Cybercrime Trends for 2018 and Tips to Improve Your Cyber Hygiene

by Katherine Bodendorfer

Cybercrime Trends for 2018 and Tips to Improve Your Cyber Hygiene 

The top takeaway from a recent Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), conducted by Verizon Enterprise Solutions incident response team, was that 58 percent of data breach victims are small businesses. The report is an excellent source to provide highlights of trending cybercrimes and the research is compiled using over 53,000 cybersecurity events, covering 2,300 data breaches from 65 countries.

Highlights of the Report:

Cybercriminals are targeting organizations personal data, and it's being carried out by outsiders (73%), organized crime syndicate (50%), insiders (28%), nation-states or state-affiliated (12%), involved partners (2%), and lastly, multiple parties (2%). The type of information they are compromising is Personal Identifiable Information (36%), payment information (34%), and banking information (13%).

Breakdown of Trending Threats:

  • Malware

-Regarding malware attacks, its reported that 92% had an email component to them.

  • Social engineering- Phishing, Ransomware, and Pretexting

-Social engineering essentially exploits human psychology by manipulating people into performing actions or revealing sensitive and confidential information, and this is seen through phishing and ransomware scams.

-Phishing is the attempt to gain sensitive information by a hacker disguising themselves as a trustworthy entity.

-Ransomware is malicious software that a hacker installs/activates, and once the hackers have access to the information they desire, they will lock the systems and refuse to release control of the data and computer until the victim pays the ransom.

-Pretexting is similar to phishing emails, but instead, it is more advanced and infers explicitly that the victim is manipulated through email by a credible story and a relationship built around trust with the attacker.

  • Hacking-use of backdoor

-Hackers use this portal to gain illicit access 

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)-error

-Hackers caused significant disruption and attack with misdirection-so while an organization is addressing and distracted by a systems issue, the hacker will take advantage by attacking somewhere else on the network.

  • Misuse of privileges

-Employee carelessness, intentional and unintentional (such as clicking on a malicious hyperlink in an email).

  • Use of stolen identifications

 

What Does this Mean?

At least one thing can be said about these findings, and that is cybercriminals continue to use known techniques (like phishing), some attacks have increased (social engineering), methods have become more complex (i.e., organized crime syndicate utilizing the service of hackers) and we have yet to stop them. It should be clear from the report that industries need to be proactively looking for cyber breaches, need stricter standards, and accountability needs to be adopted. No matter the size, organizations need to implement and secure measures to protect their sensitive information from top to bottom. While the threat from outside actors is real, the report shows that the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain comes from the inside as well. In other words, there is a human component rather than a technical component to the threats. However, it is also the people who can take appropriate action to combat these threats and be accountable.

Cybersecurity Tips to Improve your Cyber Hygiene

It should be clear that technology alone cannot prevent organizations from becoming victims, and it is critical to train and educate employees to be aware of hacking methods like phishing scams and hone their cybersecurity knowledge. Some tips and best practices that will help a company identify a cybercrime and combat a threat include:

1) Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Educate employees to be vigilant and suspicious of activity on their computers like emails from unknown senders, and hyperlinks with unusual requests. A good practice to avoid opening malicious links is hovering over the link in an email before clicking it. Hovering over a link will display its true URL, and then the employee can decide if it’s safe to visit.

2) Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Software and Back up Data

DLP can help identify, monitor and protect data in use, data in motion, and data at rest in computer systems. Also, backing up data will help minimize loss from a ransomware attack.

3) Incident Response Plan

Sometimes, no matter what cyber protection a company employs, an incident will occur. By implementing measures and having a plan and saving a hard copy of the plan, a company will know how to immediately react to a variety of cyber situations that could affect them.

4) Keep systems and applications patched and up to date to prevent vulnerabilitie.

5) Use strong passwords that are unique and change it often on a monthly basis.

6) Implement security controls that block unauthorized application from being installed and executed by users with privileged access like Application Whitelisting.

 

For more detailed tips and information on cybersecurity, refer to WhiteHawk's Top 3 Cybersecurity Tips for 2018.

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