Digital security used to be relatively simple. Companies would rely on conventional measures like firewalls and antivirus software. Today, these are just two small components of a robust cybersecurity infrastructure, and they’re not nearly enough by themselves. The number of ways hackers can attack their victims has grown exponentially with the adoption of mobile and cloud technologies.
Here are some of the most disturbing cybersecurity trends of recent years:
Remote code execution (RCE) is a process that hackers use to make changes to an internet-connected device from afar. By exploiting a vulnerability or launching a phishing attack, they’ll gain access to a system and send commands to the target machine.
A recent study showed that 90% of these attacks are carried out to install so-called cryptojacking malware on the target machine. This software, which has become even more pervasive than ransomware, uses the victim’s computing resources to mine cryptocurrency. Although cryptojacking doesn’t involve data theft, it hogs computing resources and leads to compromised service reliability and extended downtime.
Email remains the preferred way for businesses and customers to keep in touch, which is also why it’s the favorite delivery channel for malware and scams. Although spam filters are getting better at filtering out malicious emails, there are still some that get through.
Scams are rife, as is malicious software in the form of executable files, scripts, and macros in files as apparently innocuous as Word documents. Even when malware isn’t the problem, phishing scammers generally prefer email over other platforms, although that’s not to say they’re not using social media and cloud collaboration apps as well.
The 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report also found even more concerning statistics:
Although they remain a threat, computer viruses and the like are pretty old-school. Today, successful security breaches are much more likely to use fileless attacks, since they’re impossible for conventional antivirus systems to detect. Fileless attacks basically describe attack techniques that don’t involve malware on the target machine, which make these attacks much harder to detect or prevent.
Endpoints refer to individual computers, smartphones, and other internet-connected devices typically used by one person at a time. In business computing environments, these also include point-of-sale (POS) systems like automated checkouts.
The number of endpoints used in today’s businesses has increased exponentially since the rise of internet-connected smart tech and mobile devices, which is why they’re under constant assault from hackers. As such, every device connected to the network must also be connected to a centralized security and management system that gives administrators complete visibility into their infrastructure.
Perhaps the most alarming statistic of all is that it takes most companies over six months to identify a data breach. This is a slight improvement over previous years, but the Ponemon Institute recommends that organizations should aim to identify a breach in no more than 100 days.
More than half of data breaches are discovered by an external source, with the most common being law enforcement. However, if breaches are discovered by the targeted organization itself, containing them tends to be much quicker and cheaper. Proactive security, facilitated by round-the-clock monitoring and penetration testing, is now essential for locking down any vulnerabilities before hackers have a chance to exploit them.
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