Today's Top Five Cybersecurity Threats

Today's Top Five Cybersecurity Threats

Last year we hammered home the importance of placing security at the forefront of your business strategy and the need for adopting technology best practices to prevent a data breach. By now I’m sure you are hoping for a new topic, but the truth of the matter is, this discussion won’t be going away any time soon. Despite all the efforts in our industry to improve and extend the tools and techniques for preventing intrusions, the cybercrime world continues to do all it can to break through our barriers.  

Here are five cybercrime threats we foresee that need our collective attention in the year ahead:

  1. Rise of Ransomware. Thousands of small and mid-sized businesses and government agencies were affected by the infamous Cryptolocker in 2015 – penetrating networks, encrypting hard drives, holding critical data hostage until a ransom fee was paid. Consider 2015 a trial run for ransomware. This year we anticipate that variations of the malware will continue to evolve with advanced techniques to threaten enterprise businesses for much larger ransom fees. 
  1. Increased attacks on the SMB market. While enterprises are the gold mines for hackers, small and mid-sized businesses are also always at risk. Cybercriminals view the SMB market as low- hanging fruit. Small banks, financial institutions and retailers have higher threats for obvious reasons, but hackers don’t discriminate when it comes to industry. If your data is valuable to you, it’s valuable to them. Medical records or any HR documentation are hot commodities to cybercriminals because social security numbers sell for a pretty penny to identity thieves on the black market.
  1. Hacks on new technologies. The Internet of Things (IOT) continues to grow and so does the number of devices we’re connected to daily. Cybercriminals are licking their chops seeking holes in new technology as it becomes available and the technologies that connect these devices. Whether it’s smart thermostats or refrigerators, wearable technology like your iWatch or Fitbit, webcams, or toys – each one of these machines could potentially be an entrance into your personal or business world. Before installing new technology, make sure you read the terms and conditions, understand privacy settings and how your personal information is accessed, used, stored and shared.
  1. Vulnerable vendors will be tested. Regardless if you are an enterprise or SMB, it’s important to know your vendors. Who has access to your business network (or personal information)? Do they need full access and what proactive security measures are they taking to keep your data safe? You probably remember the massive data breach at big box retailer Target. The breach was a result of a hole left open by their HVAC vendor. Target failed to protect the security of just one vendor’s access. In 2016, cybercriminals will attempt to penetrate these access points, so make sure these doors are locked.  
  1. Use of Social Engineering. Cybercriminals will continue to take advantage of humans as the weakest link as they come up with creative ways to gather and steal your personal information.  With the vast amount of public records on the internet and personal data available on the black market, it doesn’t take a mastermind to successfully hack your account. If they already have your contact information, it simply takes someone willing to do the leg work. Be aware of suspicious communications such as phone calls from your software provider asking for credit card information, text messages from unknown numbers claiming to be a family member or emails from your bank asking you to reset your password. These types of targeted attacks are real – don’t let cybercriminals trick you into giving away more of your information to complete their damaging activity.

As we move through 2016, cybersecurity will continue to be a hot topic. In addition to keeping your systems updated and secure, it’s important to stay current with latest trends and educate your employees about potential threats out there. If you have questions about the security of your business or would like to discuss ways to future-protect your company from cybercriminal activity, contact your VCIO today or contact IT Solutions at 1.866.Pick.ITS. If you’d like to learn about IT Solutions security offerings, click here.  

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