Cyber security has grown in popularity primarily because of its importance to businesses all over the world. Today, the costs in both reputation and finance of a data breach has created so many headaches for unprepared companies.
While all this technology helps so many companies and organisations better manage their operations, through all these various means, the number of cyberattacks companies have experienced in the past couple of years, has naturally grown.
But what are the risks many experts in cyber security face? Below you will find a list of problems that most companies and organisations today must consider, as we head towards a new year.
1. Endpoint Attacks
As more and more companies are now shifting their resources towards the cloud, relying more on remote workstations, the number of surface attacks has also increased. More companies today have implemented “bring your own device” policies, while adopting SaaS platforms, which has ultimately created more attack points for hackers.
The primary challenge is in knowing how to best secure these personal devices and off-premise systems. Endpoint attacks are used quite commonly by cybercriminals to gain access to much larger network systems. By requiring that all endpoint devices meet a significantly higher security standard, before being granted access to the network, this allows enterprises to leverage far more control and security over their networks.
EDR or Endpoint Detections and Response is technology created solely for addressing the increasing threat to remote IoT devices and workers.
2. Malware Attacks
Malware is one of the biggest threats businesses today face, especially smaller businesses. Malware encompasses a large number of cyber threats, such as viruses, worms, Trojan horses. Malware is a general term used to describe all malicious code that a hacker may create to gain access to a network, in order to either, destroy or steal its data. Malware can get onto a user’s system in a number of ways. Either from a download, spam email or by being connected to an already infected device or computer.
These types of attacks are much more damaging for the smaller business, because they can, when they happen, cripple entire devices, which could cost a significant amount of money to either replace or repair. They can also give a cybercriminal access to data, which can put employees and customers at risk.
Smaller businesses are much more likely to deploy “bring your own device” policies, which means, people using their own computers/laptops for work, as it saves both cost and time. However, this also increases the chance of the company falling victim to a malware attack, as personal devices are far more likely to contract a virus.
Any business can minimise potential malware attacks by putting in place the correct technological defences. Endpoint Protection solutions for example, is designed to protect systems and devices from malicious downloads, granting admins their own central control system to manage all the various devices of their network – this allows them to ensure all system security software is up-to-date. Web security is another implementation that should exist, as it prevents users from visiting sites that otherwise may contain malicious software.
Not all cybercriminals do what they do for profit, with the rise of what’s called hacktivism, we’re seeing an increasing number of people hacking into network systems and computers, for either socially charged or political reasons.
These attacks have proven, in some instances to be even worse than your traditional attack, as the hacker is on a quest to make a statement, this means their attacks can be more damaging for the organisations reputation.
There are also security concerns to consider, if a hacktivists was able to override the security mechanisms or publicise their efforts that can pose even national level risks.
4. Social Engineering
As new cyber security technology is introduced, creating new ways of preventing hackers from gaining access to unsuspecting users machines, criminals have naturally turned to social engineering techniques, in an effort to get around these new systems.
The primary objective around social engineering is tricking individuals into giving out sensitive data, such as financial data and the like.
Past figures showed that there has been a rapid climb in phishing attack types over the past couple of years, numbers showing increases in excess of 60%+.
5. Weak Passwords
Another major threat many companies face, especially smaller ones, is employees using weak or easily guessed passwords. Many smaller companies use a series of cloud based services that are on different accounts. These services in most cases, will contain sensitive information about the company. Using a password that can be easily guessed or using the same password across all these accounts, can cause these accounts and the data contained on them to become compromised.
It’s the smaller businesses that are most at risks of weak passwords from their employee base. This is oftentimes due to a lack of awareness about the potential damages caused. Statistics show that close to 20%+ of all professionals use passwords that can be easily guessed or even worse, share the same passwords across various accounts.
To be certain that all employees are using passwords that are both strong and complex, companies should consider using Password Management technologies. As these platforms are capable of helping employees manage multiple complex passwords across many accounts, even providing suggestions for passwords that no hacker could crack.
Businesses may want to go a step further by using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) technologies. With this technology, you ensure that users require more than their passwords to gain access to an account. As this will ensure multiple verification steps are implemented, such as a passcode sent directly to your mobile device. With these security measures, it makes it increasingly more difficult for attackers to access your accounts, even if they are able to get around a weak password.
6. IoT Attacks
IoT or Internet of Things is something that is growing in usage and popularity as each new day passes. In the next couple of years, it’s projected that there will be at least 30 billion internet-connected devices out there. IoT may include anything from tablets to laptops, to webcams, to routers, to smartwatches, to household appliances, to manufacturing equipment, to medical supplies, to automobiles and also home security.
With the increased internet connectivity comes great ricks. Once a hacker is able to hijack one of these devices, they can overload a network, steal sensitive information or even lockdown equipment and devices for monetary gain.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website compuchenna.co.uk