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Clever Cybersecurity Threats That Will Make Your Skin Crawl
Do you know these clever cybersecurity threats? Learn their sneaky methods and how to create a comprehensive strategy to manage the risks to your company.
Norton Security, the online security company, estimates that the average major cybersecurity data breach costs a single US company nearly eight million dollars. Although you’d prefer to invest that eight million in growing your company, you could be spending it to regain access to customer data, reputation management, fines and the like.
Cybersecurity threats are costly. But they’re also sneaky, making protecting yourself seem elusive and out of your control. But the truth is that a business of any size can take comprehensive steps to reduce their risk and it all starts with understanding what those threats are.
The Four Types of Cybersecurity Threats
Cybersecurity experts break threats down into four primary categories. While there is some overlap in these methods, ultimately cybercriminals are trying to find innovative ways to get past your defenses. These four corners must be considered in any cybersecurity strategy.
A cybercriminal gains access to your systems often through a downloaded malware file. They lock down your customer and/or company data with encryption. The only way to unlock it is to pay a ransom to the criminal.
The ransom amount is typically scaled to the size of the business to increase the likelihood you’ll pay them. But paying makes this type of sneaky cyberattack profitable, perpetuating the exploitation of more victims. Cities, health systems, financial institutions, public transit and more have all fallen victim to these attacks.
Trojan horses, viruses, spyware and worms all fall into this category. This type of threat may be used to steal proprietary, financial, or other private information. In other cases, its role may simply be to disrupt business operations. The latter may seem like an attack from a competitor. But, more often, it’s for no other reason than the power-trip and bragging rights that some people get when they take advantage of others.
These attacks trick employees into breaking security protocols. Someone may pretend to be your boss’ boss, a government agency, client, student, patient, etc. in an attempt to get your employees to relay private information they can then use to steal identities/money or otherwise wreak havoc.
Phishing usually comes in through email but could also be a text or phone call. Similar to social engineering, it makes statements to build trust as it encourages someone to take any action that will compromise security. This may be to something like:
- Download a file (malware)
- Enter login information on a spoofed site
- Send money
The Six Pillars of Cybersecurity
Just like there are four types of threats, there must also be several solutions that target these threats from different angles. Just having virus protection or a firewall is not enough. Let’s look at these six pillars.
- Operational security – This is a process of identifying protected assets, classifying them, considering who has access to what, evaluating the risks posed to each and then developing an action plan to manage those risks.
- Application security – This involves deploying software, hardware and protocols to protect your applications from corruption. This might include anti-virus, firewall, rules about use of 3rd party software and similar measures.
- Information security – These are the steps you take to protect customer and company data. It may include things like encryption, passwords, levels of access and policies on how information is accessed, who can access it, etc.
- Network security – This is online security, locking down your network so that no one can use it without authorization or intercept information transferred on the network.
- Disaster recovery/business continuity planning – This comprehensive written plan details how you’ll recover in the event of an attack. It will include things like secure cloud backup as well as an operations plan during and after an event. That event could be virtual or a physical disaster. It’s important to plan for both.
- Employee education – Cybercriminals are clever and the methods of deceit are ever-changing. These people are professional scammers who know exactly what to say. So all employees must know about these tricks and understand their role in managing security risks.
Cybercriminals deploy many sneaky methods to steal or ransom your data. Because of this, it’s important to tackle security from all angles using a comprehensive strategy.