Ever since computers hit the business scene and hackers began to emerge a few decades ago, there has always been one consistent cybersecurity truth — Hackers are constantly finding new targets and refining their weapons. Business everywhere, including small businesses in Connecticut and Massachusetts, need to be on the alert.
From large-scale data breaches to mining cryptocurrency, here are some of the biggest cybersecurity threats that are on the rise.
More Large-Scale Data Breaches
The Equifax credit agency cyberattack in 2017, which led to the theft of social security numbers, birth dates, and other PII (Personally Identifiable Information) data of almost half of U.S. citizens, was a bleak reminder that hackers can tackle both the big and small targets. It’d be more than safe to assume that other, smaller companies that handle lots of PII data will be targeted even more so in the next few years. Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Endpoint Risk Report states, “54% of companies experienced one or more successful attacks that compromised data and/or IT infrastructure”.
Ransomware Infecting the Cloud
Last year, we saw an epidemic of ransomware attacks, targeting vital organizations like Britain’s National Health Service, San Francisco’s light-rail network, and even FedEx. As destructive as it is, ransomware is actually a relatively simple form of malware that gets past most antivirus and anti-malware software, locking down computer files with strong encryption. The hackers then demand money or hard-to-trace cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in exchange for the digital encryption key to unlock the data. Victims of ransomware will often pay, especially if the encrypted material hasn’t been backed up off the infected network. Some particularly monstrous strains of ransomware, such as WannaCry, have compromised over 250,000 computers across the world.
As a result, ransomware has only grown in popularity and to make matters worse, cybersecurity experts believe hackers will target cloud computing businesses in the years ahead. These cloud data storage providers house oceans of data for smaller companies in a cheaper, more secure server room environment. Some also run vital services, such as email and photo libraries. The biggest cloud computing companies, including Google, Amazon, and IBM, have hired some of the best cyber security experts, so they won’t be easy to attack. However, smaller companies and likely to be more vulnerable, and even a small data breach would prove profitable for the hackers involved. In fact, Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report found that “58% of malware attack victims are categorized as small businesses.”
Colossal Cyber-physical Attacks
We believe that more attacks targeting transportation systems, electrical grids, and other critical, global infrastructure will take place in the upcoming years. A portion could be designed to cause instant disruption, while others will probably involve more ransomware campaigns to hijack vital systems unless the victims pay quickly to recover control. With the Internet-of-Things and more older planes, trains, and ships with outdated technology defenses, vulnerabilities will be ripe for exploitation.
Rampant Cryptocurrency Mining
Another target for hackers around the world has been holders of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. But the theft of cryptocurrency isn’t the biggest threat to worry about in 2018; instead, it’s the theft of computer processing power. Feel free to check out our post with an in-depth explanation of crypto jacking and cryptocurrencies.
In short, mining these currencies demands vast amounts of computing power to solve complex mathematical problems. Hackers hijack hundreds of computers in order to do such work. From the hacking of public Wi-Fi in an Argentine Starbucks to computers at a Russian oil company, crypto jacking is becoming more popular. And as currency mining grows, so will the temptation to breach many more computer networks.
The Good News
Blocking cybersecurity threats and keeping your business protected is possible by being proactive. Ensuring that business data backups are being protected in the cloud, your IT infrastructure is highly secure, and regular business technology checks are just a few ways to move your business in a secure IT environment.
If you don’t have an IT company to rely on to button down your security, feel free to give us a call at (860) 785-6233. We provide in-depth Cybersecurity Risk Assessments to ensure that your business technology security is up to par.