In recent years, our reliance on technology and the internet has exploded. With the real and virtual worlds seemingly merging almost into one, we are dependent on online services more than ever before—and the trend shows no sign of slowing.
These days, it’s almost impossible to think of any company that doesn’t rely—at least to some degree—on its online services, whether that be for simple emails, data storage or an e-commerce-enabled website.
The growth of cybercrime—and the tactics employed by online criminals
Cybercrime has been steadily growing for many years, to the point now that the revenue generated by online criminals makes it, comparatively, the world’s third-largest economy behind the USA and China. Online crime is expected to cost the world $6 trillion in 2021, rising to a mammoth $10.5 trillion by 2025, as hackers use increasingly sophisticated and complex tactics to infiltrate data. Here are just a few of the more common forms of cyberattack to look out for this year:
Phishing is one of the hardest types of cyberattack to defend against as it plays on social engineering and our innate desire to trust. In a phishing attack, the hacker will masquerade as a trusted source to get users to part with private information (for example, a username and password). Phishing attacks usually happen by email or over a fake website.
If you’re not au fait with how databases work, you may ask: ”What is SQL injection?” In short, SQL injection attacks occur when a hacker exploits problems with your database permissions to gain access. Once in, they can then create, edit, or delete the content in your database. An SQL attack can result in disastrous consequences—particularly if you hold your clients’ details on file and therefore end up compromising their private data as well as your own.
Malware is a type of application that is specifically written to perform malicious tasks—everything from spying on the user to giving access to a network. One of the most famous forms of malware is ransomware—where the program will encrypt a user’s data and then request money in order to receive the decryption key.
An MITM attack occurs where the attacker manages to infiltrate communications between individuals. With the rise in end-to-end encryption these days in both email and chat applications, they are thankfully becoming less common.
Business email compromise (BEC)
BEC attacks are where the attacker specifically targets an individual in a company—normally someone with the authority to make financial payments. This form of attack usually requires significant research and planning for the attacker to make a convincing job of masquerading as a trusted contact.
Drive-by cyber attacks occur when the user visits a website that, in turn, infects their hardware. These sites are normally a compromised version of an official site, although sometimes they are an original work of the hacker. The most common tool employed to infect the user’s device is through banners or other types of advert.
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