Millions of individuals and companies all over the world connect to the Internet every day, making it a necessary tool in daily communication, information dissemination, education, business, and entertainment.
With most major personal and business transactions now occurring online, criminals found a new venue where they can exploit individuals and companies. The vast amount of personal and sensitive information, such as social security and credit card numbers, being entered and accessed through the Internet makes it a very attractive target for these cyber criminals.
The Many Forms of Cyberthreats and Attacks
According to the 2016 Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec, almost half a billion identities were exposed in 2015 as personal records from companies were stolen or lost. There were also over one million web attacks against people each day in 2015 because almost 75% of all legitimate websites had vulnerabilities that put their site visitors at risk.
The report also saw a 55% increase in spear-phishing campaigns, a type of social engineering attack, against employees of large and small businesses. Social engineering in network security is the psychological manipulation of people to reveal confidential information and perform actions that put organizations and individuals at risk of cyber-attacks. Spear-phishing – targeted attempts to steal sensitive information through fraudulent emails – is the most successful form of social engineering, accounting for 91% of all attacks.
For 2016 and 2017, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and ransomware attacks are seen as the two biggest cybersecurity threats. In October 2016, Dyn, a company that acts as a switchboard for the internet in the US, was bombarded with a series of DDoS attacks – a straightforward but highly effective tactic that overloads a network or web server with illegitimate web traffic to render it useless. The hackers infected millions of Internet-connected devices with a malware called Mirai, and disrupted access to globally known websites including CNN, the New York Times, PayPal, Twitter, and Spotify, across the US and even in parts of Western Europe. The intensity and quantity of DDoS attacks are already expected to increase this year.
Ransomware is among the oldest and most common form of cyberattack used by online criminals to extort money from consumers and companies. This type of malware uses “data kidnapping” where attackers prevent users from accessing their data through encryption and demand for payment for to regain control and access over the users’ files. According to the annual Global Response Intelligence Grid report published by SonicWall, there were 638 million ransomware attacks in 2016, showing a 167% increase from the 3.8 million incidences reported in 2015. These figures will only grow in 2017 as attackers continue to innovate in their tactics to extort money from organizations.
Protect yourself and your business from cyber criminals
As ruthless as these cyber criminals are, individuals and businesses should be as relentless in their efforts to safeguard their data and information. Educating yourself, becoming aware of these cyberthreats, and fully understanding their risks are the first steps in protecting yourself and your business against these attackers. Training your employees regarding relevant cybersecurity measures will also ensure that everyone is aware of the importance of network security in the workplace and even outside of the office. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to unknown emails or suspicious links, especially those requesting for information or asking you to click on a link.
Distracted and stressed employees are also more vulnerable to social engineering attacks and inadvertent errors. Make sure that your staff members are focused on the most important parts of your business by taking off the burden of non-core activities from them and hiring a trusted outsourcing company.
An expert in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) solutions, Infinit-O offers a range of services that span across various sectors including IT, research, back office, contact center, finance and accounting, and healthcare outsourcing. Infinit-O helps companies grow their businesses amidst all the technological challenges they are facing by using tried-and-tested networks and software, providing clients with quality outsourcing services that have a high level of security and enhanced efficiency. Check out how Infinit-O can help you save on costs by providing you a team of qualified cybersecurity professionals to attend to your company’s needs.