Cyberattacks and Ransomware Threats: 4 Ways to Stay Ahead
Cyberattacks are getting more dangerous and expensive to contain by the day. According to IBM, an average attack costs $3.86 million and may take up to 280 days to contain.
You do not want to find yourself on the vulnerable side of cybersecurity.
So, how can you get ahead of cyberattacks and ransomware threats? You can start using HTTPS when connecting to websites, identify critical data and implement ways to protect it, train your staff on cyber security, and start monitoring your network.
Let’s dive deeper into five ways you can stay ahead of cybercriminals.
Common Cyber Security Threats
2020 saw a large wave of cyberattacks flood users as remote working became a necessity for most organizations. One study shows that the use of malware increased by 358%. Ransomware usage jumped by 435% compared to the previous year.
Here are some of the most common cyber attacks perpetrated by cybercriminals.
Phishing is a cyber-attack orchestrated to steal sensitive data like credit card information and login information or trick a user into installing malware into their systems.
The perpetrators often use fake communication through media such as emails, to trick the receiver into opening the malicious message and providing the solicited information.
Phishing attacks are often carried out through social engineering, where the cybercriminal provides just enough information to make you believe that they have complete information about you.
For instance, they may pretend to work for your organization’s sales department, asking for some sensitive organizational or personal data.
Malware encompasses a broad spectrum of cyberattacks, including spyware, worms, and viruses. The goal behind the malware is to explore a vulnerability within a system and breach the network.
This breach typically occurs when a user clicks on a malicious link, opens an infected email attachment, or the user installs malicious software in their system.
A piece of malware may be designed to:
- Restrict access to critical components of a network
- Disrupt the infected system or render it inoperable
- Steal information within the network or installed storage media in the target system
Identity theft often occurs as a result of a data breach. A cybercriminal performing an identity theft often wants to acquire personally identifiable information about a subject to be able to obtain certain services in their name.
For instance, through a data breach, a cybercriminal may steal your credit card information and social security number, which they may then use online to purchase products or apply for credit in your name.
The man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack occurs when an attacker intercepts communication between two parties. The attacker places themselves in the middle of the communication, often through hacking into a switch or device facilitating the communication between the two devices.
Attackers in a man-in-the-middle attack often steal or manipulate the data they obtain by interrupting traffic. Public Wi-Fi is one of the most susceptible networks to a man-in-the-middle attack. This attack is one of the hardest to detect and often facilitates a phishing or malware attack.
A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is almost similar to a denial of service (DoS) attack. DDoS attacks are designed to flood servers, systems, or networks with traffic that overloads the bandwidth and resources and makes the systems unresponsive and inaccessible.
An attacker launches a DDoS attack from several infected machines, hoping to impede response to legitimate service requests. The goal is to attack the system when offline and infiltrate the network or system environment.
How to Stay Ahead of Cyberattacks
It is easier and cheaper to avoid cyberattacks compared to handling the damages that come from them. Here are a few ways you can stay ahead of cyberattacks.
1. Perform Regular Risk Assessments
Certain businesses and organizations are top targets for cyberattacks. Most of these businesses store sensitive data that are a gold mine for most cybercriminals.
Thus, knowing your vulnerabilities is key to securing your systems and networks from cyberattacks. Consider having a professional conduct a thorough risk assessment and identify vulnerabilities in your network that cyber criminals might exploit.
Your team should then proactively work to seal the vulnerabilities and secure the IT systems and network.
2. Know and Monitor Network Activity
Sony is an example of a large corporation that paid dearly for not observing this cyber security protocol. The company was hacked in 2014 after lapsing in actively monitoring its network for any strange activities.
At a minimum, ensure you know what “normal” activity looks like in your network and that you have systems in place to spot any abnormalities.
Apart from having a monitoring room with personnel to keep an eye on your network, you can set up automatic alerts to warn you immediately if abnormal activity is observed on the network.
Detecting attacks early can help significantly reduce their reach and effects.
3. Train Your Staff
According to research, internal actors cause 60% of data breaches. Your employees have a huge role to play when it comes to your network’s cyber security.
Phishing attacks are often directed at unsuspecting employees who may open emails and attachments sent with these emails purporting to be from work. Some of these phishing attacks may request access to sensitive organization data.
Train your employees on how to spot these attacks. They need to:
- Check links before opening them
- Check the email address of the sender
- Avoid disclosing any personal or company information when requested. Please encourage them even to call the person asking to ensure they’re a legitimate employee or partner affiliated with the organization.
4. Use HTTPs
HTTPs is a secure form of communication on the web that protects you from cyberattacks. Most cybercriminals use insecure sites to lure victims and attack their systems. These sites often use HTTP protocol instead of HTTPs.
Since the communication between the browser and server or another connected computer is secured through encryption, HTTPs is less prone to a man-in-the-middle attack.
Even if the attacker can manage to intercept the communication, they will make no sense of the information or data being exchanged since its been encrypted.
Most browsers show a shield icon next to a secure website that uses HTTPs.
Start Securing Your Network Today
We cannot afford to ignore the importance of cyber security in this modern age as more systems get connected via the internet. Get in touch with a cyber security professional and start discussing how you can secure yourself and your organization.