Businesses of all scopes and sizes face a constant bombardment of cyberthreats in the form of malicious software, social engineering scams, and more. It’s becoming more common for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to store high-value data like login credentials, payment data, and personal information. More businesses are handling sensitive information and each business become more vulnerable each time it adopts a new IT solution.
The ever-changing nature of cyberthreats is forcing business leaders to stay one step ahead by keeping informed about current risks and implementing ways to proactively mitigate them before they can become a problem.
Here are some of the most common methods hackers use and how to stop them:
#1. Bait and switch
Bait-and-switch scams have been around longer than desktop computers, but the technique is just as relevant as ever. This kind of social engineering scam works by making users believe they’re using a legitimate program or website, only to redirect them to a malicious link containing malware or a phishing landing page.
What makes bait-and-switch scams so dangerous is that they’re often found on sites that are legitimate. Hackers buy advertising space on websites to include malicious popups and links in things like free downloads and coupon codes. While real companies are always careful to choose legitimate advertisers, it’s always better to obtain your products from reputable sources like approved app stores or vendors.
#2. Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack
Man-in-the-middle attacks occur when a hacker intercepts data being transmitted between two or more parties. Victims are often completely unaware that someone is reading or listening to their communications. Attackers effectively establish another line of communication, allowing them to view or even modify data in transit, such as payment details provided during online purchases or instant messages.
Most MITM attacks occur over unsecured public wireless connections, which is why you should always be wary of public WiFi hotspots. Unless the data is encrypted from the source to the destination, it will be open to eavesdropping attacks. An easy way to mitigate this threat is to have all traffic routed through a virtual private network (VPN), in which everything is encrypted.
#3. Phishing scams
Although phishing scams are not the same as hacking, they’re one of the most pervasive cyberthreats of all. These social engineering attacks are the number-one delivery method for malicious software or for gaining access to systems that hold sensitive data. In fact, they often don’t rely on technology at all, and instead work by duping unsuspecting victims into giving up control voluntarily.
There are many red flags to look out for when identifying phishing scams, such as suspicious links, unsolicited emails, spoofed addresses, compromised websites and common scare tactics. Unfortunately, given the increasing complexity of phishing scams (particularly those targeted towards specific individuals), you cannot rely on IT security systems alone. You need ongoing security awareness training to help people better identify the risks and potentially suspicious activities.
#4. Malicious Software
When they’re not relying on duping victims into giving away confidential information, hackers are hard at work spreading malware. Although phishing scams are used to spread all forms of malicious software, hackers may also try to take advantage of technical vulnerabilities in outdated software, unsecured network protocols, or easy-to-guess passwords.
Long gone are the days when antivirus software alone was enough to protect businesses from the multitude of malware threats out there. Nowadays, multiple layers of protection are required to proactively guard against new, old, and unknown threats. Must-have protections include enterprise-grade firewalls, the enforcement of strong password policies, and around-the-clock intrusion detection and prevention.
SinglePoint Global equips businesses with the latest cloud cybersecurity solutions to keep them safe in any eventuality. Our experts tirelessly monitor your systems to proactively guard against hackers. Call us today to get started.