A business can install anti-virus software and adopt the most stringent network usage policies available, and yet still find itself as a victim of cyber criminals who have broken through the digital defenses on which that business likely spent thousands of dollars. At best, those defenses will slow down a hacker who is intent on breaking into digital network, but at worst, they can actually give the hacker a pathway into that network. The modern reality of network hacking is that a business's cyber security efforts can no longer be confined to one or a small handful of software tools. The following five harsh truths of cyber security are pushing businesses to adopt different network protection strategies.
1. The greatest threats come from the inside.
Angry or troubled employees pose the greatest threat to a company's digital integrity. The oil and energy exploration company, EnerVest, discovered this after an employee who was on the verge of being terminated purposely deleted years of historical data from the company's file servers and backups. EnerVest did not discover the loss until well after it occurred, and it was never able to recover the data.
2. Size is irrelevant.
A company that relies on its small size or limited exposure to the online world can still be a stepping stone for hackers who are searching for a bigger prize. Through a hacking process known as "leapfrogging", a cybercriminal can gain access to the digital networks of a small vendor and then use that access to break into a larger customer's digital environment. Hackers recently used this technique to break into a White House server that housed scheduling and other non-critical information about the President's daily activities. The hackers first gained access to State Department servers and found a channel into the White House through those servers. Smaller companies that do not have strong cyber security systems often provide an easy entry point for hackers that are targeting larger organizations.
3. Hacking is inexpensive and hacking expertise is easy to find.
Cybercriminals now sell their expertise on the "dark web" and through other obscure platforms. Someone with limited knowledge of the workings of networks and IP addresses can purchase a "cyberbot" for as little as a few hundred dollars that can initiate a widespread distributed denial of service ("DDoS") attack to shut down servers at a particular IP address location. While those servers are overloaded with login attempts and cyber defense teams are distracted with their efforts to shut down the DDoS attack, the hackers can then more readily sneak into a network to steal critical data.
4. Digital alarms fail to provide advance warnings of attacks.
Hacking expertise has increased in sophistication such that an organization might not discover a network incursion for weeks or months after the hack was initiated. Hackers can install key stroke loggers and other monitors into a network to steal passwords and data over long periods of time. The damage from this type of data loss will not become apparent until long after the thefts have occurred.
5. Redundant internal systems cannot stop modern hacking techniques.
Hackers inevitably rise to the challenges presented by every new internal cyber security technique. In-house security teams place too much reliance on their internal systems and fail to adapt as quickly as the hackers do to new tools and hacking methods.
Regardless of internal cyber defense expertise, no organization can remain fully and adequately prepared for all external hacking threats. Managed IT service companies like those provided by White Mountain IT are a stronger solution to the new and advanced cyber security threats that arise every day. Please contact us for more information about how our managed IT services can enhance the cyber security of your digital environment.