Everything you should know about the progression of cyber crime
A lot has changed since the emergence of malicious hacking in the 1970’s, when tech savvy criminals began manipulating phone systems as a means of making free long distance calls. Personal computers began hitting the market, and the world wide web gained traction, becoming a momentous commercial success. In fact, in 1995 there were just 16 million internet users worldwide. Today, there are 4.2 billion.
With such dramatic growth, it was to be expected that cybersecurity would become a pressing concern. Just like in the real world, criminals look for opportunities, and the digital world offered plenty of them. Cyber crime cases like the Datastream Cowboy and Kuji attacks, as well as the Melissa Virus, made businesses, government agencies, and other organizations aware of how devastating computerized crimes could really be. Fast forward to the present, and 230,000 new malware programs are being produced each and every day, while ransomware attacks grow by more than 350 percent per year— proving that the evolution of cyber crime should be a concern for everyone.
In a nutshell? It has never been more imperative for companies to understand cyber security best practices, and have expertly-conceptualized strategies in place to combat these computer-based attacks. So, what are some of the most concerning cybersecurity developments that have occured in recent years? And how can business professionals protect themselves and the organizations they work for? These are the questions we’ll be answering in today’s blog.
Here Are 3 Cyber Security Concerns That Were Unheard Of Just a Few Years Ago:
1. Steganography Attacks
Steganography is the practice of replacing portions of data within files like images, audio files, and graphics with different, infected code. This method is particularly worrying since it completely hides the fact that malicious code is being uploaded or downloaded, leaving computer users vulnerable, unaware that a virus is lurking within the file. Additionally, many anti-virus programs and security tools are unable to detect the code, due to the clever ways cyber criminals embed the code within the file.
Security researchers reported a 600 percent upsurge in steganographically-based attacks in 2017, which is highly problematic. Thus, it’s crucial that businesses and organizations invest in cutting-edge technologies and prevention strategies to ward off these types of threats. Speaking with a reputable and experienced managed services provider is always a great place to start.
2. IOT (Internet Of Things) Attacks
The Internet of Things is a term used to describe all of the various device types available today that can connect to the internet— from refrigerators, to vehicles, televisions, e-readers, and more. All of these devices (as long as they are connected to the internet) can be hacked, and once they are, any of the information stored on the device is up for grabs. Additionally, once a hacker has found their way into one of the devices on your IoT network, it becomes easier to gain access to the others.
Some recommended ways to protect your devices from IoT attacks include:
- Always changing the default username and password on your devices, and using password best practices when creating your new login credentials.
- Updating and installing IoT firmware regularly.
- Disconnecting IoT devices from the internet whenever they aren’t in use.
- Deleting apps that you don’t use or that look unfamiliar to you.
- Do your research— read up on your new device and see if other customers have experienced security issues when using the device.
Remember, approximately 50,000 IoT attacks were documented in 2017, and that number is expected to rise. Hiring a managed services company is an excellent way to ensure your business is guarded against these threats.
3. Spear Phishings
You’ve probably heard of phishing, or fraudulent email campaigns that do their best to seem legitimate, as a means of obtaining sensitive information about the receiver. But this classic online scheme has taken on a whole new level with the emergence of spear phishing. It’s the same concept, but hyper-focused, with cyber criminals focusing on one individual instead of casting a wide net and seeing what turns up. These cyber criminals will use extreme measures to gain whatever information they can about their target— and then ultimately use that information to execute better, more difficult-to-detect attacks.
The key here is that the criminal focuses on getting to know their victim, observing their online behavior and using tactics that are targeted towards the victim’s habits, interests, and vulnerabilities. This detailed and methodical approach is a recent development, proving that the evolution of cyber crime has been shaped by criminals who are willing to use whatever means necessary to infiltrate their targets. More often than not, spear phishing is done via emails, so being highly aware is essential if you want to combat these types of attacks. Employees need to be educated on email safety and should always secure their accounts by making use of spam filters and screening their inboxes for viruses.
Again, a seasoned and established managed services provider can ensure you have the right preventative strategies in place, and ensure your system is up to date and secure.