We all enjoy a good sale, but at what expense? Cyberthreats are rising exponentially in the ‘new normal’. Before we talk about how you can build a formidable defense against email attacks, let’s take a look at the top cyberthreats that frequently make their way into your inbox and wreak havoc.
Phishing involves hackers deploying various social engineering tactics to tempt users into clicking on malicious links and unwittingly giving up confidential information, such as user credentials. Hackers invest a tremendous amount of effort into assuming the identity of a trusted source, making sure that it is YOU who lets them into the system. Once they’re in, they can either install malware on your network’s systems, access and misuse sensitive data, or simply lock your systems and demand a hefty ransom. We talked about vishing, smishing and whale phishing previously.
Business Email Compromise (BEC) and Spear Phishing
In a business email compromise (BEC) scam, the attacker hacks into your business email account to impersonate employees or any of your organization’s important leaders with intent to defraud your company and its stakeholders into sending money or sharing sensitive data. Spear phishing works in a similar fashion wherein the attacker dupes the user by creating a façade that the malicious email originated from a trusted source.
If you want to get a fair idea about the damage a BEC scam can do to your business, take a minute and think of the massive financial and reputational loss your business would suffer if an attacker impersonates you and carries out fraudulent activities in your name.
“Dickey’s” BBQ didn’t know about their recent Dark Web sale. The chain hadn’t realized the breach until this batch appeared online, but the hackers already spent 15 months stealing cards from them. The consequences for the cardholders are dire, and the reminder to use cash next time is clear.
Let that sink in as we move on to the next threat.
Taking identity impersonation one step further, account takeovers exploit your compromised user credentials to target both your business’ and your financial stability and reputation. Cybercriminals can go to the extent of accessing other accounts, such as bank accounts and financial statements, to carry out fraudulent transactions. The 2020 Global Identity and Fraud Report by Experience revealed that 57 percent of enterprises reported higher fraud losses due to account takeovers. Simply put, the attacker will not just target your business, but utilize it as a gateway to also exploit customer data simultaneously.
Malicious Malware and Viruses
Although used interchangeably, malware and viruses differ on technical grounds. Malware refers to any type of malicious software, irrespective of how it works, but a virus is a specific type of malware that self-replicates after entering other programs. Nonetheless, both pose an enormous threat to your business’ IT environment.
A ransomware attack occurs when a hacker breaches your network’s security, encrypts your data and demands a hefty ransom for the restoration of that data. Now imagine your business coming to a complete standstill until you pay the ransom demanded. Not a pretty picture by any means!
Insider Threats: The Human Element
Insider threats are posed by individuals within your organization or closely related to it, such as current or former employees, vendors and partners. Acting unwittingly or out of malice, they can easily let an attacker into the system, leaving all your sensitive data exposed.
While your confidence in others is well-founded and justified, we ought to remind you – to err is human!
Last but certainly not the least deadly, misconfigurations in your email platform can expose your network to a host of threats. For example, it could allow the sending of emails without authentication. We’re pretty sure you know what would happen if a cybercriminal exploited this vulnerability and sent out emails impersonating anyone from the company’s executive level. Before you know it, you’d be knee deep in managing a full-blown PR crisis.
Passwords, and phishing, are still the most common means of verifying users’ identities and, without appropriate protection, can be easily compromised. Cyber criminals exploit weak and easily guessable passwords to hack into systems to steal sensitive information.
The Internet of Things or IoT is about extending the internet beyond computers and smartphones. Many of the gadgets you connect to the Internet often use default passwords that you should change to protect your data and property. Review your current passwords and check to see if you are on the is list of password fails and wins.
The weakness of any door is that legitimate people need to be able to get in and out. It’s almost certain that you’ve seen a phishing attack in action in your own daily life. A common tactic is to put a link in the email that takes you to a fake version of the real website. You try to log in to that fake site with your real credentials, which the attackers then grab and use on the real site. Test your cybersecurity skills and make sure you are doing the necessary things to stay alert.
Follow us to learn more about IT security solutions and monitoring. We can help you design a solution to meet your need. Here at ManagedTEK we strive to provide top security solutions. If you have an immediate IT need, you can always reach us at 707.205.3727. ManagedTEK’s goal is to create a plan specifically focused on each business that we serve. Technology made simple.