Businesses face many types of challenges on a regular basis. Attracting top talent, keeping top talent, the occasional natural disaster, and let’s not forget viruses that can shut down a company. And, if that’s not enough, business also face the potential for cyber-attacks.
Cyber-attacks are not new, and unfortunately, they are not going away. At Intivix, we are firm believers in the “knowledge is power” type of approach. In other words, we believe in providing information to our clients, and our blog readers, to help protect their organizations from hackers and cyber-attacks.
Understanding cybersecurity threats, for example, can go a long way towards preventing them or establishing a process for mitigating them. Keep an eye out for these cybersecurity threats that you may not know about, but should.
Okay, okay, you’re probably familiar with phishing attacks. They are primarily known as poorly written, almost obvious spam emails that try to get you to click on a bad link designed to deploy malware. That was true of the phishing emails of the past. Today’s phishing attacks are more sophisticated and, in some cases, layer in machine learning. When cybercriminals use machine learning, phishing emails can be quickly created and sent with more convincing fake messages. The machine learning capabilities start to “understand” which emails are more likely to get clicked on. In addition, cybercriminals are changing it up a bit and turning to SMS messages and phone calls to try to gain the information they are after – passwords, credit card info, access to databases, or to deploy the ever-popular malware.
Internet of Things Devices
The Internet of Things (IoT) includes all devices that are connected to the internet. The common tools are laptops, tablets, and webcams, but this group also includes things like smartwatches, home security systems, agricultural sensors, some home appliances, and routers. More devices mean an increased need for security.
And, since a number of these connected devices are still relatively new, there is an opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit potential gaps in security. Once these criminals take over, they can wreak havoc on your business, or home, by locking down critical equipment, overloading your network, or taking over other connected devices. The key here is to make sure devices meet proper authentication procedures, and that devices have security measures in place.
The Vulnerability Of The Cloud
More, and more, organizations are relying on the cloud to store files and sensitive data safely. Cybercriminals know this, which means they see cloud storage as an opportunity. There are a number of potential threats that face the cloud environment:
- Data breaches
- Account hijacking
- Malicious insider threats
- Insecure interfaces and APIs
To defend against attacks on your cloud environment, first ensure your environment is configured properly. Then, implement cloud specific security measures to protect your data on an on-going basis.
Malware and Viruses
Another tried and true cybercriminal option. But just like phishing attacks, they are using new tricks to change things up and increase their opportunity for success. Mobile malware, for example, targets mobile phone operating systems, with the goal of infecting them and stealing key information. And machine learning enters the picture as well. Machine learning has the ability to try millions of different ways to attack and breach a targeted network in a relatively short period of time. And, when machine learning is used consistently, and across many targeted networks, the odds of an attempt succeeding increases tremendously.
In this case, the threat comes from a third-party vendor, or resource, that a business is using. No, they are not trying to attack your business, but they may unwittingly allow an attacker into your organization if they do not have proper IT security in place. Ask your vendors about the security protocols they have in place. If they do not tell you or indicate that it is not a concern, take this as a sign that they likely do not have enough cybersecurity protocols in place.
Shortage Of Cybersecurity Professionals
In addition to all of the details above, we are also beginning to see a shortage of cybersecurity professionals. For context, “the estimated number of cybersecurity positions that will likely be unfilled will grow to 3.5 million in 2021.” That is far too many and puts the odds in the corner of the cybercriminal. To combat this shortage, research IT consulting organizations in your area. These organizations tend to pull strong talent and have multiple layers of experience, which means they can pull in different resources depending on your cybersecurity need.
Look, these cybersecurity threats are not going away. And pretending they are is not the best move for your business. Instead, face them head-on, learn about them, and run a security assessment either internally or with an external IT consulting team, to determine where your organization needs to shore up its security resources. Remember, “knowledge is power”, so keep the knowledge in your camp, and keep the cybercriminals out.