7 Ways Employees can Invite Hackers into Your Network
The threat of a cyberattack for businesses is growing by the day. According to research, the rate of attacks on businesses has increased from an attack every 14 seconds to an attempt every 11 seconds. It’s estimated that these attacks cost businesses about $20 billion.
The biggest vulnerability in your corporate network is not necessarily the technology. Instead, research shows that 95% of cyberattacks result from human error, making human intelligence and understanding of cybersecurity crucial in protecting networks.
Employees are the easiest target in most businesses. They invite hackers in through phishing, opening malicious sites, checking personal emails at work, using insecure passwords, and acting as internal malicious threats.
Here’s a deeper look into cybersecurity for businesses and how employees can be your weakest cybersecurity point.
How and Why Hackers Infiltrate Businesses
Perhaps the two biggest questions for most businesses are how hackers manage to infiltrate their networks and why they do it. Here are a few concrete answers that explain why your business might be a prime target.
Hackers Often Have the Edge
Hackers only need to find one vulnerability to infiltrate and exploit a network fully. Conversely, cybersecurity administrators have to search for every loophole possible and seal them before the cybercriminal discovers them.
That puts more work and pressure on the security admins to ensure the business network is secure.
Cybersecurity administrators must also work quickly to patch loopholes, detect attacks, and react to them.
Hackers Earn from Their Attacks
Monetary gains incentivize most cyberattacks. Governments, politicians, and businesses can hire cybercriminals to launch an attack on their rivals for a healthy sum of money in return.
Even without incentives from rival parties, hackers can still work alone, using ransomware to earn millions from crippling cyberattacks performed on business networks.
Ransomware has become rather popular, with companies paying a heavy price to regain control of their IT systems or data confiscated by the attacker. In May 2021, a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline saw the company part with $5 million to regain control of their systems from the attackers.
Technology moves at a lightning pace. This makes it harder for teams to keep track of their cybersecurity since new systems introduce new vulnerabilities.
With the new and rapid adoption of AI, there’s continued talk within the industry about whether AI will be the best tool for cybersecurity administration since it can keep up with the changing technology. Moreover, they can follow the cybersecurity rules more strictly and quickly adapt to new changes than humans.
Google is already taking the lead, incorporating AI into its cybersecurity administration. For instance, machine learning helps filter out harmful emails with malicious links and attachments, reducing the risks of a cyberattack via email.
How Can Employees Invite Hackers to Your Network?
Humans remain the weakest link in enforcing strong cybersecurity measures. In a business, employees pose one of the highest risks of exposing the company to a cyberattack in the following ways.
Reports indicate that in 2020, phishing emails were the top entry point for ransomware. About 54% of vulnerabilities came from these attacks.
Small to medium-sized businesses are the primary targets for most phishing attacks, which happen when an employee clicks on a suspicious link embedded in a convincing email.
The emails appear convincing through social engineering, which makes the information believable. For instance, the attacker may hide under the guise of being a cybersecurity expert working for the company on a contract or a customer support team member.
Weak and Insecure Passwords
Password management is a big issue in the modern workspace, where employees have to work with different systems accessed using different credentials. Most of them resort to duplicate passwords that they don’t update, creating significant vulnerabilities.
Your organization should implement password policies that ensure employees only use very strong passwords. The passwords should be mixed with special characters and numbers, not a duplicate of another, and often updated to reduce the chances of an attacker gaining access to them.
Poorly Implemented or Circumvented Security Measures
Despite setting up strong security policies, not every employee will abide by them. Data shows that roughly 95% of companies will have employees override previous security measures, exposing the business to cybersecurity risks.
Conversely, the existing security measures may be poorly implemented, exposing the organization to more risks, as per a report by IBM.
Internal Malicious Intent
Some employees may not be working at your organization for legitimate reasons. They may be cybercriminals working for rival organizations to compromise passwords and data and sell them.
Alternatively, disgruntled employees may launch an attack to destroy the company’s reputation out of spite.
It is crucial that you use strong vetting techniques and employee training to identify such individuals and ensure other employees have a way of reporting them.
Clickbait is not used to lure victims on social media alone. Employees can also fall victim to such tricks, exposing your business to further exploits and other attacks from cybercriminals.
Always advise your employees not to open malicious or suspicious links, no matter where they receive them, especially when on the corporate network.
Checking Personal Email at Work
Personal emails are prime targets for cybercriminals. Most personal inboxes have weak security measures to filter out spam and scan for viruses.
Therefore, if employees open their personal inboxes on the corporate network, they create an easy channel for hackers to infiltrate the network and cause damage.
Remote working is slowly becoming the norm for many businesses. However, it’s putting the corporate network at risk since employees access the business’s IT systems through insecure home and public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi is often the most targeted by cybercriminals.
Find a Trusted Cyber Security Partner to Raise Awareness and Protect Your Organization
Protecting your organization from cyber criminals will always be an ongoing exercise. Contact a trusted partner who’ll help educate employees, raise awareness, and implement strong security policies to protect your business’s network.