5 Common Hacking Techniques for 2020

Hacking techniques are ever-evolving, and it’s important to keep up with new threats.

Hackers are usually after two things from your business: data or money. Usually they’re motivated by both, as uncovering a wealth of data can help them to cash in. 

Compromised data can cost you a lot. “The average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million as of 2019,” according to the Ponemon Institute. Larger corporations aren’t the only targets. According to a data breach investigation by Verizon, “43% of breach victims were small businesses.”

Are you doing everything you can to protect your organization? Discover our top  tips here.

Reputational repercussions and recovery costs from a well-executed hack could put you out of business. Prosper in 2020 by educating your employees on the most common hacking techniques causing damage to your organization's environment everywhere this year:

Social Engineering & Phishing 

Social engineering is an attempt to get you to share personal information, usually by impersonating a trusted source. 

Many types of social engineering bait come in the form of phishing emails, whereas a clever hacker sends you a message that looks like it’s from someone you know, asking you to do something, like wire them money, or to click/download an infected attachment to see more. 

“The top malicious email attachment types are .doc and .dot which make up 37%. The next highest is .exe at 19.5%,” according to Symatec’s Internet Security

Threat Report, so be cautious of opening these types of attachments. They can infect your device with malware, giving bad actors control of your data. 

What you can do: Warn your employees to never give out private business information over email, to think before opening any attachments and educate them on how to avoid email scams.

Malware-Injecting Devices

Cybercriminals can use hardware to sneak malware onto your computer. You may have heard of infected USB sticks, which can give hackers remote access to your device as soon as they’re plugged into your computer. 

All it takes is for one person to give you a malware-ridden USB stick, and by simply plugging it into your computer, you’re infected. Clever hackers are using cords now to inject malware— like USB cables and mouse cords— so it’s crucial to always think before plugging anything into a work device or into a personal advice with access to work-related data.

What you can do: Educate your employees on physical malware-injection methods and caution them to stop and think before plugging in an unknown drive or cable.

Missing Security Patches

Security tools can become outdated as the hacking landscape advances, and require frequent updates to protect against new threats. However, some users ignore update notifications or security patches, leaving themselves vulnerable.

It’s not just antivirus software that needs patching. “Eighteen percent of all network-level vulnerabilities are caused by unpatched applications – Apache, Cisco, Microsoft, WordPress, BSD, PHP, etc.,” according to EdgeScan’s Vulnerability Statistics report. Your applications need constant attention as well to keep bad actors from exploiting holes in your security.

What you can do: Ensure that all of your antivirus and applications are routinely updated as security patches become available.

Cracking Passwords

Hackers can obtain your credentials through a number of means, but commonly they do so through a practice called keylogging. Through a social engineering attack, you could accidentally download software that records your keystrokes, saving your usernames and passwords as you enter them. This and other forms of “spyware” are malware that track your activity until a hacker has what they need to strike. And it’s not just downloading you have to worry about, attackers can deploy malware on the users machine if they are in your environment and capture your credentials via keylogging too. 

There are also password cracking programs that can run letter and character combinations, guessing passwords in a matter of minutes, even seconds. For instance, a five-character password could have about 100 different combinations, and a savvy password cracker could run through them all in seconds.

What you can do: Use a password management tool, which securely houses your company credentials. These tools can often auto-generate lengthy, diverse character passwords that are difficult for hackers to bruteforce guess— and autofill for your employees for easy access to their tools. Consider also looking into encryption and multi-factor authentication methods to shield your data behind numerous layers of protection. 

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)

This hacking technique is aimed at taking down a website, so that a user cannot access it or deliver their service. DoS attacks work by inundating the target’s server with large influxes of traffic. The amount is so frequent and high that it overloads the server by giving it more requests than it can handle. Ultimately, your server crashes and your website goes down with it.

Larger businesses can get hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which is a synchronized attack on more than one server or website, potentially taking down numerous online assets. 

What you can do: Use a cloud protection service or DDoS mitigation services to protect your business from a site takedown.

Educate Your Team on Cyber Vulnerabilities 

Commonly, hacks happen as a result of human error. Someone on your team opens an infected email attachment and unleashes malware that spreads across your organization.

Give your staff the training they need to reduce your threat landscape, with live hacking demonstrations and safeguards from the world’s most famous whitehat hacker: Kevin Mitnick. Book Kevin to educate your team today.

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Topics: Social Engineering

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