Cybersecurity Threats & Trends

Despite significant investment in cybersecurity, businesses are seeing more cyber-attacks that ever before. Remember back to Black Friday, October 21. We saw the largest DDoS attack of its kind, bringing down sites such as Twitter, Netflix and CNN. And things are trending worse.

There were almost 1000 reported data breaches in 2016 according to the ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center). In 2015, there were under 800. That’s about a 25% increase in reported incidents. Noting past threats and recognizing trends can be an important part in deterring future intrusions.

“Call now and we’ll send you a second set of ransomware free!!”

Almost 60% of ransomware infections were found to have been delivered through email and infected email transmissions increased by a whopping 6000% last year. Yes, that’s three zeroes.

Perhaps worst of all, many of those who were adversely affected simply considered it the cost of doing business. Nearly 70% of those hit paid the ransom. Look at these numbers (particularly the last one) and you can see why this will remain a problem. Hackers have every reason to continue a very profitable activity. There’s an underground market for open source ransomware, too.

In fact, anyone can build and launch ransomware from their own home. Buying a kit on the dark web is almost like shopping on late night TV. Yesterday’s ShamWOW is today’s AKBuilder ransomware kit. As a result, the threat of cyber-attacks has the potential to increase 10 fold in 2017.

Employee Error: Loose Lips Sink Ships

There’s a huge underground market for access to email accounts, phone numbers and private data, as we all know. Even on a locked iPhone, one can gain access through voice-activated commands.

Additionally, irresponsible use of mobile devices by employees continues to be a problem. Remember “jailbreaking” your iPhone? Some of those who chose to do so unwittingly sent their personal information to a server in China. Even foreign governments are in the hacking business.

What kind of name is Siri, anyway? Does she sound American?

“Hacktivism” is Here to Stay

If you run almost any kind of business, you may be in the crosshairs of a group representing a cause or political objective. These groups are becoming increasingly hostile towards those with alternative viewpoints and have been embracing the idea of hacking the sites of their adversaries.

We’re all familiar with WikiLeaks and the CIA debacle. One can debate whether the cause is good or bad. One cannot (or should not, in my view) condone cyber theft under any circumstances.  But as a society, we often look the other way when it suits us. As long as that’s the case, this problem will persist.

The Last Word

If you’re in the process of evaluating your network security and/or stability, I invite you to contact Beacon directly and speak with a BITS specialist. We’re happy to answer any questions and get you started on protecting your business’ proprietary information. Call us at 336.232.5675 or email klackey@beacontec.com.

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