers use include:
- Brute force attack: simply guessing the password using a character generator in the hope of hitting the right combination.
- Dictionary attack: using common words or phrases found in dictionaries or other publications.
- Rainbow table attack: Using pre-computed tables of hashed values to try to decipher a password.
- Social engineering: tricking users into revealing their passwords.
An insider threat refers to a security risk exposed by someone in, or associated with, your organisation. It can be an intentional or unintentional action by an employee, contractor, or third-party vendor that compromises the security of your networks, systems, or sensitive data.
- An employee stealing sensitive information or intellectual property to use for personal gain or to sell to a competitor.
- An employee intentionally or unintentionally installing malware or introducing a virus into your organisation’s systems.
- An employee intentionally or unintentionally misusing their company account to damage or steal sensitive information.
- An employee or contractor not following your security protocols or policies, which leads to a security breach.
- An employee or contractor sharing passwords, login credentials, or other sensitive information.
It can be very difficult to protect against and prevent insider attacks as the people involved have legitimate access to your business. However, you can take steps to mitigate the risk by implementing security awareness training for employees, monitoring employee activity on networks and systems, and implementing strict access control measures.