The Age of Cybercrime: 5 Common Cyberattacks Hackers Are Using
We’ve all heard the saying “information is power”. Easy access to that information is just as powerful. With much of our personal information floating through digital networks, stored in multiple databases, and being exchanged by 3rd parties, we should be taking preventative actions to ensure our information is safe. We’re not just talking about grandma’s twitter account being compromised. No. Wait, grandma has a twitter? Not important… but maybe you can follow her @cyborgGranny42.
Hackers are slick, there’s no doubt about it. They use a variety of techniques to gain access to information and accounts that could potentially cripple companies, customers, and individuals alike. We’ve touched on cyber security being one of the 5 fastest growing tech trends in 2015. The simple fact is, if you’re online, you’re at risk. However, if you know how hackers operate you’ll have a better chance at protecting yourself, your online assets, and your identity. These are the five most common cyberattacks companies experience, and how you can combat them.
1. SQL Injections – Most ecommerce databases are run by SQL, and a SQL injection basically hijacks the database by having commands injected into it. The commands that SQL uses often need special characters like @, -, and < to run. A single SQL injection attack can destroy an internet database in the blink of an eye, making this one of the most devastating attacks a company owner can have performed against him. The easiest way to combat this is to have a program that blocks SQL-specific characters from entering the database. Problem solved!
2. System Exploits – By now, you’ve probably heard of computer updates, web patches, and server updates. It may seem like a bunch of needless patching, but the truth is that those patches serve a purpose. That purpose is protecting you. Every patch that’s release either fixes a bug or fixes an opening that can be accessed by hackers. Almost every unauthorized access to a network, server, or computer is a result of exploiting one of the “holes” that wasn’t patched up. The obvious way to protect yourself is by staying up to date with all the patches available to you.
3. Social Engineering – This is a particularly manipulative form of hacking that involves manipulating people into giving hackers passwords and access to sensitive information. Hackers might pose as engineers from a local IT company, people from a credit card company, or even replacements for outsourced webmasters. The key here is to be hyper-aware of anyone requesting information from you. It’s always best to make sure you’re dealing with an actual representative from the company that you’re communicating with, and moreover make sure it’s a reputable company to begin with. Google the heck out of anything that feels suspicious. When information is requested for one of your accounts it’s best you sign into your account via one of your bookmarks or directly from the company website, rather than a weblink that might have been sent to you.
4. Packet Sniffing – When data travels over a network, it travels in packets. Packet sniffers basically find out what’s in those packets, and then sends that over to the hackers. It’s kind of like a web K-9 that’s trained to hunt down info. They can gain access to names, addresses, passwords, and more through these sniffers. Encryption can help keep packet sniffers from doing their job. To ensure your company is well equipped to prevent this type of information intercept, there are a number of IT companies who will make sure the proper safeguards are in place. TechStarters happens to be one of them (shameless plug).
5. Viruses and Trojans – While you never may actually actively try to download a virus, the truth is that hackers always seem to find ways to get them installed on computers. A bad Trojan can easily cause security breaches of all different kinds. More often than not, a simple firewall and antivirus program installed on every computer is more than enough to ward off this threat. It also helps to avoid clicking on suspicious links and opening packets from suspect emails.
All in all, most hacker attacks and cyberattacks are preventable. All that you really need in order to combat most hackers is a little bit of knowledge, investment into the proper security tools, and some forethought when laying the groundwork for your setup. Investing in these cyber safeguards upfront could very well save you thousands of dollars (and headaches) down the road.
Additional – Upgrade your passwords. Make sure you have an up to date personal system for creating and maintaining strong passwords to prevent against brute force hacking.