While you’re busy running and growing your business, working hard to make money, cybercriminals are finding new and more sophisticated ways to steal it. They want to breach your IT system to steal your confidential data so they can hold your data for ransom, or get passwords and IDs to take cash directly from your bank accounts.
A new Forbes article reports that 2018 is shaping up to be a $7 trillion dollar year for cyber criminals. The report says that internet thieves are working overtime to develop new viruses that can fool anyone and get past the strongest security programs. Cyber-crime has turned into one of the most profitable crimes of the century.
In some cases, hackers download a ransomware virus and hold your data hostage until you pay the ransom. In other cases, they sneak into your system undetected and hide there. They can turn your computers into Zombies, then use them in any number of ways:
Are You An Easy Target?
Hackers are looking for computers and networks that are easy to infect with viruses. And many people including business owners are not aware of these scams. That makes it easier for hackers to complete their illegal tasks.
Cyber thieves have perfected the art of creating amazing phishing emails. They can craft a message that’s hard for even experts to spot. They know how to get your attention and make you click on an infected attachment. Their emails are eye-catching and they’re convincing. What would you do if you got an email that said something like this?
In each case, they use fear and urgency to try and get the user to click on the link before really looking the email over for anomalies. If people would just take a moment and look more thoroughly at the email, they’d notice that words are misspelled. You can hover over the “From” address and see that it is NOT coming from your bank. There are always little signs like this that reveal the truth—this is a phishing email and if you do click on the link, you’ll download a virus.
How To Download Malware or Ransomware
All it takes is one employee who isn’t paying attention to cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your computers. Once the virus is downloaded, it begins to encrypt all files.
If you’ve downloaded a ransomware virus, then all your computers will be locked and you won’t be able to access any files, folders or documents. You’ll most likely get a warning message on the monitor that says your files have been encrypted. There’s a clock showing you how much time you have to pay the ransom. Once you pay, they promise to send you the encryption key. If you don’t pay on time, the ransom amount goes up.
The FBI advises business owners not to pay the ransom. They remind everyone that paying the ransom doesn’t always ensure you’ll get your files back. Cyber thieves are not known for their honest traits.
Though all companies should now be backing up their data on a daily basis, some neglect this. When was your last back-up? Could you replace all your files and applications if they were stolen by thieves? In many cases, business owners are just not prepared for a data breach and yet, 179 million records were stolen in the U.S. alone during 2017.
The Evolution of Cyber Crime
With each new attack cyber thieves adapt the way they attack. They craft better phishing emails. They develop more intricate spear-phishing programs. Though these take more time and work, the pay-off is usually much bigger.
Spear Phishing targets the executives at a company. With social media sites now so prolific, it’s easy to find information on the CEO of any company. Now thieves can take that info and create a targeted campaign to impersonate a CEO or CFO. The financial damages can be extensive, not to mention the damage to your brand name.
How To Avoid Being A Victim
It’s important to get educated about cyber-crime. And train your employees so they’ll know what to look for. Hacking is not going away anytime soon, so it’s time for the business world to learn a few things so they can protect their assets.
Parkway Technology Solutions has a full suite of network security programs that can help you build an impenetrable fortress of security around your business.
If you’d like to learn more about how Parkway Tech can help you protect your business from the growing number of global cyber-attacks, please contact us.
Parkway Tech is your go-to security advisor in Winston Salem, North Carolina. We’ll assess your IT security and implement a plan to keep your data safe.