Cyber Security – A challenge facing all organisations cyber security is a challenge facing all organisations these days. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said it best when he said that cyber security is the greatest threat to the world since the atom bomb. His comment has a scary ring of truth to it.
Data breaches, ransomware attacks, and denial of service attacks are regular occurrences around the world today. It seems no one’s data safe or excluded from the intrusive eyes of hackers. In 2015, phishing scams increased 55 percent and ransomware attacks increased 35 percent. It is not just the individual who has to worry about protecting their personal data on private computers or mobile devices. Businesses need to be diligent in making sure that their information is secure and they need to protect the data of their customers as well.
Cyber Security Challenges facing all organisations
In 2013, Target was hit with one of the biggest data breaches of its kind in the United States. Hackers stole credit and debit card data from over 70 million people. This resulted in the stores sales suffering a bit as well as Target offering victims up to $10 million in settlement money. Victims may stop shopping in certain stores due to feeling like their data is not safe if they use credit or debit cards. Stores suffer legal repercussions in the form of class action lawsuits and financial losses when sales drop.
Even the 2016 United States Presidential Election was not off limits to hackers. During the election, Russian hackers sent phishing emails to the administration of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. When a staff member failed to see the danger of the infected email, the mistake allowed hackers to access private information. The information was then sent to WikiLeaks and made public. The Democratic Party had been hacked using a phishing scam. If the United States government can be hacked, then anyone can be targeted by hackers.
There are many types of cybercrime threats that affect businesses each year. The most popular ones are phishing scams and ransomware attacks. Phishing scams, like the one that compromised personal information of the Democratic Party, involve hackers sending fake emails made to look official. They could be made to look like a request from a member of management asking an employee to wire money. They may come in the form of a request to click a link and log into a site to update a username and password. Often cybercriminals will send an email making it look like the recipient’s login information has been compromised and telling them that they need to click a link to correct it. The link leads the user to a malicious site where the hackers on the other side collect the data and use it to do further damage. They may gain remote access to a company’s servers or other devices or steal personal data like social security numbers or credit card numbers and sell them to the highest bidder.
Ransomware attacks happen when hackers take control of a user’s computer through encrypting their files. This may be done by sending a phishing email and once the user clicks on it, malware is downloaded that encrypts the user’s files and holds them hostage until a ransom is paid to decrypt them. Cyber criminals often ask for bitcoins as payment before they will release the files.
A college in Los Angeles California recently fell victim to a ransomware attack. Los Angeles Valley College was advised by cyber security experts to pay the ransom, which was $28,000 bitcoins, in order to have their files decrypted. If you back up your files, you may be able to get out of paying the ransom and still be able to restore your files. They were not using a system to back up their files so they had no other option but to pay or lose everything.
Would you know if your company was hacked? Do you have a disaster recovery plan? It is very important to have a good cybersecurity plan in place before anything happens. A proper cybersecurity plan requires a layered approach across the entire company. Password security and encrypted emails are just the beginning in securing your data. Properly securing your servers and having strong firewalls is just as important. Staff education is also vital to keeping cybercriminals away. IT professionals like Stanfield IT are knowledgeable across all the different and latest cyber security threats and can provide expert advice on what businesses need to do to keep themselves safe based on their requirements and how their business operates. Contact us for all of your IT needs.
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