As the world becomes more and more digital, cyber security has become one of the most critical aspects of our lives. We store so much personal information on our devices, and with more and more businesses moving online, we must take steps to protect ourselves from cybercrime.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides the guidelines for businesses to effectively protect consumer information and provide cyber security. RoPA (a requirement in the GDPR) is a document that portrays the data processing activities of a business, including processing personal data. This delicate data needs to be protected from the ever-increasing cyber-attacks.
This article will discuss cyber security, explore the different types of cyberattacks, and discuss tips for keeping your data safe.
Cybercriminals can steal information through any device that has internet access. The vulnerability of cyberattacks is not limited to computers, as smartphones are also targeted with an increase in ‘smishing’ (phishing attacks via text message) and the password-stealing technique known as ‘wardriving.’
Here are some examples of potential cyber-attacks that business owners need to watch out for:
1. AI-Related Cybersecurity Threats
As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) become more prevalent, so too make the cybersecurity threats that come with them. A recent example is ML-powered “deep fake” technology, which can create realistic audio or video of someone saying or doing something they didn’t say or do. Hackers can use this technology for malicious purposes, such as creating fake news stories or defaming someone.
Ransomware is malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom to decrypt them. Businesses of all sizes have been targeted as this attack has become increasingly common in recent years. In many cases, the attackers will also threaten to release the encrypted data publicly if the ransom is not paid.
3. IoT-Related Cybersecurity Threats
There is a growing trend of interconnected devices in the contemporary digital era, from fitness trackers to home security cameras. While these devices offer many benefits, they also create new cybersecurity risks. For example, a hacker can gain access to a home security camera and use it to spy on the occupants. Hackers potentially access sensitive company data by connecting to a corporate network.
4. Cloud Security Threats
New cybersecurity risks termed “cloudjacking” have become common as more businesses move to the cloud. A hacker can gain access to a cloud-based account and uses it to launch attacks or store illegal data. Cloud computing involves another risk known as “data leakage,” in which sensitive data is accidentally exposed due to a misconfigured storage system.
5. Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a cyber attack that involves tricking a victim into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or other personal data. The attacker might send out a fake email claiming to be from a legitimate source, such as PayPal or eBay, and ask for your details to access an account.
When you click on the link provided, you will be taken to a fake website that looks like the real thing. However, once you submit your information on this site, it is sent straight to the attacker.
6. Cryptocurrency-Related Cybersecurity Threats
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly common in recent years. Suppose a business is adopting digital currency in their business transactions. In that case, they run the risk of “cryptojacking,” A hacker can gain access to a company’s computer to mine for cryptocurrency without their knowledge or consent.
Cryptojacking attacks increased by 23% in the first half of 2021. Cryptocurrency exchanges are also often targeted by hackers, as they can contain large amounts of Bitcoin and other digital assets, so businesses need to be aware of such malicious activities.
7. The man-in-the-middle attack
An attacker can secretly relay and possibly alter the communications between two directly communicating parties. For example, the attacker could put themselves between you and your bank’s website to send your login details straight to them. The man-in-the-middle attack can also involve:
8. The man-in-the-browser attack
Cybercriminals can take advantage of vulnerabilities in your web browser that can monitor your activity, such as what you’ve been typing in when you’re filling out a form. It can also be used to change what you’ve typed. The attacker will add extra information such as passwords or credit card details behind the scenes, which will be hard for a business to notice.
9. Social engineering
A non-technical method is used to gather information about an individual or organization. It typically involves manipulating and deceit to get people to provide information (e.g., pretending to be from an IT support team and calling a user to ask for their password or pretending to be someone’s friend on social media). As a result of social engineering, personal information such as your username, password, or credit card details are stolen, which can be used to commit identity theft.
10. Insider Threats
An insider threat is when an employee or contractor uses their access to company data or systems for malicious purposes. For instance, stealing company trade secrets or customer data, sabotaging company operations, or launching attacks on the company’s network can be done by a person who directly works for a business. Insider threats can be very challenging to detect and prevent, as the attackers often have legitimate access to their target systems.
11. Distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks
An overwhelming number of fake internet traffic hits a website, causing it to crash. Once the site is offline, the DDOS attacker then uses the opportunity to steal data. DDOS is difficult to defend against, as the attacker can generate huge traffic from many different computers.
A typical DDOS attack is usually carried out by botnets, which are networks of virus-infected computers that can be controlled remotely. The attacker uses a botnet to send huge amounts of traffic to the target website, overwhelming it and causing it to crash.
Pharming is a technique used to steal information that the attacker negotiates on a DNS server to allow redirection to a particular website. For example, an attacker might send out thousands of emails claiming to be a particular renowned company and asking users to log in. Unsuspecting people will click the URL provided, but this will take them to a simulated website.
7 Proven Ways To Protect Your Business
As businesses increasingly rely on digital devices to store important information, there is a need to take steps to protect them from cybercrime. Businesses can improve their cyber security include using strong passwords, installing antivirus software, and being careful which websites they visit and what emails they open.
Here are a few tips for keeping your information safe online:
1. Fraud monitoring
It is the process of identifying, tracking, and responding to fraudulent activity. SEONs guide to fraud Monitoring explains how risk-based fraud monitoring takes hundreds of data points that portray a customer’s intention and identifies a potential risk. Data is analyzed 24/7, focusing on essential touchpoints such as payment checkouts. Alerts are generated when a fraud is detected and when it gets blocked by the software.
2. Use strong passwords
Creating unguessable passwords is probably the most important thing you can do to protect your data. Ensure your passwords are strong and unique, not using the same password for multiple accounts.
3. Install a firewall
A firewall helps protect your computer from online threats. It can help prevent hackers from accessing your device and can also be used to block spam and malware.
4. Update your software regularly
Software updates often include security patches, which help fix vulnerabilities in programs. Businesses need to ensure that they keep their software up-to-date.
5. Turn on two-factor authentication
When two-factor authentication is active, a person must enter an additional code when logging into an account on your device or at a financial institution’s website. This can protect you from hackers who have stolen your password.
6. Beware of scams
Scams and spam emails are often used to trick people into revealing their login information or downloading malicious software onto their computers. One common scam is the 419 scam, which tricks you into thinking you’ve received money from someone and then asks you to send back some in return. Don’t open emails from people you don’t know, and avoid sharing your personal information online unless you can trust the person.
7. Install a good antivirus program
An antivirus program will help protect your computer from malware and other online threats. Make sure you keep it up-to-date and run regular scans. Following the steps mentioned above, you can protect your business from the growing number of cyber-attacks and ensure your business thrives in the digital era.