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Cybersecurity Threats to Stay Away From

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(Gloucestercitynews.net)(July 3, 2020)--The value of information in the modern world can not be overestimated. Each company is dependent on its data. If critical corporate data gets lost or damaged, a company will face enormous financial and repetitional losses.

 

Danger can come both from inside and outside. Hackers try to breach corporate systems and steal valuable data. Yet sometimes, your colleagues may unconsciously initiate a cyber attack.

 

Awareness is the first step toward better security. So let's take a look at three significant cybersecurity threats and how to avoid them.

 

Shadow IT

 

Shadow IT can be described as the use of hardware or software without approval from an organization's IT department. Shadow IT can cause severe consequences for a company. Let's say, an employee downloads business-critical data to personal cloud storage to work with it at home. Yet the personal account was hacked, and relevant data was stolen. That's just one of the possible scenarios.

 

Shadow IT can cause data loss, data leakage, initiate malware attacks, and have other negative consequences. Also, companies should control the usage of software to avoid compliance violations and related fines.

 

Needless to say that using apps, extensions, cloud storages, and other software without notifying an IT team and getting approval is a violation. And not without reason. Even a seemingly harmless extension may hide malware within. By installing and using corrupted software, you expose your company to cyber attacks.

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"If shadow IT practices are dangerous, why people use them?" you may ask. The first reason is lack of awareness. Not all employees understand that using unauthorized software can damage their company. Secondly, employees can consciously use unapproved tools to bypass restrictions of corporate security policies. For example, to improve productivity. 

 

There is hardly a way to irradicate the use of unauthorized software completely. For various, some people may continue to install and use software without notifying IT and security teams. However, it's possible to reduce the negative impact of the shadow IT threat greatly. Here are some ways to do it:

 

  • Arrange a security awareness training for your colleagues to explain that unauthorized software is risky
  • Use cybersecurity software to analyze user behavior
  • Monitor data sharing
  • Implement app whitelisting to ensure employees use only approved apps

 

Shadow IT may look comparatively harmless (especially to unaware users), yet it is one of the most dangerous cybersecurity threats. This threat has many security and compliance risks any company needs to avoid.

Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that prevents you from accessing your data by encrypting it. The locked data cannot be used without decrypting it. To give your data back to you, hackers demand a ransom. Ransomware may attack computers, files, and networks. Also, data stored in the cloud can be damaged. Even big companies and governments are not safe from the threat.

 

There are many ways for a system to get infected with ransomware. For example, ransomware can be spread using fake applications. By installing an app, you give it permissions to access your data. If an app is corrupted, hacks will exploit these permissions to infect your system and demand money to return your data to you.

 

Here’s a demonstration of a ransomware attack on

 

Gmail:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGLTCwnNRSI

Each type of ransomware has its own features. Analyzing the recent ransomware examples shows that this cyber threat evolves and becomes more dangerous. Let’s take a look at ransomware called Ryuk. This advanced virus can move through your network to identify the most important files and encrypt them. This method helps to paralyze an entire organization and force it to pay for decryption.

Besides being a malicious code, ransomware is an interesting example of social engineering. Hackers use various tricks to intimidate their victims and get a ransom. For example, an attacker may threaten to sell your data unless the ransomware is paid.

As ransomware can come in many different forms, ransomware protection requires a multi-layered approach. Some of the best anti-ransomware practices are:

 

Ransomware is a huge threat that can disrupt your workflow. That’s why paying appropriate attention to ransomware protection can save your company millions.

Phishing

Pause to think before clicking any link in an email from an unfamiliar contact. It might a phishing attack. Phishing is a method of impersonating a person or a company to trick a victim. Usually, emails are used for phishing attacks.

 

A phishing attack can lead to a disaster in several ways. First of all, you can share some important information like your credit card number with an impostor. Secondly, by clicking a phishing link, you can let ransomware into your system. Thirdly, clicking a corrupted link can allow hackers to steal your credentials and access your data.

 

Phishing email attacks related to coronavirus increased by 600% in the first quarter of this year. Usually, phishing emails asked users to check or type in their passwords on malicious websites that impersonated real ones.

 

Phishing relies mainly on provoking a user error. To reduce the probability of being scammed, you should be careful. Here’s how you can recognize a phishing email:

  • Demand to share sensitive information
  • Links to suspicious websites (hover your mouse over a link to check where it leads)
  • Abusive language and unnatural behavior
  • The sender’s address is different from the intended (the domain name doesn’t match)
  • Out-of-place attachments

 

By watching out for these potential red flags, you’ll be able to prevent phishing attacks and related damages. 

Concluding Thoughts

Shadow IT, ransomware, and phishing are among the most dangerous security threats for companies of all sizes. Beating these threats takes effort, yet it’s a must for any company to remain successful. As you’ve probably noticed, different types of cyber threats require various countermeasures. Yet, some of them are universal.

Training your employees is essential. After all, hackers often try to exploit human error. An aware employee is less likely to make a mistake. And don’t forget to use cybersecurity software. It will help you and save your time.

 

images courtesy of pixabay 

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