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Top Cybersecurity Threats Right Now

Top Cybersecurity Threats Right Now

Bar none, cybersecurity has to be a major consideration for every business owner or manager in business today. The prevalence of people looking to rip your company off has never been higher; and that is the truth for nearly every company that uses the Internet for anything. Today, we take a look at some of the most serious cybersecurity threats that everyone should be cognizant of right now.

Shadow IT
In a lot of ways, productivity is a lot like the thing it produces, money. People will do anything to get more of it. Businesses, have a plan; and, while they also want to maximize productivity and money, they typically don’t put their whole enterprise in jeopardy to get a little bit more of it. Shadow IT is the process in which an employee will download and use a piece of software that hasn’t been tested or passed by a company’s IT administrator to try and get a little more done.

Often times, the employee is just showing initiative, with no real knowledge that by downloading and utilizing a certain off-brand software that they have just put their whole business in danger. This wouldn’t be such a major deal if it was an isolated incident, but studies show that nearly 80 percent of all employees admit to utilizing software that wasn’t selected, tested, and released for use by their IT administrator. These apps may have vulnerabilities that would-be infiltrators can take advantage of. That is why it is important to utilize the software that has been vetted by the company, even if that means losing out on a bit of productivity.

Cryptojacking
There are well over 1,500 different cryptocurrencies, and in 2018 crytojacking, the strategy of using malware to use a target computer’s resources to mine for cryptocurrency was a major problem for businesses. Since this is a computationally complex task, it significantly reduces the computer’s effectiveness and longevity. As a result, cryptojacking has become en vogue for hackers and others looking to mine cryptocurrency without the investment necessary to do it.

Most studies show that the effect of cryptojacking could get way worse in 2019 since the value of cryptocurrency has fallen significantly over the past year. This means more machines mining for crypto are necessary, and thus more attacks. Users are just learning how these attacks are carried out and how to protect their business against them.

Ransomware
While there was a reported reduction in the number of ransomware cases in 2018, it still remains a major concern for any business looking to build a comprehensive network security strategy. Ransomware, of course, is a strain of malware that encrypts parts of or entire computing systems and then demands payment in cryptocurrency in a set amount of time for safe return of the files/access.

Hackers using ransomware have taken to targeting healthcare organizations’ networks for the breadth of the sensitive data they hold on them. They’ve also began to target operational technology systems, since, as with healthcare, costs of restoration of these systems (rather than payment) are prohibitive. This produces a little more urgency to get the problem resolved.

Unsecured Internet of Things
The Internet of Things keeps expanding, but so does the security threats to networks as a result of security-light devices. With more and more devices presenting security problems for businesses and individuals alike, it becomes important to ascertain exactly what devices are present on your network at any given time. Remember, even if a security-less IoT device is connected to a network-attached smartphone, it still offers up a major vulnerability.

While this is a major threat, there has been a push to improve the security of IoT devices as of late. With more security-minded companies developing useful smart products, these concerns will begin to take a back seat. But until that shift has been well documented, you’ll want to be diligent in the manner in which you utilize IoT devices.

Phishing
No business goes very long without getting some type of phishing email. In fact, it is estimated that 156 million phishing emails are sent every day, making it the most used practice by hackers everywhere. The way it works is that since most accounts are secure enough not to be guessed outright, hackers search for ways for people to help them gain access to the accounts they want to get in to. Nearly every successful cyber attack begins with a successful phishing scheme.

A specific example called business email compromise (BEC) which targets specific members of an organization is responsible for over $12 billion in losses across the globe. Once thought to be an email scam that could be mitigated with strong spam filters, today’s phishing scam is taking on a new shape by utilizing text messaging, instant messaging, phone calls, and even the seemingly-benign social media quiz to gain access to business networks.

2019 is lining up to be another stellar year for business technology, and as more tech is used, more threats come with them. If you would like any more information about how to prioritize network security, give our IT experts a call at (202) 640-2737 today.

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