Updated: Nov 17th, 2020
Imagine an office building. The staff punches in at 9 AM and out at 5 PM. They take an hour for lunch. They get paid twice a month. It’s like every company you know with one major difference: their field of expertise is cybercrime.
There are still plenty of lone hackers who scour the web for an easy score. But over the past 20 years, hacking has become so lucrative that it’s now a fully developed black market industry. And even worse, cybercrime is increasingly state-sponsored and hack-for-hire, meaning companies or individuals hire hackers to seek revenge or for a competitive advantage.
What is the Routine for These Elite Hackers?
First, they select a target. No organization is too small to be considered profitable. For example, although your local urgent care clinic may only have about ten employees, their server contains valuable information like addresses, medical history, social security numbers, and credit card numbers.
Next, the hackers plan out in detail which infiltration techniques they are going to use.
Once the criminals gain access using their preferred method, it’s rarely a quick raid. They take their time collecting personal and financial information belonging to clients, vendors, employees, and the company itself. According to research by Booz Allen Hamilton, the “dwell time” (or the amount of time a hacker remains undetected) can be 200 days or more.
When the hackers have everything of value, they turn to the dark web to sell the stolen information to the highest bidder.
Who is watching your back when it comes to cybersecurity? Without the right tools and planning, you can face the top cybersecurity threats of 2020 and beyond.
The Top 8 Cybersecurity Threats of 2020
- Phishing Emails Malicious emails are consistently in the list of the top cybersecurity threats because they are so difficult to stop. According to research firm Fire Eye, generic spam emails have an open rate of only about 3%, while spear phishing emails have an open rate of about 70%! With one variant, called spear phishing, the criminal impersonates a real person that the recipient knows and encourages the recipient to open an attachment or click on a malicious link. Without proactive training and testing to identify spear phishing attempts, recipients are often tricked by these attacks. And the consequences of downloading malware or accidentally granting unauthorized access can be devastating.
- Remote Worker Endpoint Attack As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic millions of employees are working remotely for the first time, yet more than 50% of companies lack remote work policies. With an increase in employees working from home, often using unsecured, outdated, and poorly monitored hardware and networks, cybersecurity firm WatchGuard estimates that 25% of all breaches in 2020 will happen outside of a company’s security perimeter.
- Cloud Jacking Allowing a hacker to gain access to cloud-based platforms, also known as cloud jacking, can be just as catastrophic as allowing them to enter traditional hardware-based environments. According to TrendMicro, misconfiguration, human error, and insufficient security measures can open up your cloud environment to cross-site scripting attacks, SQL injection attacks, malicious code attacks, and more.
- Denial-of-Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks A Denial-of-Service attack prevents legitimate users from accessing information or other computer resources by overwhelming a system so completely that it cannot respond. A Distributed Denial-of-Service attack is also focused on slowing system resources down to a crawl, but a DDoS attack is launched from multiple host machines that were infected by malicious software controlled by the attacker.
- Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attack With a Man-in-the-Middle attack, a hacker intercepts private communications by coming between the sender and the recipient. In some cases, the hacker is inserting themselves to steal valuable information, while in other cases they are altering the content, often by inserting malware that can infect the recipient.
- Drive-by Download Attack With Drive-by Download attacks, cybercriminals hijack insecure websites and plant a malicious script into the HTTP or PHP code. Sometimes the script forces a malware download onto a website visitor’s system, or the malicious script may seamlessly redirect the visitor to a hacker-controlled site.
- SQL Injection Attack When a website communicates with a SQL database, there is an opportunity for hackers to strike. A SQL Injection attack exploits weaknesses in the way the database was configured, allowing the attacker to insert commands that grant them control over the data.
- Malware Attack. Microsoft defines malware as “any software designed to cause damage to a simple computer, server, or computer network.” There are many kinds of malware. But two specific kinds elevate malware among the top cybersecurity threats: viruses and worms. Having a virus on your computer is innocuous – unless you activate it. At that point the virus can alter, copy, and delete files, as well as spread to computers on the same network. With worms, no activation is necessary. Once the worm has been introduced into a system, it self-activates and replicates across the network. It can even spread via the internet to computers on other networks.
How to Address The Top Cybersecurity Threats
A highly experienced Managed Services Provider like TCG has the resources and expertise to address these growing concerns. When you consider the number of possible security weaknesses and the enormity of the risk, suddenly the solution becomes clear.
You need a Managed Services Provider that can:
- Provide candid assessments of your security posture, make recommendations, and rapidly implement changes.
- Monitor logged data from a wide variety of sources and alert you of vulnerabilities and potential breaches.
- Install and configure world-class antivirus/antimalware software.
- Administer ongoing dark web scanning and proactively notify you of a breach.
- Conduct cybersecurity awareness training and testing, including realistic phishing campaigns.
- Secure your staff’s access to corporate resources – whether they are in the office or not.
- Review existing computer infrastructure, networks, and cloud environments and make changes to enhance security.
- Shut down access when an employee is terminated and notify you if credentials are ever misused.
TCG can address the top 8 cybersecurity threats of 2020 and fulfill the rest of your IT needs. Contact us to learn more today!