Cybersecurity innovations are continuously introduced to combat the ever-increasing attacks that countless organizations face each year. Corporate data breaches enabled by phishing attempts, ransomware, and malicious software are the plague of big business, and year over year the stakes get higher. Many organizations take advantage of these cybersecurity innovations and are increasing efforts to combat new threats as technology advances, but when the global coronavirus pandemic came knocking at the end of Q1 it brought an onslaught of new challenges for 2020. From the beta-like remote work model to new demands in the finance and healthcare sectors, the demand for new cybersecurity innovations has spiked, and as the year draws to a close with numerous cyber casualties reported, many have begun to speculate on cybersecurity trends for 2021 and how they will alter the overall landscape of advanced digital security.
Digital hacking continues to become a more advanced problem as the age of the internet progresses and new technologies are introduced. From the theft of credit card information all the way up to wide-scale corporate data theft, hackers have contributed heavily to the fear and danger that many experience when using the internet. In recent years, hackers have breached network security in an attempt to steal or damage everything from financial data to election tallies, and organizations in the business world around the globe have been negatively affected as a result. 2020 has hosted entirely new challenges for businesses as the world strives to cope with a global pandemic that many hackers seek to exploit. Churning out spam email with bitcoin ransom demands, these hackers have created new problems that even the World Health Organization has had to endure, and those businesses with employees working from home are now susceptible to a new breed of data theft making the need for cybersecurity solutions tantamount to the success of their organizations.
Advancements in technology have enabled organizations to do more than ever, especially in the digital space. But along with the good comes the bad, and those with negative intentions know how to target your organization’s most sensitive areas. Your email is often a weak link when it comes to security because it constantly travels in and out of your organization’s network, leaving it vulnerable to attack by way of viruses and other malware, ransomware, and phishing attempts. With a lack of email security, your business is left open to these attacks – but implementing reinforced email security controls can protect your email, your employees’ email, and ultimately your data from unauthorized use.
Aside from smartphones, our laptops are the most frequently used devices and the most crucial to daily operations of our businesses. They are used to communicate, collaborate, store information and so much more, which makes securing them especially critical. Below we discuss a few reasons why your laptops need cybersecurity.
We’re all familiar with the term data breach. A hacker enters a system and successfully extracts sensitive information, typically for identity theft and most often, businesses. This can lead to damaged reputation, catastrophic data loss, downtime and even full corruption. Although a data breach is an old concept, there are few things that people aren’t aware of. By gaining a deeper insight into data breaches, you’re aiding in the overall security and protection of your business. Here are four things to know about them.
Laptop computers and other mobile devices are the most common tools used by workers to access business networks. Due to the increase in remote working over the past several years, there has been a significant increase in the number of workers using laptop computers to do their jobs. However, of the various components that comprise a business network infrastructure, laptop computers are the most vulnerable in terms of network security. Knowing this, rather than attacking business networks directly, cybercriminals are increasingly turning to laptop theft and other techniques to compromise end-user devices. Once compromised, the devices are then used by the cybercriminals to gain entry into the business network to steal or corrupt confidential and proprietary information. On average, affected businesses lose about $3.6 million due to data breaches caused by malware-infected end-user devices. The impacted businesses may also incur additional legal consequences as well as the loss of customer trust confidence after a data breach.
Network security is one of the most important considerations that should be addressed when setting up a business network. Network security refers to the policies, methods, and strategies established by network administrators to protect a network from unauthorized access or attempts at compromise by cyber criminals or other malicious individuals. With businesses increasingly conducting their transactions online, the costs of a network compromise or data breach can be quite significant; in 2019, the average cost of a data breach was $3.92 million. In addition to financial losses, businesses may also face a loss of customer confidence as well as legal consequences in the aftermath of a data breach.
There are several components that comprise an effective business network. Of these components, one of the most important is the security of the network. Policies, strategies, and techniques have to be put in place to protect the users as well as the data stored or transmitted within a business network. Over the past several years, there has been a significant increase in the number of cyberattacks and data breaches due to an increase in digital transactions by businesses. Cybercriminals devote a considerable amount of time and effort devising different strategies that can be used to attack and penetrate business networks to steal or corrupt their data. In the first half of 2019, there were 3,800 disclosed data breaches, representing a 54 percent increase over the half of the preceding year, 2018.
To ensure that your business does not fall victim to a data breach or other types of cybercrime, you need to engage the services of skilled network security specialists, such as those at NewCloud Networks, to develop an effective network protection strategy. One of the tasks carried out by security specialists is identifying the various threats that your business network may be susceptible to and developing solutions to counter these threats. Discussed in further detail below are some of the network threats and attack strategies commonly used by cybercriminals to compromise business networks.
TOP THREATS TO NETWORK SECURITY
1) Malware/Ransomware: When a network is compromised by cybercriminals, one of the actions that they may take is to introduce malware or ransomware into the system. These are malicious bits of code that corrupt data in a variety of ways, depending on the nature of the code. Some malware may encrypt all the data within the network thereby rendering them useless; this type of malware is known as ransomware. With ransomware, the cybercriminals possess the decryption keys and hold the encrypted data hostage until a ransom is paid after which the data is then decrypted. Other types of malware may steal data out of a network, known as data exfiltration, or may even erase the data outright.
2) Botnets: With botnets, cybercriminals are not interested in the business data when the network is compromised. Rather, the cybercriminals are interested in end-user devices such as desktop computers and laptops that are used to connect to the network. These end-user devices are hijacked and remotely controlled by the cybercriminal, most times without the knowledge of the end-user. The cybercriminal often hijacks hundreds and thousands of individual end-user devices known as Zombies. These zombies are then used a variety of cyberattacks, one of the most popular being Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks whereby heavy traffic is directed at a server such that it becomes overwhelmed and eventually crashes.
3) Computer Viruses: Viruses are small computer programs that infect devices connected to a network, thereby corrupting them. When a virus infects a system, it immediately begins to replicate and spread to other devices within the network. The replication and spread of the virus within a network continue until either all the connected devices have been infected or actions are taken by the network security administrator to contain the spread of the virus. On infected computers, the viruses corrupt and destroy core systems and processes, rendering them inoperable.
4) Phishing Attacks: Phishing is one of the most common and popular network attack strategies used by cybercriminals to compromise business networks and steal sensitive or confidential information. With phishing, users within a network are sent emails containing links with malicious code embedded. When the unsuspecting user clicks on the malicious link, the malicious code is then released into the network where it can then wreak significant havoc. In other instances, clicking on the malicious link may lead to a fake site where the user is then prompted to provide personal information; this information is then used by the cybercriminal for illegal activities.
5) Trojan Horses: Trojan horses are similar to phishing because they are designed to fool unsuspecting users into clicking or downloading them. In addition to being embedded in links within emails, Trojan horses may also masquerade as legitimate files or folders. When these are downloaded, malware is released into the device which can perform a variety of actions such as monitoring keyboard strokes and hijacking the computer webcam, among other things.
6) Rootkits: Rootkits are one of the most dangerous as well as destructive network attack strategies used by cybercriminals. With rootkits, cybercriminals take advantage of network vulnerabilities to install programs that give them administrator-level privileges. These are often very well hidden and difficult to detect. Once a rootkit is installed, the cybercriminal has unrestricted access to the entire network and can execute a host of illegal activities such as keylogging, corrupting core files, and disabling antivirus solutions.
7) SQL Injections: These are network attack strategies that target the databases and database server within a network. With SQL injections, cybercriminals use malicious SQL code to penetrate the database. The malicious SQL code can be used to obtain the account credentials of other users, alter, or even delete data stored within the network database, depending on the nature of the code.
8) Cryptojacking: Cryptojacking is when cybercriminals hijack end-user devices and use them to mine cryptocurrency. Cryptomining requires a lot of CPU resources and so cybercriminals use a variety of methods such as phishing and Trojans to recruit more devices for this purpose. With cryptomining, the user is often unaware that the CPU has been hijacked. Sometimes, the only indicator of cryptojacking are devices that run slower than normal.
9) Advanced Persistent Threats: Also known as APT attacks, this type of network threat differs from the others because it takes place over a lengthy period. After penetrating a network, the cybercriminal installs malware in a location where it can stay undetected for a long duration. Some malware can stay hidden for months, and even years, without detection. From its hidden location, the malware is able to siphon sensitive information to sites outside the network.
At NewCloud Networks, we provide the skills and the services needed to ensure that your business network remains fully secure from all sorts of network threats. With our cloud-based Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS) solutions, monitored by our 24x7 security operations center (SOC), you can rest assured that your network will have round-the-clock network security protection. Contact us today to learn more about our security solution, and to get started.
Cyberattacks can happen to anyone at any given time. In fact, a cyberattack occurs every 11 seconds. Although you might believe it will never happen to you, no organization is exempt from one. As technology improves, cybercriminals become stronger because they have more mediums to infect. We live in a digital age as it is, making cyberattacks much more feasible for hackers, and when you add a global event like a pandemic into the mix, that makes corporations that much more vulnerable. Discussed below are four different types of cyberattacks to keep an eye out for during a pandemic and how to protect your business from them.