Who is behind the daily cyber attacks you see on the news and how do you protect your company?
Malicious hackers are motivated by different things. There are different types of hackers - some do it for fun, some want money, and others just want to end your business. Getting to know how they behave and what drives them informs how you must defend your organization against them.
In terms of skill, script kiddies (or skids, for short) are at the bottom of the hacker totem pole. Their name comes from the fact that they use scripts or other automated tools written by others. They are often young people on a quest for internet notoriety or who are simply bored and in search of a thrill.
Script kiddies shouldn’t be dismissed so easily, however. The ILOVEYOU virus, considered one of the worst malware on the planet, was developed by skids.
Hacktivists often hack into businesses and government systems to promote a particular political agenda or to effect social change. These so-called “hackers with a cause” steal confidential information to expose or disrupt their target’s operations.
Even if you’re a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) owner, you’re not immune to hacktivist attacks. This is especially true if your company is associated or partnered with organizations that are prime hacktivist targets.
Cybercriminals break into digital systems or networks with the intent to steal, destroy, taint, and/or lock away data. They usually target individuals, SMBs, and large companies that have exploitable weaknesses in their cybersecurity.
Cybercriminals attack using a number of methods, including social engineering tactics to trick users into volunteering sensitive personal or company data. This information is then used for identity theft, sold on the dark web, or leveraged to launch attacks against other businesses. Cybercriminals can also infect computers with ransomware and other types of malware.
True to their name, this type of hacker is backed by governments. The hackers’ goal is to promote their backer’s interests within their own country or abroad. In most cases, this involves taking down websites that criticize the state, swaying public opinion, cyber-terrorism, and leaking top-secret information, among others.
As they are, state-sponsored hackers are already dangerous to business owners, but even more so when they make it their goal to cripple an entire country’s financial system or disrupt commodity supply lines. This could involve interfering with the economy or disrupting business operations. Tech and pharmaceutical companies are a frequent target, but businesses in other industries aren’t safe from state-sponsored hackers either.
The scariest type of hacker is the one that lurks within your own organization. An insider can be your company’s current and former employees, contractors, or business associates. Oftentimes their mission is payback. They’ll steal sensitive documents or try to disrupt the organization’s operations to right a wrong they believe a company has done to them. Edward Snowden is a prime example of an insider who hacked the organization he worked for — the US government.
Malicious hackers are always changing their tactics to meet their goals, making them an ever-present threat to any organization, including yours. It’s crucial that you stay one step ahead by working with cybersecurity experts who can help protect your company from dangerous hackers and other cyberthreats. Contact our team today to get started.
So what can you do to protect your business?
- Patching - Ensure your PCs and Servers are running a currently supported operating system and ensure the latest patches and updates are applied.
- Employee Awareness Training and Testing- Most attacks prey on your employees, make them your human firewall. Implement a security awareness training and testing program.
- External Email Header Warning- Put a warning on all incoming external emails noting to be careful about clicking on links or providing information that maybe solicited. When in doubt about the validity of the email pick up the phone and call the sender to confirm they sent it.
- Implement Multi-Factor Authentication - so access to cloud and on-premise systems requires more than just a password. Generally the second factor would be to approve any sign in requests from your smartphone.
- Spam Filtering - Filter all incoming email for both spam and viruses. Catch it before it hits the users inbox.
- Website & DNS filtering - use a third party service that blocks users from visiting known malicious websites.
Keep reading... there are event more ways to protect your business!
- Discuss Financial Transactions over the phone - do not act on email requests to purchase gift cards, wire funds, or anything financial by email alone. Call the sender on the phone to confirm their request.
- Anti-Virus Software - Have a modern and up to date Anti-Virus software. Ensure it is centrally administrated, so you can update, monitor and scan all your devices all from a single pane of glass.
- Scan for Persistent Network Footholds - What's lurking in your environment that got pass your security defenses? Detects these footholds to identify—and eliminate—persistent actors that are dwelling in your protected environments.
- Ransomware Canaries - The sooner you can detect ransomware, the more likely you’ll be able to stop it from spreading and taking down an entire network. Use software that will place light weight files on all protected endpoints—and if those files are modified or changed in any way, an investigation is immediately opened.
- Microsoft Defender for Office 365 - This cloud-based filtering service helps protect your organization against unknown malware and viruses by providing robust zero-day protection, and includes features to safeguard your organization from harmful links in real time.
- Have a Robust Backup Disaster Recovery Solution - Have a robust image based backup solution with the backup images stored offsite. If you do become a victim to an attack or other disaster you want to be able to recover all your systems quickly and without paying ransom.
No time to implement, monitoring and manage all this IT stuff when you have a business to run? Worried that any of these types of hackers could infiltrate your network or data? No worries, Beringer Technology Group can implement these solutions for you. Once implemented we then monitor, maintain and help your users along the way for a fixed monthly service fee.
Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution, also provides expert Managed IT Services, Backup and Disaster Recovery, Cloud Based Computing and Unified Communication Solutions.