Modern Cyber-Crimes and How to Avoid Them

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Hackers will continue to refine and adapt their methods to find their way around each new defense, so you must continually improve your cyber-security posture.

The Unending Rise of Cyber-Crime

With each passing year, hackers expand their repertoire, gaining more and more advanced means of accessing apparently secure systems. These attacks have impacted private individuals, multinational organizations and government bodies. Such actions are motivated by a number of goals, from simply causing disruption, to extorting money, stealing sensitive data or making political statements.

The WannaCry incident was an example of a popular type of malware known as a “ransomworm.” This operates by encrypting your data, and then threatening that this data will be permanently lost unless a ransom is paid. Ransom demands tend to be in bitcoins due to the difficulty in tracking transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

In the past few years, however, there have been a number of other high-profile hacks that made the headlines. For example, a group using the name “Turkish Crime Family” claimed to have held Apple ransom for $75,000 by threatening to wipe the iCloud and iPhone accounts of as many as 300 million users.

Another common strategy is to steal personal data—to sell on the dark web, to blackmail the owner, or to expose an individual's or organization's activities. In some cases, hacking is used as a tool for socio-political activism, often dubbed “hacktivism.”

Acting in the name of groups such as Anonymous, these hackers have confronted extremist groups and high-profile organizations around the world. Their portfolio has included hacking government websites in Egypt and Tunisia, replacing the front page of the Sun newspaper online, and organizing a global protest against the Church of Scientology.

Future-Proof Your Business

The constant battle between cyber-security and the ever-growing pool of hacking technology means that it has never been more important to keep your systems fully patched and up to date. While security organizations work around the clock to mitigate threats as they become apparent, this will help you avoid the threat of ransomware only if you implement and maintain these solutions on all devices.

Data breaches are damaging not only to your business productivity and company morale, but also to your reputation. However, with good communication and a continuously evolving IT security strategy, you can future-proof your organization. This will enable you to focus on the growth and development of your business, without having to worry that a cyber-attack could compromise your success.

Ross Howard is editor and IT security specialist at Insights For Professionals. Follow https://twitter.com/IFP_Tech  to keep up to date with developments in IT, marketing, HR, finance and management.

This article was originally published on 2017-07-05
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