Hacker attacks are nothing new, but they seem to have evolved in terms of shrewdness, scale and impact.
Everybody is a target nowadays, but the tendency does not stop at large companies and tech or media-streaming giants.
Many cybersecurity experts believe that cybercriminals give particular attention to individuals or organizations with large social media followings.
Annual number of data breaches records in the USA (2005 - 2016)
One thing is clear – most cybersecurity victims face the same threats and should undertake all appropriate measures to counteract those risks.
- Socially engineered malware (SEM)
Criminals use SEM tactics because it’s usually easier to exploit users’ natural inclination to trust than discover ways to hack the software. Victims are tricked into running a Trojan horse program, usually from a website they trust and visit often. Experience has shown that such websites are temporarily compromised to spread malware instead of the normal website coding.
According to the latest data, SEM programs are responsible for hundreds of millions of successful cyber-attacks. Against those numbers, all other hacking types are nothing to be compared.
One of the best ways of protecting against SEM programs leads through education that covers today’s cyber-threats. At the enterprise level, the corporate network can be protected by not allowing employees to browse the web or answer email using elevated credentials. Beyond all doubts, high-level user education provides the strongest protection against modern malware.
- Password phishing attacks
As practice shows, more than 50 percent of emails received every day are spamming, and much of that is phishing attack aimed at tricking users out of their personal information. Moreover, today’s phishing email is difficult to distinguish from a real one: it looks properly and contains potentially interesting information. The only thing that gives it away is the link asking for confidential data.
Fortunately, anti-spam service providers have gone a long way towards helping average internet surfers securing their correspondence by having reasonably clean inboxes.
It’s important to create login credentials that can’t be given away. This includes implementation of such technologies, as two-factor authentication, smartcards, biometric and other up-to-date authentication methods.
Frequently used methods for keeping track of online passwords (May 2016)
In addition, you can install a reliable password manager which has been designed to control and protect users’ passwords and PIN codes. The software operates with online databases which contain passwords’ encrypted info. What is more, the mechanism can be used to preserve sensitive data from phishing attacks by identifying malicious websites, while also keeping users’ passwords hidden from a third party.
One of the helpful services available on the market is Sticky Password, which definitely meets expectations from a standard password manager and is even supplied with extra features. Having installed the software, users are provided with biometric authentication and no-cloud Wi-Fi sync that guarantees iron-clad protection against data theft.
- Unpatched software
The attack vector frequently used by hackers often rely on taking advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities that are found in software applications. The most common exploited programs are browser plugins netizens often use to make surfing the net easier.
Patching is the process of repairing vulnerabilities found in the software components. That’s exactly why it’s crucial for all organizations to establish a strong ongoing patch management process to ensure the necessary preventive measures are taken against potential cyberthreats. The longer a system remains unpatched, the longer it’s vulnerable to being compromised.
- Social media threats
Social networks have radically changed the online communication landscape. Social platforms are used for sharing of ideas and opinions, so accounts with hundreds of followers on Facebook or Twitter can get their data across within minutes. For that very reason, social networks are considered to be so appealing to hackers.
Corporate social media accounts attract fraudsters with a possibility to steal passwords that are usually shared between social media sites and corporate networks. Many hacks are rooted in simple media hacking, as a result leading to irreparable consequences and monetary loss.
Make sure you do not share sensitive data via social network. It would be helpful to apply a trustworthy VPN and remain online privacy untouched thus protected against multiple online threats.
5. Advanced persistent threats (APT)
One of the most popular methods of APT attackers is to send a specific phishing campaign, also known as spearphishing, to employees’ email addresses. Such emails contain Trojan attachments, after running of which attackers take over the system and able to compromise an entire enterprise in a matter of hours.
Detecting and preventing APT is a difficult, but affordable process. Despite the mentioned measures, cybersecurity experts recommend tracking corporate network flows and alerting on unexpected ones. Most often, APT is detected when it copies large amounts of data from a server and transmits the information to other computers that server does not normally communicate.
As with most types of online crime, security awareness is one of the keys to prevention. Considering the fact, that hackers become more sophisticated, the number of threats will continue to grow. With that in mind internet users should be prepared by taking the time to secure their systems and make cybercrime defense a priority.