There are likely as many cyber security threats as there are devices and people. We have highlighted some of the top ones here.
Cloud Based Cyber Attacks
Cloud domains are up against many of the same challenges as standard company networks. Cloud providers are subject to significant security problems because they maintain enormous amounts of data archived to cloud servers, thereby becoming an attractive target. It makes logical sense that the more data, there is, the greater the chance of a cyber attack.
The seriousness of the exposure depends on the type of data. For example, hacking of personal data of any kind, particularly medical or financial, can quickly can find its way into the news quickly. Trade secrets, copyrights, inventions, patents, and trademarks are serious data collections as well that certainly can be exposed.
Because all of legal ramifications, when data is compromised, companies can suffer serious financial ramifications such as fines, or they may be sued. Criminal charges could also be brought. Investigating violations and letting customers know about them and funding and publicizing incentives to continue patronizing the company can amount to large expenditures. The tainting of a company’s brand can hurt it in such a way it might never recover, or at least hurt an organization for a long time.
What many companies do not realize is that while cloud vendors typically utilize security controls to protect themselves and their clients’ data. However, it’s the clients themselves that bear the responsibility for taking care of their own information. The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) endorses encryption as well of the use of multiple ways of identification to protect against data theft authentication.
Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) has become another big area when the cloud is under attack. This can slow data retrieval down and waiting can be costly.
Nation-State Cyber Attacks
The alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 United States (US) presidential election could have or have had the power to change the world. Regardless, Nation-State cyber violations refer to one government attacking another’s infrastructure, commerce, and/or government.
Nation-State assaults are only going to grow in number and technological sophistication and countries will continue to devote resources to cyber wars, for reasons as unique as the countries themselves.
Ransomware, Malware, Blastware, Ghostware, Etc.
No matter what it is called, the proliferation of unwanted, or non-compliant, or outdated software is rampant. Attacks which steal patches are well underway. An increase in ransomware attacks each day was reported by the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) at approximately 4,000 for 2016, compared to the 2015 level which was about four times less.
Astonishingly, Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) creates great revenue and is prolifically available on the so called “dark web,” thus allowing more less technically talented mischief-makers and criminals to attack data in this manner.
The process involves the RaaS user downloading malware for free (or at least a low cost), and shares the resulting money with the software creator. And then come the worms. Ransom Worms re-create themselves easily and prolifically and in other computers, too.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things’ (IoT) exponential grown has already given hackers chances for greater invasiveness. For example, one 2016 attack was accomplished by a “botnet” which went after multiple devices.
Basically, IoT is defined as a way to connect everyday things that operate in a digital configuration and become fair game to virtually any user. Even your cell phone, even your WiFi, even, you name it…
The concept of IoT can be and is overlooked by many users because it seems on the surface to be so impossible. However, it is advised to “think big” about this growing issue. Can you imagine the harm that could be done by a well-schooled online violator who can get into peripherals at a bank? Pick a printer in the area as you converse with someone in the personal banking department. As they print information about your transaction(s), think about your data. At least for a period of time, it is in that printer’s memory. What about cameras on smart devices that can grab audio/visual information that its users think is behind “closed doors.” It is critical that concomitant to the fast paced evolution of the IoT brings an almost unlimited convenience in our contemporary lives. It is imperative that both users and manufacturers continue to develop solutions on their ends of their device(s)’s lifetime to say nothing of compliance officers and their overseers.
Social Engineering and Human Error
Unfortunately, it seems that WE are the biggest culprits when it comes to the vulnerability of our cyber world, according to security professionals. This does not mean, however, that we do anything on purpose to cause problems. However, we have to own the fact that it is humans who create the situations that cause security breaches. Such violations be caused by the actions of a hacker just as easily as employee mistakes can be. the result of a single employee. It needs to also be considered that a disgruntled employee could be looking for revenge by knowingly causing data theft or other damage.
One way in which employees inadvertently cause data issues is because they consider themselves adequately knowledgeable about software and hardware they use. For example, take scamming. Many employees think they can easily ferret out spam texts and emails that want money.
However, the instigators are becoming more and more savvy on how they try to get to you. The detailed form of phishing, called spear phishing, can be immensely successful because the perpetrator has spent a lot of time “making” you. Let’s say you are on a lot of social media. Let’s say you are on dating websites, and your Facebook page indicates you are single and looking. It is worth a hacker’s time if you succumb to the spear by opening an email, or an attachment about dating while you are at work. What is one little open on your break? My boss will never notice, right?
Only if you are not attacked.
But you can do simple things to protect your company. Make your passwords stronger. Use different ones for different devices. Do not allow inappropriate access possibilities by giving someone your password. No matter what, don’t let them sit at your computer after you have logged in without them using THEIR password.
While great strides have been made to give hackers far less admission to critical data, nevertheless there is still a lot that technology can and must do to minimize fallibility in human beings. At this time, we all will be a great cyber security threat from this moment forward and, unfortunately, well beyond.