The likelihood of your organization becoming a victim of cyber crime has risen considerably over recent years. It our responsibility as business owners to educate ourselves on the threats that a successful cyber attack can pose on our organization. We must know the cyber security measures on the market, and understand what attacks they combat, because learning as much as possible is the only way to remain prepared.
Cyber attacks are most commonly used as a way of gaining access to sensitive data, often with the intention of selling or distributing it on the Dark Web. The Dark Web is a marketplace for illicit goods and services. Let’s explore it in more detail and attempt to stress the seriousness of your business data being distributed or sold there.
The Dark Web
As we said, the Dark Web is a place for cyber criminals to communicate and sell goods and services – anonymously. The Dark Web isn’t running in someone’s garage but is a huge well-designed venture by a particularly gifted group of criminals. It is has become a community of extremely dangerous activity. Your data finding its way there could potentially mean the end of your business.
So, how can your data end up there?
The ways your data may end up on the Dark Web
Ransomware is software that is designed to be malicious. The cyber criminal locks and encrypts your data, then holds it ransom, demanding money in return for access.
Your data remains on your system – it just can’t be accessed, making this a particularly frustrating form of cyber attack. The cyber criminals try to force your hand by stressing a sense of urgency, by threatening to delete or release the data onto the Dark Web if the demanded funds aren’t paid in on time. A lot of business panic and pay the requested amount.
The best advice is to never ever pay the ransom. You’re dealing with criminals – do you trust that after you pay, you’ll get your data back, uncorrupted? Most businesses who pay do not gain granted access, and some are even targeted a second time because the criminals know they will be able and willing to pay again. The way to end ransomware is to not allow criminals to make money.
Phishing attacks use fake/fraudulent emails to gain access to private information. The sender poses as a trusted source – to make the target click a link. They may make it seem urgent by adding a time element – “Click this link to change your password, your account has been breached, you have 2 minutes before link is invalid.” This causes panic and makes the target act without thinking, so they click the attachment and, hand over their access to criminals.
Malware is designed to cause damage and steal data. Malware is predominantly run by a group of cyber criminals as opposed to a lone assailant. Then then sell your data for a handsome price on the Dark Web.
Hackers can intercept data that is being sent across an insecure network in what is known as ‘man in the middle’ attacks. Public Wi-Fi has very poor levels of security so be careful because you are very vulnerable when using it. There are also ‘rogue hotspots’ which involve the hacker setting up a public portal that imitates a legitimate one nearby. These hotspots can be used to distribute Malware, direct users toward malicious sites, and to listen in on web traffic. The user doesn’t even know they are on an illegitimate source.
mPoweredIT – Ensuring You are Cyber Secure
mPoweredIT is your go-to proactive partner for keeping IT systems secure and defended. We never leave things to chance or just wait for a problem to arise – predicting and preparing for the threats of tomorrow will help ensure your valuable data is protected and your business continuity maintained. Contact us today and see how we can help you.