Cybersecurity is more important than ever.
Being able to eliminate the threat before it even happens can make all the difference.
Cybersecurity: Protecting Against the Insider Threat
Today’s online platforms are growing more expansive with every passing minute. We are able to reach farther and go beyond what seemed to be possible even a decade ago. The internet is truly amazing and offers so many brilliant benefits. However, this window into great opportunity has its weaknesses and is susceptible to cyberattacks.
Because of this, Cybersecurity is more important than ever. The ability to eliminate potential threats before they happen can make all the difference.
Cybersecurity starts with the recognition that all cyberattacks are not the same.
Let’s discuss a few different types of cyberattacks.
Cybercrime according to the U. S. Department of Justice:
“Refers to any illegal activity for which a computer is used as its primary means of commission, transmission, or storage or criminal activity that entails the use of a computer system, computer technology, or the internet.”
Cyberwarfare is defined by TechTarget as:
“The use of cyberattacks against a nation-state, causing it significant harm, up to and including physical warfare, disruption of vital computer systems, and loss of life.”
By now, you have probably heard of ransomware attacks. Ransomware, according to the FBI, is:
“A type of malicious software, or malware, that prevents a user from accessing computer files, systems, or networks and demands a ransom for their return.”
For example – hackers infiltrate a network and either seize control of the system, copy data – or both – lock the network and demand money for its return. The multiple effects of these attacks are quite serious. Security breaches such as this have increased by 767% in 2021, accelerating losses by over 300% for companies and individuals.
Cyber espionage, defined by VMWare, is:
“A form of cyberattack that steals classified information, sensitive data or intellectual property to gain an advantage over a competitive company or government entity.”
Cyber annoyance is also referred to as trolling. Trolling, according to Harvard Business School Viewpoints Journal, is defined as:
“Deliberately provoking or upsetting others by starting arguments or posting inflammatory messages on online comment sections.”
Finally, cyberterrorism, defined by TechTarget, is:
“Any premeditated, politically motivated attack against information systems, programs and data that results in violence.”
Let’s look at tactics to safeguard against these threats.
Cyber protection starts by knowing where one is most vulnerable. The answer: email. Email is the weakest link when it comes to Cybersecurity, so it is extremely important to take the necessary steps to prevent cyberattacks through email.
The most common attacks to email are known as phishing attacks. These are forms that come by way of email such as photos, PDFs, voicemails, or any downloadable document delivered via computer or mobile device, particularly when mobile devices are synced with office servers.
According to Cisco Umbrella: “Phishing accounts for around 90% of data breaches.”
IBM ranks phishing attacks as the second most expensive cause of data breaches, costing businesses an average of USD $4.24 million.
Downloads containing virus payloads are just one of the tactics used. Hackers exploit a variety of schemes to intrude a system.
According to Microsoft, in “How to Protect Against Phishing Attacks,”
“Phishing attacks attempt to steal sensitive information through emails, websites, text messages, or other forms of electronic communication. They try to look like official communication from legitimate companies or individuals.”
They are purposefully designed to scam people into releasing personal information the attacker can use maliciously. These ploys use fake user or email names and or fictitious URL links or attachments. Awareness of these tactics helps expose covert cybercrime.
Protecting against cybercrime requires effective cyber hygiene.
Cyber hygiene practices entail:
- Paying attention to suspicious email activity to avoid phishing or spear phishing attacks
- Maintaining strong, secure password protection on all devices – including phones and wireless routers – and changing those passwords regularly
- Avoiding the use of unsecured wireless networks in hotels, airports, coffee shops, etc.
- Never plugging unknown devices into your computer
- And, Keeping all systems updated
In order to safeguard cyber hygiene and protect against cybercrime, it is vital to establish. Cybersecurity protocols
- Air gap critical information – Air gapping ensures a dedicated server or system, not connected to the internet or your primary system, provides a layer of protection.
- Detect and protect against malicious insider threats – Detecting and protecting against insider threats requires ongoing monitoring by Cybersecurity staff for breaches of security protocol or suspicious downloads of critical data.
- Protect against intrusions due to poor internal cyber hygiene – Protection ensures there are no gaps such as uncontrolled internet access, vulnerable tablets or phones, or remote access to servers.
It is critical to establish and maintain high, intentional Cybersecurity standards.
Another way to prevent cybercrime is to know if your industry is an especially accessible target for ransomware. Vulnerable targets include hospitals, city government, schools and universities, oil pipelines, manufacturing facilities, and food processing facilities.
If your organization is in one of these industries, it is of utmost importance that you ensure strong Cybersecurity protocol that sustains proactive security measures.
Since email can be so susceptible, let’s look at a few examples that disclose a possible attack. First, look at the “From” address. Does it look legitimate? Look carefully. Remember, cybercrime emails are designed to deceive subtly by looking almost real.
Next, look at grammar, word choice, and tone of the email, itself. Do any of these seem odd or even remotely unlike the person who the email claims wrote it?
Finally, examine any hyperlinks included in the email. These are notoriously easy to fake. What seems to be a legitimate URL may hide the truth. If even slightly doubtful, do not click! Instead, hover over the hidden URL with your curser. A box will show the actual link. Does anything about the link seem invalid?
If you notice any of these inconsistencies, remember, do not click. Notify IT of the suspicious email.
After an Attack
In the unfortunate event you are a cyberattack victim, or even suspect so, follow these steps immediately:
- Change all passwords associated with any information you believe may be compromised.
- Contact your supervisor and the IT department to explain the situation.
It is very important to complete these steps as soon as possible. In some cases, immediately changing passwords and notifying those in charge can neutralize the situation. Situations such as these are not the time to problem solve on your own or to keep quiet due to embarrassment.
Reporting the incident, even if the result of a mistake on your part, can be the difference between saving the company or destroying it.
Ultimately, companies and individuals fall into one of two categories:
- Those who have taken action because they know how susceptible they are or have been hacked already.
- Or, those who have been hacked and are completely unaware. Take the necessary precautions to protect against cybercrime.
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