As we wrap up National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) we're also welcoming Halloween! This is the time of the year that the fictional monsters come out to play, but what about the monsters hiding behind a keyboard all year long? That's right, cyber criminals are the monsters who are out and about 365 days per year, disturbing the peace and unleashing chaos on end users. Here are our 7 cyber attack facts you should know:
1.) Social Media is a Cyber Criminal's Paradise
In 2018, it's almost unheard of for someone to not have at least one social media account. There over one billion people with active Facebook accounts. In fact, if Facebook was a country, it would be the most populated country in the world. With that being said, social media has become the perfect hunting ground for cyber criminals looking to unleash an attack. Phishing and scams run rampant on social media; it is estimated that 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised every single day. This is possible when one person's account is compromised, their unsuspecting friends may follow suit by clicking on an untrustworthy link or message attachment. Beware of where you click!
Educating yourself about what to look for when it comes to an iffy looking message or link can make all the difference in protecting yourself from social media cyber attacks. By securing your passwords and setting up security settings like two-factor authentication, you can be one step ahead of the game.
2.) People are the Weakest Link - Social Engineering is Hot
Social engineering is all tricks and no treats. These cyber attacks involve some variation of manipulation or fooling the unsuspecting victim into handing over sensitive data. A social engineering attack is conducted typically via phone and invokes a sense of fear or urgency within the recipient. Those emotions then lead to the fact that the recipient thinks they need to act fast to be compliant. They act be providing the cyber criminal with sensitive information or by clicking on a dangerous link. Social engineering relies on the recipient not being trained well enough to notice that the message is of malicious intent. Phishing is the most common social engineering attack. Other variations can include IRS scam phone calls, Facebook message scams, or asking the user to click on an unfamiliar link.
Sadly, criminals have wised up to the fact that not everyone who uses the internet or email is tech savvy. Educating your employees on what to look out for when it comes to social engineering is a great step at protecting your business’s network. Employees are the weakest link when it comes to protecting your business’s data. Training employees about email security awareness is critical, and only one step that you should be taking when it comes to securing your network.
3.) Cyber Attacks Can Happen Fast
In the time it takes you to make your bed in the morning, another person has become the victim in a cyber attack. Since 2013, there have been over 3 million records stolen from data breaches every day, that averages out to about 44 every second of the day. In a world where everything is connected and people of all ages are digitally inclined, everyone is at risk. Cyber crime is the biggest threat to every company or person with a connection to the internet. There is no slowing down when it comes to cyber attacks.
Brushing up on your knowledge and educating your friends and family on security awareness is a great step in protecting your devices and data. Cyber attacks don't just happen to big businesses, they don't discriminate. An average end user at home with little to no cyber security protection is just as vulnerable to an attack as anyone else. Education, strong account management, and picking out good protection software is key in the rapidly changing online environment we have.
4.) Small Businesses Are Big Targets
43% of cyber attacks are geared toward small businesses. Without the proper tools and protection put in place, the damaged caused by a cyber attack could cause a small business to close its doors . Smaller organizations tend to be hot targets because of their lack of manpower and tools to combat a cyber attack. These days, ransomware attacks choose small businesses as their targets because they are more likely to pay up to get their data back. Your data is of no use to a cyber criminal, but it means the world to the success of your business.
On the not so scary side, there are options for small businesses owners when it comes to protecting their IT infrastructure. Managed IT Services is a great option for businesses of all sizes. When you choose Managed IT, you'll be working with a team of IT professionals to protect your business from all things cyber security that may go bump in the night.
5.) The Dark Web is Extensive and Dangerous
The dangers of the dark web could be a horror story of its own. The dark web is still part of the World Wide Web, but it is only accessible to those with the software and knowledge to get there. It isn’t a part of the everyday internet. It is filled with illegal activity, the silk road, and cyber criminals looking to wreak havoc. Criminals can use the dark web to buy illegal items, collect personal information on individuals, and partake in other illegal activities. Average online users have no need to visit the dark web. In fact, you can find yourself flagged for risky activity and end up on a watch list just for visiting. The dark web is a dangerous place and even the slightest bit of curiosity can land end users in hot water, even if you didn’t have malicious intent in the first place.
One thing about the dark web that is extremely unsettling is the fact there is no way to guarantee that your personal information isn’t available out there. The best ways to protect yourself and your personal information from ending up on the dark web are to be aware of your information, stay up-to-date on the latest data breaches, and stay off the dark web. Calling this side of the internet dark makes things sound scary. The dark web is a scary place. There’s no denying that.
6.) Identity Theft Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
In 2017, 16.7 million people were affected by identity theft. Since 2012, that number has continued to climb by a minimum of 1 million additional people each year. The main reason that identity theft has continued to climb is due to mass data breaches that happen each year. When a data breach occurs, sensitive information like names, Social Security numbers, addresses and more can be exposed. Data breaches can have a huge impact on identity theft as the compromised data is exactly what criminals need to steal someone's identity. One large example of this is the Equifax breach that occurred in 2017. When the major credit reporting agency was compromised last year, so were millions of customers.
While it is impossible to completely prevent identity theft, there are things that people can do to protect themselves. Some of the tips and tricks are even as simple as regularly changing your password or securing your physical mailbox at home. Additionally, one of the best things you can do is to be aware of which companies have had data breaches recently. If you do business with them, take action to protect yourself.
7.) Targeted Cyber Attacks are On the Rise, but There is Good News
Targeted attacks and cyber criminals are finding ways to continue to be resilient and successful in their efforts. The number of targeted attacks have doubled in the past year. Victims are being hit with ransomware and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that leave immeasurable amounts of destruction in their warpath. Cyber criminals are getting crafty with their execution of these attacks because businesses are getting smart about managing their security.
Even though there has been an increase in the number of targeted attacks, businesses and security experts are working around the clock to fight back. 55% of organizations took one week or less to detect a breach. While it's scary that targeted cyber attacks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, it's good to know that businesses are prioritizing security. Being proactive rather than reactive to the cyber threats that could harm your business is the key to success in protecting yourself and your people.
Managed IT Services with SumnerOne
We have more good news, you don’t have to be scared of cyber security. Our team of experts at SumnerOne are here to help you and your business get a hold of your network security and work with you to stay protected. When you choose to work with us for your Managed IT Services needs, you get an entire team of IT experts working around the clock to protect and monitor your network. Long gone are the days of installing anti-virus software and hoping for the best, or relying on a break-fix method for security. Contact SumnerOne to receive an assessment today. Happy Halloween from your friends at SumnerOne!