With growing threats from cybercriminals and an increase in data breaches worldwide, businesses need effective ways to secure their systems. A good first step is understanding the tools and methods hackers use to compromise businesses.
In this post, we’re taking a deep dive into the most common tools that hackers use to compromise businesses and the ways you can defend against them.
Update: LeeShanok Network Solutions was recently featured in The Most Dangerous Cybersecurity Threats Revealed by 40 IT Experts. Check out that article for even more tips on stopping hackers in their tracks!
Email Phishing is one of the most common hacking tools. Ironically, most of us are aware of email phishing, but we still fall prey to these attacks. Essentially, hackers target users by sending an email that looks to be coming from a legitimate source. However, the email is actually intended to install malware or steal sensitive data.
Some traits of phishing emails include:
In addition, they may:
Phishing emails can attack in several different ways. Links may direct you to a fake website asking for your email and password. Hackers use this input to steal your credentials. Or, a link may take you to a malicious website. The site will attempt to infect your computer with malware, leaving you open to attack.
A phishing email may also have malware attached to the email itself, ready to attack when you open/download. In any case, phishing attacks mean your business is one email away from being compromised.
The best way to deal with email phishing is to train employees to recognize phishing emails. IT teams need to make sure users receive regular training on how to spot, block, and delete phishing emails.
Other things you as an IT professional can do to safeguard your business against phishing:
Malware is a generic term used to refer to any virus or program that infects your computer. If a phishing email is the delivery mechanism, malware is the actual attack. There are many different types of malware.
Viruses – Viruses are a form of self-replicating malware that attack and spread on your device or network. Viruses often hide within downloadable files. When those files are downloaded, the virus springs into action and replicates quickly.
Trojans – Trojans are files that appear to be legitimate, but in fact, contain malicious code. Unlike viruses, trojans do not self-replicate. Instead, they rely on tricking people into sending them directly to their next target.
Ransomware – Ransomware works by encrypting as much data on your network as possible. The hacker promises to give you the decryption key after the ransom is paid. We’ll look more closely at ransomware in the next section.
AdWare – Adware is software installed on your device that serves unwanted and intrusive ads. It often manifests as frequent popups that are very difficult to navigate away from.
Spyware – This type of malware tracks a user’s activity on their device. Keystroke loggers are the most common spyware programs. By tracking your keystrokes, criminals can steal your IP addresses, personal data, usernames, and passwords.
Whether you’re utilizing Microsoft Windows or another operating system, you can protect your business against malware attacks by:
Ransomware is a type of malware, but it is so costly that it deserves special attention. Unlike other forms of cyberattacks that steal data, ransomware is designed to steal money.
A ransomware attack follows these general steps:
In addition to the malware tips above, you should also:
Social engineering uses human psychology to trick employees into granting unauthorized access or divulging sensitive information. This attack happens in person and online. Hackers know just what to say and how to look to get what they want.
Consider this example – A hacker learns you use LeeShanok as your IT provider by talking to your company at a tradeshow. The hacker creates a custom shirt and business cards with the LeeShanok logo. They visit your site and tell the receptionist they’re here to work on your server.
They are escorted back to your server room and no one bats an eye. The hacker knew exactly what to say and how to look to get access.
Other examples of social engineering attacks include:
Social engineering can take attacks outside of the digital world. It’s still IT’s responsibility to defend against social engineering.
Hackers are always evolving their attacks. This means our defenses must evolve as well. Beyond the technology, there’s one common thread that will help keep you safe no matter what: Education.
Cybersecurity training will protect you from the human error that’s common in almost all attacks. Check out our events page for our upcoming cybersecurity awareness trainings!