It’s been almost impossible to escape the news headlines revolving around cybersecurity lately. Whether it has been the current legislation in front of the U.S. congress – seen as a blueprint for the tech industry across the world – or for notable breaches, the subject is currently dominating our eyes and ears.
Its dramatic rise can be explained by any number of factors, of which the main one, we believe, is simply the sheer amount of devices and data that can be connected to any one network. In August of last year, we wrote a prospective piece on the concerns of the wider community in relation to cloud computing software, which eerily echoes on almost a year later.
Greater control over the management of who accesses the cloud software, of what we concluded with, has been shown to be an effective solution. However, as a wider community we now find ourselves in the situation where attacks are becoming much less noticeable and much more common to situations that we come across in our daily routine.
In this article, part one of what will be an ongoing focus on cyber security, we’re going to be looking behind the motives, approach, and common targets of such attacks. Knowing the cause is a large part of the solution in regards to cyber attacks, and will allow you to be in a better position to identify red flags when they arise.
Businesses, both large and small, have become easy prey in recent years purely for their cashflow. Cashflow that attackers largely see as easily acquired through a range of tactics and invasive strategies. Attackers are also aware that businesses are dear to their owners, and that through co-ordinated blackmail or extortion strategies, they’ll quickly hand over the ransom, so to speak.
In essence, cyber attacks on businesses are a quick pay day, akin to “back-of-the-truck” thefts. As a result, they are carefully planned in advance to have the whole affair over and done with very quickly, leaving the business owner no time to assess the risk involved. This is a large part of the frightening and callous nature of cyber attacks.
Another common option for cyber attackers is to pose as a customer or client asking a legitimate question with a file to download explaining further. When this file is downloaded, it largely attaches itself to the business’ email, sending out copy to that business’ database asking for payment to be made, citing dubious or vague reasons.
Regardless of the approach, the outcome is roughly the same; acquisition through dubious or malicious means. Start ups and well established small businesses seem to be a more common target, as opposed to medium sized and relatively young organisations. The reason for this is one of perceived vulnerability, that such entities would be more open to the approaches mentioned above.
In terms of personnel, these attacks more often than not are directed towards a general email account, and those that deal with these accounts are the target. The vagueness of the content that are found in these attacks is carefully constructed for this reason, and goes hand-in-hand with the generality of the account being used.
Unlike other forms of cyber attacks, such as malicious viruses, there is no one-stop software solution that blocks out all encroachments. Due diligence is the best way to avoid any attack of this type from severely damaging your business. You and your working staff or colleagues should always be on the lookout for any suspicious inbound material, making sure to diagnose any potential threats before they become a serious concern.