From retail hacks to stolen identities, cyber security threats present companies with unprecedented challenges. Explore seven ongoing security challenges you must be wary of in 2023.
Supply chain attacks involve hackers leveraging non-secure network protocols, server infrastructure and coding techniques to gain entry to build processes or software update mechanisms and distribute malware through them. Such attacks may be conducted either by external attackers or compromised insiders with access privileges.
Ransomware attacks involve hackers seizing control of a computer system or network and encrypting its data until they receive payment; often threatening to publish or delete sensitive files if victims don’t pay. Hackers gain entry by clicking links or downloading attachments, then spread malware via social engineering tactics.
Cybercriminals understand that big business equals large payouts, so they have turned away from attacking consumers to target organizations instead. This shift has created a major risk for businesses as the average cost of data breaches — including remediation, penalties and ransomware payouts — exceeds $75 billion each year.
An expert cybersecurity report stated that businesses typically experience ransomware attacks every 11 seconds – this figure may have decreased since previous reports; nonetheless, cybersecurity professionals must take note of this staggering statistic as they strive to prevent attacks from happening.
While most are aware that they should use passwords, alter default passwords and install anti-virus software on their devices, they’re often not mindful of other security risks. As a result of the pandemic’s rise, more employees than ever before connect from home directly to corporate systems — creating vulnerabilities. Furthermore, smart technology has become more prevalent within workplaces — from office printers and scanners to digital assistants and IoT devices that are easy to set up but provide additional points of entry into corporate networks.
Ransomware attacks have grown increasingly sophisticated over the past year as cybercriminals take advantage of new tools to extort money from victims. RaaS, which allows anyone without cybersecurity experience to launch attacks without first needing security expertise, has increased the threat surface. For instance, GandCrab exploits unprotected SMB connections to target large companies; SamSam uses brute force password guessing methods and attacks networks; while newly discovered Ryuk malware specifically targets healthcare networks.
Companies looking to mitigate ransomware attacks must first ensure a robust security posture by employing next-generation firewalls and advanced endpoint protection solutions, with advanced solutions capable of recognizing early read/write behavior of ransomware to block users and devices from data access, while log analysis solutions can detect precursor “dropper” malware.
Many malicious online operations require an army’s worth of resources and resources to carry out. Hackers commonly employ botnets – networks of Internet-connected devices (like computers, servers, mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) devices) that have been infected with malware to allow attackers to remotely control them for malicious use – in order to execute massive campaigns online.
Bots can be utilized for various cyberattacks, including click fraud campaigns and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS uses large networks or servers flooded with requests from multiple bots in order to make it unavailable to legitimate users; most bots leave minimal traces on devices so as to remain undetected by anti-virus software.
Hackers utilize botnets to spread malware infections and recruit more machines into their attack groups. Through various social engineering tactics such as spam and phishing, the bots harvest email addresses from websites, forums, guestbooks, etc. where users enter their emails before sending out fraudulent phishing emails masquerading as well-known brands and individuals in order to deceive users into downloading malware installations, visiting fraudulent websites, or clicking fraudulent ads.
Bots typically connect to their bot herders through IRC networks or direct connections to their C&C server, making disruption easier to accomplish; however, such disruptions could prove more challenging if multiple command and control centers operate across different countries.
Due to many devices within a botnet being inexpensive and having minimal security features, they can easily become compromised. Any device connected to the internet with an IP address and internet protocol (IP) address could potentially become part of a botnet – including PCs, laptops, smartphones, IoT devices and digital cameras. Cybercriminals have increasingly targeted these types of devices that lack anti-virus protection or updates as part of their botnet strategy.
3. Data Breach
Data breaches are cybercriminal attacks that expose confidential and proprietary data of an organization to unintended parties, often hackers who exploit this data in order to illicitly gain financial profits by selling it on the dark web or disrupting day-to-day operations by flooding systems with malicious code.
Cybercriminals may gain entry to company data by exploiting an unpatched vulnerability, using leaked or stolen credentials in brute force attacks or by downloading malware from compromised websites. They could also infiltrate employee devices with phishing emails that appear legitimate and of interest – leading them to inadvertently disclose passwords or download spyware on their devices. Leaks or stolen passwords are often leveraged as an easy way into accounts across sites like social media accounts, email accounts, banking apps and gaming platforms – giving cybercriminals access.
The 2021 Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Report found that organizations lost $6.9 billion last year to data breaches. Much of that loss resulted from hacker theft or other cybercriminal activities that exposed sensitive data to the public, as well as costs associated with investigating, notifying affected individuals, and taking measures to prevent future breaches – something any company must bear the full weight of.
Panera Bread inadvertently exposed 37 million customer records; more recently, Desjardins Credit Union in Canada experienced a data breach that compromised sensitive and financial data that was then shared with cybercriminals.
Insider threats are another cause of data breaches, including disgruntled or former employees who share confidential or proprietary information such as client lists, passwords or login credentials with third parties for financial gain or revenge purposes.
Other causes of data breaches may include inadequate security training, software vulnerabilities and third-party vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals may gain entry to company systems by stealing passwords posted by employees on social media or written on post-it notes; or by purchasing previously leaked login credentials known as credential stuffing attacks.
Cryptocurrencies have quickly evolved from digital novelty into a trillion-dollar technology with the potential to upend global financial systems. Yet their blockchain foundation presents security professionals with new risks they need to consider when planning for.
The blockchain is an electronic record of transactions that serves as a secure, transparent, and verifiable ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. Similar to bank balance sheets or ledgers, but instead owned by one central authority such as government or company it is distributed across the internet and validated by both computer users and independent third parties.
Malicious actors employ various tactics to compromise systems that support and exchange cryptocurrency. Attackers could target individuals’ wallets, exchanges or custodial services, networks or protocols. FireEye has witnessed numerous such attacks over recent years and expects attackers to continue targeting cryptocurrency exchanges and other critical services.
Malware attacks often rely on malware to gain entry and profit from cryptocurrency stored on compromised systems. Malware includes Trojans, ransomware, spyware and remote access tools; sometimes exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems and IoT devices like those offered by Romanian hacker group Outlaw is used. For instance, their methods involve exploiting known vulnerabilities that allow access through vulnerabilities in operating systems or IoT devices to compromise Linux servers or devices while mining cryptocurrency from these machines using known vulnerabilities exploited via exploited credentials stolen via exploiting known vulnerabilities exploiting known vulnerabilities by exploiting known vulnerabilities exploited via exploiting known vulnerabilities exploited through IoT device vulnerabilities exploited via exploited vulnerabilities exploited through exploited vulnerabilities exploited via known vulnerabilities in operating systems and Internet of Things devices; this hacker group specialises in exploiting known vulnerabilities exploited via exploiting known vulnerabilities exploited through exploiting known vulnerabilities exploited vulnerabilities exploited through exploited credentials stolen credentials stolen credentials from miner devices en mining cryptocurrency from them.
Cryptojacking, or cryptocurrency-mining malware, is another key threat that needs to be kept under consideration. Cybercriminals frequently use it as a method for monetising their malware; attackers have even utilized zero-day protection capabilities in an effort to remain undetected by antivirus systems. Therefore, it’s vitally important that all systems and software updates remain up to date, as well as installing robust content filtering solutions which protect against unknown downloads.
To reduce cryptojacking and other forms of malware threats, ensure your IT team has properly deployed and secured your cloud environment. Updating infrastructure will help thwart installation of cryptojacking programs; your IT teams should also keep an eye out for signs of compromised systems or unauthorised users.