A vast majority of the population nowadays, excluding educated computer IT support, has certain preconceptions about hackers – they are usually seen as somewhat postmodern Robin Hoods, forced to hack for the greater good. Popular Hollywood movies helped in creating such prejudices, Swordfish for example, with Hugh Jackman and John Travolta in the leading roles.
In practice, hackers operate through cybergangs whose sole purpose is to commit different crimes. Stealing confidential information, identity theft and extortion are the most common among them. The business of hacking is well developed, and it manages a parallel illegal market of access to various business secrets, credit cards, and identity data. It functions in the same way as any other regular market. Each “product” has its price that varies depending on its value (for example, gold and corporate credit cards are more expensive than the standard ones). Moreover, sellers sometimes provide a warranty for their items.
One of the main goals for hackers is to take computers under their control, through an e-mail asking the recipient to click on a link. This action downloads a code that remains undetectable by an anti-virus program until it gets triggered. It is how PCs are turned into zombies, also known as bots.
Once hackers capture a certain number of computers, they can create a machine network, by running the scripts. These botnets can be used for various cybercrimes. Some of the most notorious is the DOS attack or denial of service attack. This event is meant to shut down a computer or network, making it inaccessible to its users. It unable victim to provide services and block communication between users. Typically, it targets banks and credit card gateways. This is how the work of entire organizations can be disabled in just several clicks.
Common method attacks include:
- Preventing legitimate traffic by flooding a network with too many external communication requests;
- Disrupting connection between two computers;
- Preventing a targeted victim from accessing a service and,
- Disrupting service to a targeted system or individual.
Recommended protection: Avoid clicking on e-mail attachments or links to unfamiliar websites, especially if the sender is unknown.
Here are some additional methods hackers can use to threaten your network’s security. Business IT support in Spokane, WA can help you to deal with them.
Sometimes hackers install Worms and Trojans programs, in the form of:
- Viruses that destroy files, damage websites, and cause a loss of data;
- Spyware that collects individual Internet surfing habits, to display unwanted ads, and to harvest advertising income, and;
- Keyloggers that record strokes on a keyboard, sending the information to the hacker, to steal login, password, and other confidential data.
Recommended protection: Never click on attachments nor open e-mails from unfamiliar senders. Ban your employees from doing the same, as well as from using peer-to-peer file-sharing programs.
Hackers may use various external devices, such as Smartphones, USB drives, and iPods for stealing large amounts of data at incredible transfer rates without detection.
Recommended protection: Limit staff access to only the data necessary for the job and be aware of audit logs of sensitive information. Moreover, advise employees to report any notice of a possible external device connected to your network’s computer.
Laptops are another common victim of cyber theft. Furthermore, internet-connected business phones have some of the same security risks as computers. Phone systems in Spokane companies should also be protected.
Recommended protection: Encrypt sensitive information, protect passwords, and limit the information stored on laptops and phones to only the data necessary for the job. Moreover, advise employees to put the most sensitive information on an encrypted external storage device, separately from the laptop and phone.
Outsourcing, despite being a very popular and cost-effective business model nowadays, can also put your company at high risk, if you don’t take some precautions.
Recommended protection: In the first place, be sure to deal only with reputable outsourcing companies and consultants. Before the cooperation, check their references and perform due diligence first. Offer only contracts with clauses for preventing any disputes over the ownership of intellectual property, data transfer, and data return.
Finally, don’t miss consulting legal issues professional, and/or computer network support in Spokane, WA. They can show you the most effective ways to protect your organization’s data and to build a strong and secure technological rampant around it. It is not Robin Hood being your cyber enemy. The antihero is Sheriff of Nottingham, disguised in the legendary heroic outlaw.