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Oct 16, 2018

6 Current Cyber Threats and How to Combat Them

6 Current Cyber Threats and How to Combat Them

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity continues to be a vexing concern for security professionals. As the industry focuses on cybersecurity awareness month this October, it’s an opportune time to get up to speed on the latest cyber threats as well as take measures now to combat them.

1. Cyber-Physical Security Vulnerabilities

These are some of the most critical current cyber threats, targeted towards infrastructure, power grids and transportation, including older ships, trains or planes that are especially vulnerable to cyber attacks. Whether the attacks wreak immediate destruction or try to extract ransomware for a “cure,” these threats are deadly and real.

Make sure that the critical software protecting your physical security is 100% up-to-date and monitored 24/7.

2. Big Data Breaches

Where there are large collections of people’s sensitive personal information, there will always be thieves attempting to snatch it. Data breaches have increasingly plagued companies with bigger and bigger exploits – and have exposed almost half of the U.S. population to the dangers of identity and other forms of theft. Just this week, Google+ revealed that they suffered a breach that affected approximately 500,000 users back in March. The social network is now shut down.

Companies that capture users’ web behavior may be especially at risk because these companies aren’t subject to the strict regulations that keep banks and other companies with sensitive information in line. Author of Future Crimes, Marc Goodman, says, “When one leaks, all hell will break loose.”

Avoid this issue and keep your website secure with the latest security tools and a team of experts.

3. Rampant Ransomware

Cybercriminals are more emboldened by their ransomware attacks, which are estimated to have ratcheted up about $5 billion in damages in 2017. While cities like DC and Atlanta have managed to thwart criminal efforts and get their systems up and running again without paying a ransom, many companies are forced to acquiesce to the hackers to get their valuable functionality back. Although backing information up on the cloud is a good solution, the cloud is not immune to ransomware attacks either. One of the most powerful malware strains, Petya, rocketed through people’s backups on Dropbox too.

Make sure to back up your data continuously to a safe place like an unconnected hard drive or a secure site in the cloud.

4. Cryptocurrency Pirating

Another way for hackers to gain access is through cryptojacking, or attacking hardware in order to mine cryptocurrency. Criminals create a script that resides within a vulnerable website, and unprotected computers then download the script. In addition to stealing money, criminals also steal valuable computer processing power, since the computers that house cryptocurrency are very powerful. This latest cyber threat fast approaches the popularity of ransomware, and makes hospitals, banks, airports, and other important entities vulnerable targets.

To counter this threat, invest in good anti-virus and anti-malware solutions and always keep your software up to date, as well as your browser.

5. Using AI for No Good

AI provides criminals with an effective tool to automate attacks and expand their coverage of targets. With software that easily mimics human writing, machines can continually spear phish prospective victims, directing targeted emails or alerts that trick people into downloading malware or sharing their important data. As these AI strategies become more sophisticated, they’ll also get better at tricking the “sandboxes” or security programs set up to deter them.

To protect your organization against these threats, education is key. Make sure to let all employees know what these emails look like, and always be cautious when opening an attachment from someone you don’t know.

6. Smart Phones Shipping with Issues

In recent years, hackers have started to program malware into phones before they even ship to the U.S. Since phones have become such rich repositories of our both our work and personal lives, this clever strategy capitalizes on a large amount of sensitive information. This year, the banking Trojan called Triada was embedded in dozens of low-cost Android phones.

If the malware wasn’t built in, hackers are making it easy to add to your phone. Malicious apps are everywhere. Last year, 700,000 “problematic” apps cropped up in the 3.5 million apps available through the Google Play Store. These apps could phish for information, steal information, intercept texts or even duplicate another app.

Be certain that you know what you’re downloading, and avoid buying cheaper phone models that you aren’t as familiar with.

Have You Secured Your Company Against These Threats?

Cyber threats are proliferating, but security professionals have the tools to thwart them. IST’s cybersecurity team deploys the latest solutions in this ongoing arms race against current cyber threats, both for the government and corporate sectors. Contact us here to learn more.