As the information superhighway continues to evolve, cyberattacks inevitably continue to grow in number. We might think of cyber attacks as a single targeted attack. However, the grim reality is that hackers and scammers hedge their bets by attacking many people and companies at the same time, hoping to get as much information from them as possible in one fell swoop. It isn’t always a direct attack, and it isn’t always obvious what happened until it is far too late. Here are four ways a cyberattack can compromise your data and put your organization at risk.

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Stolen Credentials

Stolen credentials can cause a lot of damage. When a hacker or scammer gets a hold of an employee’s passwords and usernames, it’s like watching a kid in a candy store; there’s a lot of chaos, a lot of destruction, and, unfortunately, sometimes you can’t do anything until after the damage is done. Bad actors may even place your credentials for sale on the dark web to make a quick buck. An excellent way to see if this has happened to you or anyone in your organization is to check your email address at Have I Been Pwned. It can give a list of when and where the email address was breached and an idea of how risky the email and password may be to continue use.

The best way to prevent this scenario from happening is to enforce strong passwords and frequent password changes. Not only that, but adding a need for two-factor authentication can boost your chances of staying safe. Lastly, monitor your employee’s account usage so you can put an end to any unusual activity. You can do this by using services like Cisco Umbrella to see and control what your employees do. Some of these services offer email copying, screen recording, and message tracking. Services like Umbrella also offer blacklisting of risky websites through URLs and IP addresses, making sure employees can’t accidentally find themselves on a dangerous site.

Outdated Systems

If there is one truth about older systems of any kind is that they typically have a lot of bugs. We all avoid downloading the next update on our computers; it’s easier just to work until your computer demands the update. Unfortunately, the longer you take to update means more time for hackers to break in using the specific bugs the update was supposed to fix. If this is server related, you might be holding back on the update due to financial constraints. While understandable, you still leave yourself vulnerable to attack.

To avoid being under threat of hacking, try to keep up on all your systems. That could be anything from data protection to communication servers. By keeping your systems updated, you’ll be better protected from scammers/hackers that want in and know all the old ways to do so.

Phishing

Phishing emails are emails designed to trick you into giving up sensitive information to gain access to your networks or extort money in some way. Phishing has come a long way from the “Nigerian prince” scam, asking you to send money. They impersonate legitimate companies and take on entire personas to get you to trust them enough to give them the information they’re looking for or click a malicious link that infects your computer and network. Phishing has become complex and increasingly harder to identify.

You can defend against phishing emails by using a secure email gateway program. Secure email gateways are essentially a firewall for your email, blocking outgoing and incoming emails that contain dangerous elements (malware, trojans, essential documents) from wreaking havoc to the company. It’s also important to educate yourself and your team on details that make it easier to recognize a phishing email. Don’t just make it a one and done focus. Education should be ongoing and emphasize the key role every person plays in your organization’s cybersafety.

Malware

Malware is any software downloaded onto a computer or server to cause damage intentionally. Malware is bad news, mainly because it typically costs companies the most out of all cyberattack strategies. Usually costing $200,000 on average, malware can quickly put an end to any small and medium businesses that get infected. Malware can come from anywhere; emails, network communications, etc. To defend yourself from malware, you have to make sure your company is knowledgeable about how to detect it and how to respond to it. The best way to identify it is to have 24/7 monitoring and a team dedicated to stopping the malware.

The threat of cyberattacks can feel overwhelming at times but through ongoing education and staying on top of current trends, you can mitigate your organization’s risk. As security experts, Secure Data can help by taking a holistic look at your organization’s security policies and providing a comprehensive assessment to help you know where you stand and how to plan for the future. Click the button below for a free Essential Security Assessment.