Identifying new cybersecurity threats

As information technology continues to evolve, cybercriminals are adapting as well. In order to protect sensitive company data, it is essential to understand that compliance with laws and regulations does not equate to bulletproof security. To successfully combat a potential barrage of security threats, your business must adopt a company-wide data awareness approach. Less than a decade ago, cybercriminals concentrated on stealing credit card numbers and using phishing emails and messages to rob individuals and businesses. Today, hackers are employing much more sophisticated tactics, and cybersecurity must adapt as well:

  • Holding computers hostage — Ransomware is malware that stealthily installs on your computer, encrypts your drives, and holds your sensitive data hostage. This new form of kidnapping data can wreak havoc unless you agree to the financial demands of hackers.
  • Publishing of personal information — Another recent approach by hackers is to steal commercial data and information from businesses or third party sites, and then threaten to publish the info unless they receive payment. This is an old-fashioned blackmail scheme in a new guise. An unfortunate example was the Ashley Madison breach that resulted in embarrassing subscriber info being revealed to the public.
  • Mac attacks — In the past, hackers focused their efforts on personal computers running the Windows operating system. Yet now that Apple products have become more prevalent in the business world, many cybercriminals are shifting their focus. New malware can freeze Apple computers, and malware attacks on Apple computers increased by 744% in 2016 according to McAfee Labs.
  • Targeting multiple devices — Your employees’ phones and tablets are computers and therefore vulnerable to hacking attempts. Unfortunately, many businesses and individuals forget to install anti-virus software on their gadgets. Realizing this, cybercriminals are using malicious software to compromise Android and iOS systems.
  • Attack anything connected — Anything with an internet connection can be hacked, including TVs, lights, refrigerators, garage doors, thermostats, door locks, cars, pet feeders, and cameras, to name just a few. As a result, cybercrime and real-world crime have become intertwined. Imagine a hacker who opens the digital lock to your office-door remotely so that a partner in crime can enter your business during office hours to steal physical documents.

Today, an effective cybersecurity plan must go beyond meeting legal and regulatory standards. Despite the sinister and resourceful efforts of hackers, you can take precautions to protect your personal and professional data from online thieves. These include:

  • Properly training employees to avoid phishing and other scams
  • Using unique passwords for each device
  • Changing passwords on a regular basis
  • Updating devices to current software versions
  • Making sure that third-party vendors take appropriate security measures

Finally, by working together with a security firm that specializes in network and IT security, you can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.