As businesses across many different trades embrace digitization, board members are becoming increasingly cybersecurity savvy. According to Menlo Security, as of 2022, 85 percent of corporate boards have become more engaged with cybersecurity compared with two years previous.
Spurred by the global pandemic and resulting changes in working practices and consumer preferences, digital transformation initiatives have accelerated dramatically. This means it is more important than ever for businesses to invest in robust cybersecurity measures.
From increasingly sophisticated ransomware attacks to mobile security, we look at five vulnerabilities commonly targeted by cybercriminals.
1. Social Engineering Attacks
This type of attack involves human and social interactions rather than code being downloaded onto your computer via an Internet connection. Human beings are much more convincing than computers, leaving us vulnerable to manipulation via a social engineering attack.
In fact, according to Straight Edge Technology, social engineering attacks are one of the biggest security risks today. Experts estimate that over 90 percent of business data breaches arise because cybercriminals successfully manage to deceive employees. Scammers may convince employees to provide valuable information, give them access to data or software, and otherwise deviate from routine security procedures.
Social engineering attacks typically appeal to a person’s emotions—for example, a desire to help someone in need. The attacker may pose as family member or fellow employee and request access to a bank account, sensitive data, or a document. A properly built IT system can protect against malware attacks. However, all systems are vulnerable to human error, such as an employee divulging their password to a hacker posing as their manager or colleague.
To combat the problem, many employers stage regular training sessions to help employees recognize social engineering cyberattack strategies. It is crucial for all employees to follow company policy when working with sensitive data.
2. Ransomware Attacks
A ransomware attack is a form of cyberattack where cybercriminals infiltrate a business’s computer network. They then encrypt the data and demand a payment for business owners to be able to access their own files again. Ransomware attacks are extremely disruptive for both small businesses and large multinationals alike, since the business owner has relatively few options once files have been encrypted.
During the 2021 SolarWinds breach, hackers deployed malicious code to thousands of businesses and government agencies worldwide. Experts predict that ransomware attacks will remain a serious threat through 2022 and beyond, with increasingly advanced ransomware programs making their way into the network of unsuspecting businesses.
Due to the nature of ransomware attacks, it is difficult for cybersecurity measures to deflect them. This is in part because encryption methods are constantly changing.
3. Machine Learning and AI Attacks
Machine Learning and AI are incredibly beneficial in terms of developing cybersecurity solutions. However, they can have a disastrous impact when used with malicious intent.
Cybercriminals are leveraging the power of Machine Learning and AI to design increasingly sophisticated campaigns. They use these technologies to speed up and intensify cyberattacks and more quickly gain access to sensitive databases and critical networks. These types of attacks are occurring with increasing frequency, according to CSO Online. As of this writing, many recent large-scale attacks were carried out using Machine Learning and AI.
4. Mobile Security Threats
Today’s smartphones benefit from processing power to rival any computer. Unfortunately, few of us prioritize installing cybersecurity prevention methods on our cell phones in the same way that we do our PCs.
With an increasing number of businesses integrating smartphones into daily operations, a new avenue has opened up for cybercriminals. Cell phones serve as the preferred means of signing into email, banking, and numerous other repositories of private information.
Cell phones are also being used more and more by remote workers to coordinate with their laptop workstations. This means it is particularly important for business owners to recognize tactics used by cybercriminals to breach mobile phone security.
Anyone can make an app, a fact that cybercriminals know all too well. In fact, the most likely method of a virus making your way onto your phone is via an app you intentionally downloaded. Many seemingly innocent apps are embedded with malware, or you may accidentally download a copycat of a popular app.
In addition, traditional methods of virus transmission—such as email links and embedded websites—can infect your cell phone just as they do a laptop or desktop computer. Cybercriminals are also beginning to stage sophisticated attacks that infiltrate WiFi networks and infect all linked devices. This means it is particularly important for business owners to be vigilant about mobile security.
5. Cloud Vulnerabilities
Cloud technology relieves businesses of the burden of storing huge volumes of data on their hardware and electronic devices. Cloud technology has numerous advantages from a business owner’s perspective. However, increased use of cloud technology has spurred a corresponding increase in cyberattacks against cloud services and providers.
Not all cloud applications were created equal in terms of encryption and authentication standards. Many do not meet industry requirements. It is crucial for business owners to do their homework, ensuring that sufficient security procedures are in place to protect business networks and data.