Two of the fastest growing cybercrime attack types over the past year were ransomware and business email compromise, and both have become quite lucrative for hackers and thieves. The increasing popularity of these methods is due to their easy implementation and execution, along with the vast potential for profitability. Understanding how these strategies work and how to defend against them is the first step in the battle.
Much like typical viruses and malware, ransomware blooms as users open contaminated attachments or click on unvetted links. In an instant, the screen changes to notify the user that their computer has been locked down and they must submit payment for the attack to be lifted. This lockdown is usually accomplished by encrypting the data on the device or overwriting the system password. Regardless of whether payment is actually made by the victim, chances of getting the data back are minimal.
Why the Rapid Growth?
This technique is evolving very quickly, with new types popping up every day. Additionally, a whole new Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) industry has arisen, making it so simple to get started that even an entry-level criminal finds success quickly without much expertise or technical knowledge. This segment of cybercrime is already drawing in millions of dollars per year with no signs of slowing down.
Another Major Business Threat
Companies are no strangers to theft attempts through phishing and other common hacks, but now must be cognizant of a new tactic known as business email compromise (BEC). An email is sent to a company user, appearing to be from another member of the staff (usually an executive-level person). The requests are framed as an emergency request to transfer money. At first glance it appears to be sent by a legitimate party since these criminals have done their homework to discover key personnel within the organization.
Of course, any funds that are sent would go to the accounts of nefarious villains rather than toward company interests. The scam can be quite effective if it is well-crafted, and even large companies have unwittingly lost millions by complying with the hoax. Given that the leadership teams of large companies are frequently posted online, the necessary intel is easy to acquire.
Fortunately, an increasing number of software manufacturers are evolving to keep consumers and businesses safe. From more intelligent and timely web browser patches to new anti-ransomware solutions, weapons for prevention are becoming more prevalent. One of the most effective tools for preventing any security risk is educating staff to be aware of creative crime strategies and watchful for unusual circumstances. A major proportion of security breaches are the result of human error that may have been easily prevented through adequate training and awareness.
Ransomware and other creative methods of system infiltration will continue to grow and evolve with technology as long as criminals are encouraged by the success of their attempts. To learn more about protecting your company from the scourge of cybercrime, contact Copper State Communications today.