Malware, breaches, security compromised and so many other terms to get to the very same idea: cybercrime. Hackers have found themselves a way to make a living since the early days of the millennial decade; yet despite security resources happen to be in constant evolution, so does the way in which these marauders keep improving their skills to reach a better bounty.
For those still unaware of what’s going on in the internet realm, hackers are now using extortion as their first strike method, to which companies are replying in one of these two postures: giving criminals what they want to prevent a bigger damage, or simply ignoring the criminal’s demands, acknowledging the impact it may give to a corporation.
As a common internet user, you may ask yourself: why is my data so important for people to take the time to steal it? Today we are going to study what makes hackers seek access to the information you voluntarily gave to corporations worldwide.
1. Destroying a company’s reputation
There is no bigger truth than the impact a company is going to suffer from being a victim of a security breach. Depending on the kind of business the company has, the actual value of the damage (i.e.: for flying companies, banking entities and mail services providers as could be Google or Hotmail, the possibility of a specialised hacker’s attack is devastating), thus is important for brands to take all kinds of measures to prevent these scenarios from happening.
2. Accessing your personal information
Regardless of your work or the social circles you happen to move on making you instantly a potential “person of interest” for this criminals, news shows that both high ranked executives and common internet users were targeted with nearly the very same methods to perform a cyber-attack. A computer might host thousands of personal files that can be quite revealing: your daily routine, income, social relationships, family structure, etc. And, as people also agree, it isn’t just about keeping your doors locked, criminals are among us.
3. Proving their value among peers
Surprisingly, having a criminal to hack your computer or mobile phone could just be an unfortunate coincidence along their path to make themselves a name. The dark web proves to be a highly competitive market, and unlike in real life, the only way to craft a reputation is by damaging others, in the most creative and deadly ways possible. By doing so, they are also opening the field for people to consider their skills as potentially valuable resources one day, thus increasing the chances for these new hackers to find “clients” willing to pay them for their services.
4. Monetary value
Ransomware is the latest trend in cybersecurity attacks. Works by adding malware on your computer in a way that the information you store on your device is locked down by highly effective encryption codes, and hackers ask for ransom to unlock your beloved device. There are many ways to attack a user with ransomware, the most common ones made via unrequested attachments in mails, links to fraudster sites sent through chat services or advertisement in case you don’t use an ad-blocker app. Payment has to be made in Bitcoin, and criminals give a certain time span for the user to take action, otherwise content available in the laptop would be spread worldwide, or the contents of your device get wiped. For either case, the longer you take to accept their conditions, the cheaper the experience is going to be, as ransom tends to get doubled after the first 24 hours.
What can we do to protect our clients?
First and foremost, we need to ensure our servers are fool-proof against any cyberattack: this will require counting with the services of software like CloudFlare, to prevent targeted attacks in the fashion of DoS and similar light approaches.
Then, constant checkups need to be performed on a weekly basis, doing the necessary updates to ensure no backdoors are open to potential breaches. By applying patches and revisions to our website and server management system, we are reducing the chances criminals have to find points to exploit. Over this point, the best strategy we can have to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in cyber crime industry is to follow authority blogs and news websites related to cybersecurity – it won’t exactly guarantee we will be breach-proof, but at least reaction time is expected to be faster than just waiting for a cyber attack.
Finally, advise your customers to take the following precautions:
- Avoid using the same password for all the login data they fill through the internet.
- Use strong passwords to make the cracking method a harder experience for criminals.
- Never to open links that seem suspicious in chats, or attachments sent with unrequested emails.
- Don’t enter payment information like credit card or bank account numbers at websites that don’t seem trustworthy.