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It’s becoming more difficult to protect yourself against cyber crime, with data breaches affecting companies of all sizes. As technology becomes more sophisticated and an integral part of most businesses, the threat of cyber crime is on the rise. In fact, a 2019 report estimates that damages from cybercrime will reach $6 trillion by the year 2021.
One of the ways you can protect your business is by understanding who these cyberhackers are and their motivation behind cybercrime. Keeping data secure is essential to your business. Your IT infrastructure and computer networks need to be constantly monitored and updated to protect both confidential and financial information.
Many companies are outsourcing their cybersecurity to professionals such as Prosyn, an IT support company, who have the knowledge and expertise to keep data and computing networks safe from cyberattack.
Here’s what you need to know about cybercrime and cyberhackers.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is any illegal action that involves a computer or other computing devices, as well as mobile phones. Cybercrime is not only carried out for profit by cybercriminals, it’s also done by cyberhackers to damage and disable computer networks for malicious intent.
The three types of cybercrime can be defined as:
- Crime to gain access to computer networks.
- Crime using computing devices as a weapon, such as DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service).
- Crime where computers are used for the storage of stolen data.
Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats to businesses and organizations, and includes a wide range of illegal and malicious activity that can compromise the security and integrity of data.
Types of hackers
“Hacking” is about gaining unauthorized access to a computer and computer network. But just who are these hackers, and what do they do?
- Black hat
Black hat hackers are those who try to gain illegal and unauthorized access to computer networks and systems to obtain information for malicious intent. These cyberhackers often work alone, using the information they steal for their own purpose or to sell to other criminals for illegal use.
Often called “crackers”, black hat cyberhackers look for businesses and financial organizations with weak security, making them easy to hack into. They’re looking for personal and financial data, as well as passwords they can sell for profit. Black hats also try to damage network and computer systems by compromising and damaging their network security. Once compromised, hackers can shut down entire systems or make illegal and malicious changes to websites.
These black hat cyberhackers are the ones your business needs to worry about the most as a risk to your confidential data.
- White hat
White hats are also known as “ethical hackers”. They work with companies and organizations to remove viruses or to help reinforce the security of computer networks. These cyberhackers have authorized permission to access computer systems, using their ethical hacking techniques to secure a company’s data system.
Many large companies use white hat hackers to exploit their security systems and find any backdoors before black hat cyberhackers are able to enter the system illegally. Their ethical hacking provides useful information to organizations about the vulnerabilities of their security system so these weaknesses can be secured.
- Grey hat
Falling in between the black and white hacker is the grey hacker. These cyberhackers exploit computer networks just like the black hat, but they don’t have the same malicious intent. They often violate security with practices that are illegal, however they don’t typically use the information they steal for their own gain.
Common hacking techniques
Cyberhackers use a variety of ways to get into computer networks. Here are the most common techniques used by hackers to obtain your data illegally:
- SQL injection
A SQL injection attack is often used to target low security websites. Cyberhackers insert SQL statements into the text fields on a website that capture information, such as usernames and passwords. The SQL code can be used to either get information from the website or attack visitors to the site. Inserted code can also allow the hacker to get a foot in the door for future attacks.
- DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service
Cyberhackers perform DDoS attacks to damage computer systems with the intent of shutting down the entire network, including computers and mobile phones. The goal is to overwhelm networks with so much traffic that they become inoperable. The main motivations behind DDoS are for revenge, for political activism, and for blackmail, where cyberhackers demand payment for return to service.
- Phishing attack
Phishing happens when users receive an email that looks as though it’s legitimate. Cyberhackers typically attempt to imitate a well-known organization that’s easily identified, such as financial institutions. Hackers count on unsuspecting users to open and read the email and then enter their banking and personal information. Businesses need to have strict policies in place for phishing email, training employees to never provide information in an email without first contacting IT.
- Malware attack
Malware is a type of malicious software that’s downloaded and installed on computer systems without permission or knowledge. The software contains code inserted by cyberhackers so they can gain illegal access to networks and computing devices. The destructive code can be embedded within email, website links, or software that’s being downloaded. Once the code is executed, it copies itself and links to other applications on the computer, making the entire system a vulnerable target.
There are different types of malware, such as spyware, which gathers confidential information including financial data, credit card details, and personal information. Another form of malware are trojans, which are disguised as legitimate applications and software. When executed on computers, trojans open up a back door, allowing other types of malware to enter.
A report on cyberhacking indicates the main motive behind 90% of cyber attacks is about espionage and financial gain. Hacking is highly profitable, which is why cyberhackers are continually finding newer and smarter ways to gain unauthorized access to computer systems and networks. This means your business data and information is always at risk.
Cybersecurity needs to be a part of your budget and business plan – without security, your network is vulnerable and open to a security breach. Don’t let your business become a victim to cyberhackers. By understanding what cybercrime is and what cyberhackers are up to, you can mitigate this risk by making sure your network security is strong and up to date.