As we enter 2017, we at Tolar Systems feel it’s important to inform our readers about some of the latest cybercrime trends, and what you can do about them.
Sometimes, it may seem that cybercrime – whether it’s spoofing, malware, hacking or other types of malicious activity on the web – is a problem for people that live in big cities, or own big businesses.
But the fact is, cybercrime can strike any home or business, in any location.
Recently, we’ve detected cybercrime trends that indicate an increase in specific types of cyber-attacks. These attacks aren’t just happening in big cities or far away, to other people. These cybercrime trends are happening right here in Abilene, to business owners just like you. It’s important to be informed and to protect yourself against this growing threat to your business.
Types of attacks
Now that we’ve got your attention, you may be asking, “what types of attacks are happening, and what can I do to protect myself?”
While all types of cybercrime are on the rise, Tolar has detected the most significant increase in the following types of attacks:
Social engineering – Social engineering attacks are attacks aimed at high value targets, such as the CEO or a corporation, government official, or even the owner of a small business. In a social engineering attack, a cybercriminal thoroughly researches the target and uses that information to convince the target to break normal security procedures.
For instance, if you’ve ever received a phone call from a person claiming to be from Microsoft support and the person calling has all kinds of information about you, but you didn’t call Microsoft first, you’ve experienced a type of social engineering attack. This type of attack is also sometimes called “spear fishing.”
Spoofing – Spoofing is when a person creates a fake persona to convince you to do something you otherwise wouldn’t. For instance, if you receive an email from the Prince of Nigeria promising to send you a million dollars and all you have to do is email him your bank account routing number, you’d probably know not to act on that email.
But what if that email came from a trusted friend or relative? Or what if it came from your bank or another business you trust, and contained all the kinds of details that you’d expect that type of email to have? Millions of people have been tricked by this kind of attack.
Malware – Malware is malicious software that is designed to gain access to or damage your computer. Some types of malware include key loggers, spyware, viruses and worms. Maintaining up to date security software systems such as anti-virus and anti-malware helps to avoid these types of cyberattacks, but software alone can’t keep you safe. You must also be cautious when downloading any applications, email attachments, and be careful to avoid sites that engage in malicious behavior.
How to Protect Yourself
Cybercrime happens when one of three systems or precautionary measures fails. These systems include:
People – Unfortunately, the best security in the world can’t prevent cybercrime if people aren’t following good security measures. To that end, we recommend taking extra care to assure the security of your confidential data.
- Always be wary when you submit payment information to any site or to any individual.
- If someone calls you and starts asking for identifying or payment related information, be suspicious – investigate carefully.
- Using trusted sites that follow the latest security protocols, such as Amazon or Paypal, helps reduce the risk.
- If you’re unsure of the security protocols on a site or if you’re suspicious – especially if you’re planning to submit payment information – investigate thoroughly.
Processes – Good security processes include things like maintaining your security applications up to date at all times (if you’re a Tolar Complete Care client, this is a given) and regularly updating your security passwords for all sites that you visit.
Technology – Maintaining security on your network, including installation of up-to-date anti-malware and anti-virus software on all the devices you use, is an important step in protecting your business against cyberattack.
SPECIAL EMAIL NOTICE
Most importantly, never ever, under any circumstances send payment information via email. It is too easy for a cybercriminal to hack into your email and steal that information. Pay by phone, or using secure payment services such as Paypal. We do not recommend using Bitcoin as its users have been the victims and are sometimes perpetrators of malicious attacks.
Here at Tolar Systems we have processes and technology in place to help our clients prevent these cybercrime trends and other kinds of attacks, but even with those precautions, we urge you to be on guard against the kinds of attacks that rely on the human element for success. If you have a question about cybercrime trends or data security, please contact us.