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A Surge in Cybersecurity Threats in Corporate America

In an interview with CNBC, securities and exchange commission (SEC) chairman, Jay Clayton, expressed concern over the rising cybercrime in corporate America. Though most organizations have been stepping up their cybersecurity over the years, Clayton noted that the attacks are increasingly becoming sophisticated. For instance, while data storing on the cloud was traditionally considered safe, attackers are shifting their focus there.

He told CNBC that increasing incidences had been reported since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As people shifted to working remotely, over-reliance on digital devices increased opportunities for more cybercrime activities. Mainly, hackers capitalize on human error to infringe systems, and the situation presented a perfect ground for them to scout for those errors and infiltrate systems. Clayton also observed that generally, whenever there’s uncertainty, attackers increase their activity.

Below we look at some of the current cybersecurity threats plaguing corporate America and how to safeguard your system against them.

1. Ransomware

Ransomware refers to malware that helps attackers lock a company’s system with the hope of extorting money from the organization in exchange for access. Attackers can use multiple techniques to execute ransomware activity. They can install a screen or PIN lock ransomware, disk coding, or even crypto-ransomware.

However, this is only possible if you allow them access to your system. Often, they will send you an email or a fake software update pop-up with instructions to click on an attached malicious link. Once you click the link, the ransomware is installed in your device, and it provides them an entryway into your system.

You can protect your organization from ransomware by maintaining certain system safeguards. First, you need to train your employees on cybersecurity, so they are knowledgeable on how to spot and deal with cyber threats. You should also ensure your software and apps are always up to date, as this can help block out malicious installations.

2. Credential Compromises

In a survey conducted by Oracle, 59% of respondents confessed they have had their credentials compromised. This is becoming a major risk among American companies, with those operating in the financial industry suffering a heavier blow. Breach of customer information could mean loss of funds. This can easily plunge a company into financial oblivion and cause severe reputation damage.

You can minimize the risk of credential compromise by creating complex passwords. Generally, a strong password should contain a mix of both cases, numbers, and special characters. A longer password will also be difficult for a hacker or their programs to decode. Likewise, ensure you implement two-factor authentication whenever it’s possible for added security. It’s also recommended that you change your passwords regularly and log out of other devices whenever you do so.

3. Cloud Computing Vulnerability

The adoption of cloud storage has significantly helped organizations leverage the solution to store up data and secure it against sudden losses. However, cloud technology has ushered in an even greater risk – a data breach. Hackers are exploiting the opportunity to access company data and steal it for illegal activities.

According to Oracle, 75% of the people interviewed said they had lost data from a cloud service more than once. This isn’t surprising, as several leading MSPs recently experienced a data breach in what has been christened Cloud Hopper. Basically, Cloud Hopper is an umbrella name standing for cyber intrusions on cloud service providers by groups of hackers.

Cloud computing attacks require more sophisticated hacks to bypass the security safeguards. But it’s already happening, and no cloud service is immune from these attacks. However, users can step up their security by implementing the standard safeguards on their systems. For instance, the use of two-step authentication can help lock out potential attackers from accessing your account.

4. Social Engineering

Social engineering entails the use of psychological manipulation to trick users into clicking links. These kinds of attacks are becoming sophisticated by the day. For instance, a hacker may disguise the source of an email to look credible, then add an attachment with malware.

Mainly, they capitalize on seasons and events to send you relevant messages that they know you wouldn’t fail to open. Once you click on the link, the malware installs on your device, thereby granting the attacker access. An example of a typical social engineering attack is phishing.

Though social engineering is more sophisticated to detect, you can spot the attacks by being more vigilant. Even if links look genuine, ensure you examine them closely for anomalies before clicking on them.

5. DDoS Attacks  

Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have become more prevalent over the recent past. In a DDoS attack, the hacker sends fake traffic to the target website to overwhelm the server and lockout genuine requests. The most common DDoS is carried out through the use of botnets. These are compromised computers, which the hacker uses to send requests to the target website.

DDoS attacks can be executed in several ways. One is volumetric attacks, where the hacker aims to exhaust the bandwidth so that genuine requests don’t go through. Another common DDoS attack is known as an application-layer attack. In this case, the hacker overloads the server through constant pinging. Again, this locks out genuine requests. The third type of attack is the multiple-vector which involves employing various DDoS attacks at the same time.

Conclusion

Even with improved safeguards, cybercrime is increasingly becoming a daily threat in corporate America. More sophisticated attacks are ever on the rise. Organizations have to beef up their cybersecurity to guarantee their safety and that of their clients. COVID-19 pandemic has done little to minimize the threats. Actually, the uncertainty brought about by the situation caused a spike in cybercrime activity. Nonetheless, you can stay on top of your system’s safety by strengthening your safeguards against ransomware, credential compromises, cloud computing vulnerabilities, social engineering, and DDoS attacks.

At WPG Consulting, we can help you institute strong system safeguards and provide constant monitoring for maximum security. We take a holistic approach towards managing our clients’ cybersecurity needs. On top of installing superior software to protect your system from viruses and phishing, we conduct audits and provide insightful updates on your cybersecurity health. We also train and equip teams in cybersecurity best practices. Talk to us today, and learn more about our services.

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Written by Hitesh Patel posted on May 8, 2021