Cyber Attacks – What You Need to Know
What is a Cyber Attack?
A cyber attack is an assault launched by cybercriminals against your computers or against your network. Unfortunately, cyber attacks are becoming more prevalent. A cyber attack can maliciously disable computers, steal data, or use a breached computer as a launch point for other attacks. Cyber attacks are primarily criminally or politically motivated, and can be executed by a private person, state actor or a criminal organization.
Criminals are on the lookout for the most vulnerable target. Protecting your data with cyber security is not only important for individuals, but also for businesses and marketers.
What are Cyber Attack Motives?
Motives include stealing large sums of money and/or destabilizing organizations or countries to make a social or political point through hacktivism, spying, secretly taking intellectual property and cryptocurrency mining. There are no boundaries these attacks can’t cross because the criminals are traveling the worldwide internet
As individuals and businesses, we are all potential targets of cyber attacks. Every individual and business has key assets that criminals may seek to exploit. Sometimes that is money or financial information. At other times, it may be personal information of staff and customers, or even the business’ infrastructure. And now, beyond assets, cyber criminals use blackmail with the threat of disabling your company or publishing your customers private information.
Cyber security has been an ongoing issue and should be taken more seriously than ever before.
Mobile marketing statistic from 2019 have shown us that 52.2% of all website traffic is generated through smartphones and mobile devices. It’s expected that there will be close to 5 billion mobile users around the world by the end of this year. With that many people streaming the web on mobile devices, you can see why it’s so important to protect the information you’re importing to the internet.
What Has Happened?
- The personal data of over 500 million Facebook users was posted in a low-level hacking forum. The exposed data includes the personal information of over 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries, including over 32 million records on users in the US, 11 million on users in the UK, and 6 million on users in India. It includes their phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios, and, in some cases, email addresses.
- Google warns MILLIONS of Gmail users about Russian hack attack. In November 2021, the US search giant said that the campaign aimed to steal people’s login credentials using phony emails sent to their inboxes.
- 86% of hacks in Google Cloud were used for illegal crypto mining. Weak or no password for a user account or no authentication for APIs caused 48% of the Google Cloud hacks. In the majority of cases, cryptocurrency mining software was downloaded within 22 seconds of the account being compromised, Google said.
- Cyber-attack spearheaded by Russian hackers that targeted more than 12,000 users of Gmail. Attackers pinched people’s logins using a phishing email, an attack in which cybercriminals trick victims into handing over sensitive information.
How Do I Prevent Cyber Attacks?
- Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Often
Any criminal, including cybercriminals, will search for the simplest way to attack their target. Weak or missing password for a user account, or no two-factor authentication causes 48% of Google Cloud hacks. Users can avoid compromising their accounts if they just set up a stronger password. Strong passwords that are frequently changed have become a necessity.
- Only Use Trusted Devices
Authentication ensures that each device or user can positively identify itself by using credentials that are trusted by the other device.
- Encrypt Your Files
Encrypting your files ensures that only the specific people you send the file to are able to read and understand the message by using specific software. Even if you or your recipient gets hacked, your encrypted information will be safe.
- Recognize Fraudulent Emails
Roughly one in every 131 emails contains malware, and 67% of all malware globally is delivered by email. A single piece of malware, called ransomware, locks away all your data behind a paywall and it can cost thousands of dollars before the attackers will release your data.
Your first defense to protect against malicious emails is training so that employees know how to recognize fraudulent emails and know not to click on links found in these emails.
- Protect Your Website
The average downtime from a ransomware attack is 33 business hours.
To prevent a breach in your online security, you must ensure you offer protection for your customers, partners, and employees by invested time and money to secure your digital platforms such as your website, your social platforms, your payment portals, as well as securing internal systems such as your intranet, email, and records.
- Keep all of your plug-ins up to date as well as your CMS (content management system), and update these as soon as a new version is released. As hackers find vulnerabilities, software developers rush to close the threat so keeping current with your plug-in updates is a good defense. Running out-of-date versions of themes, plugins and core site components is equivalent to leaving the front door of your house unlocked.
- Implement two-factor authentication (2FA), which reduces the chance of hacking by strengthening security. Implement these tools on other entry points including email, your CRM system, and social media accounts.
- Get a web application firewall (WAF), which puts your site behind a virtual wall of protection that inspects traffic going to it and blocks attacks. WAF also regularly scans your website for malware or downtime to prevent attacks.
- Install an SSL digital certificate of protection (visible to website users), to protect customer information. It’s important that your customers know that they are safe and can trust your website and their data when they are using your website. An added plus is that having the certificate helps boost your search engine rankings.
- Protect Your Social Media
Social Media accounts can be hacked with ease and create serious damage to your brand and reputation. Often people forget that cybersecurity is also important in managing your social media accounts. Protect your social media accounts in the same way you would your website or email systems. Make sure you have secure passwords, restricted access to only those who need it and require two-factor authentication.
- Protect Your IT Systems
Your internal IT systems are a huge target for attackers, and if they can get access to your local network, PCs, or servers, cyber-criminals can not only steal data but can also wreak havoc and severely impact business operations. Protect these vital assets with strong passwords that change frequently and install a VPN (a virtual private network) to further frustrate would-be hackers.
The Bottom Line: Cyber Security is Crucial for Everyone
Digital marketing is one of the fastest-growing industries today and
cybersecurity should be a top concern among digital marketers and the
cornerstone for any online business and well as individual users.
Trust is the basis of digital markets, and cyber security
is the foundation of your customers’ trust.