According to the FBI’s “2018 Internet Crime Report”, cyber threats were responsible for a staggering $2.5 billion in financial losses in 2018.
The pervasiveness of Internet-enabled exploitation, theft, and fraud is rising at an alarming rate, with more than 900 cyber-security complaints reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) every day.
2019 is proving to be a year with even more cyber-attacks, leaving security experts feeling like the worst is still yet to come.
Globally Prevalent or Emerging Cybersecurity Threats So Far
The following cybersecurity threats are what businesses and individuals should be protecting themselves against this 2019:
Supply Chain Attacks
Cyber-attacks that tamper with a company or industry’s supply chain are considered worst-case scenarios by security experts, especially when the supply chain’s AI is being targeted.
Business Email Scams
Scams that mimic or hijack actual email accounts through social engineering or account hacking to transfer funds or make purchase transactions.
Virtual Reality Gear Hacks
Hacked audio or video recordings, as well as other private information while virtual reality products are in use is now a real cyber security threat.
More people are becoming victims of “sextorion” — a type of extortion where the criminal sends a pornographic video of the victim to friends and family unless a ransom is paid.
What You Can Do to Prevent Modern Cyber Security Attacks
Large companies, small businesses, and individuals need to have security measures, ranging from simple to robust, if they want to prevent a modern-day attack.
The following practices are a good place to start to reinforce your Internet-based security and intercept would-be attackers:
1. Implement a Cyber Security Kill Chain
Having an effective cyber security kill chain is essential for small businesses, especially considering that over 70% of cyber-attacks target brands with fewer than 100 employees.
This is because attackers know that small enterprises typically have more digital assets than individual targets, but have weaker defense systems compared to large companies.
A cyber kill chain works by tracing the typical stages of a cyber infiltration from the reconnaissance stage up until completion.
Cyber security analysts typically use this model to detect and prevent advanced persistent threats, or APT.
2. Keep Software, Hardware, and Security Safeguards Up-To-Date
Companies are well-aware that their products, both physical and digital, should be updated to ensure that they’re not susceptible to the latest cyber security threats.
The moment these companies release updates for their products, download and install them.
Apart from installing updates, monitor the condition of your systems continuously to detect potential problems that arise, and secure your workplace Wi-Fi networks to prevent attacks.
3. Train Your People
The more your employees are aware about how cyber attackers think and the common threats that exist in the industry, the better off your business will be.
There are several programs and training courses that focus on employee awareness, as well as best practices that should be followed by workers both inside and outside the workplace.
If you’re creating training presentations yourself, consider using online photo-editing tools such as Venngage or Canva. They have a wide selection of presentation layouts for you to start with.
Alternatively, virtual reality training that simulates real-life cyber-attacks may be the key to controlling and preventing attacks from taking place.
This is an emerging trend and may prove vital to reducing the overall number of cyber-related attacks that take place in every industry.
4. Use Deception as Defense
Let’s face it — cyberattacks are imminent. It’s just a question of how and when it will take place.
On top of having a solid defense system, implementing a deception strategy is now vital if you want to safeguard your assets from theft or manipulation.
As soon as a cyber attacker is inside a network, he faces the challenge of finding his way around in search of digital assets.
This is where your deception strategy comes into play.
It’s possible to use the attackers’ tools against them and deploy methods to detect hackers and make them feel like they’ve successfully hacked, when in reality they’ve fallen into your trap.
The key to a successful deception strategy is to have one or more ‘honeypots’ that lure out hackers. There are open-source tools you can find online that can act as these honeypots:
5. Backup Your Files Regularly
If you’re not backing up your files, you’re at risk of losing them from a potential data breach.
Rely on automated backup programs that copy your files to storage so, in the event of an attack, you can restore these crucial data.
Ideally, a backup program should have features that let you schedule and automate the backup process so you won’t have to worry about remembering to do it.
These copies of backups should not be stored online. Instead, keep them in portable storage units so they don’t become inaccessible if your system suffers from a ransomware attack.
6. Consider Third-Party Security Control
It may come across as surprising, but many data breach issues begin from inside the company.
If your company hires consultants or outside organizations that have temporary access to your computer’s network, make sure to restrict access when they finish the job.
As much as you trust these third-party services, you can’t be completely sure that they’re not prone to cyber-attacks as well.
Furthermore, clarify your security policy when it comes to outside devices.
They may want to bring their own smartphones or external storage, which may compromise your own cyber security.
Modern-Day Cyber Threats Can Be Prevented
Having the right knowledge and following best practices can help strengthen your company’s cyber vulnerabilities. Keep in mind, however, that it doesn’t take much to let in a hacker.
The six tips shared in this post should help to strengthen your cyber security defenses by preventing or resolving attacks.
By doing this, not only are you protecting your valuable digital assets, but also protecting the business from breaches that could irreparably damage your reputation.