It is common knowledge that cybersecurity measures are quickly becoming one of the most critical elements of modern business, with technological threats rising at an alarming rate. These threats constitute a new wave in the ancient practice of piracy, and no company can rest peacefully with an assurance of immunity from these contemporary pirates.
With the rapid, dynamic, evolutionary advance of technology has come equally rapid, dynamic, and evolutionary cybersecurity threats:
Known Security Threats
These are exactly what they imply: threats that are known to exist. And a shocking number of organizations lack the most basic protection against these threats. The reason that WannaCry ransomware was so successful was because so many organizations had not installed Windows updates and patches. Too many small businesses assume that they won’t be targeted or impacted by attacks, so they essentially play Russian roulette with their security. There is no more certain way to fall victim to known threats than to ignore the necessity of basic cybersecurity protection, and the cost is minimal compared to what you will lose if you are infected by a known threat.
Password hacking is a relatively simple approach for cyber-attackers – accessing accounts and using programs to find user passwords. Once a password is discovered, it can be used on other accounts that share that same password. The best approach to combatting this type of attack requires organizations to implement complex password policies and combine those passwords with a second layer of authentication.
Many cyber threats are targeted at email for three primary reasons: First, nearly everyone in developed countries uses email, and that is true particularly within businesses. Second, email accounts have extensive connections to other people. A successful breach of one email account can result in an eventual breach of thousands or even millions of other accounts. Third, people tend not to be as savvy and careful with email as they should be, even after years of hearing about email-focused attacks. People still click links and open documents that they should recognize as suspicious, especially if the message comes from a friend or associate’s account.
Virus and Malware Protection
Viruses are the oldest form of cyber threat and are defined primarily as invasive programs that have a detrimental effect on a computer or network, such as corrupting the system or destroying data. Malware is any program that is malicious in nature – any program that is intended specifically to do harm of some kind. This might be nothing more than flooding your network with so much traffic that it creates an unmanageable bottleneck and effectively shuts down your system completely (Denial of Service [DoS] attacks). It might be a program that hacks into your client information database and uses sensitive information illegally. It might be ransomware – a special kind of malware that takes your network hostage and demands a financial payment before it will release the information back to you.
A basic understanding of what you are facing is the first step in establishing a plan to combat cyber threats. In upcoming posts, we will delve more deeply into various ways to combat cyber threats, but it helps to focus first on the most basic areas of cybersecurity any organization needs to understand to establish a solid cybersecurity plan.