In the second article in our Cyber Security series with our partner CCIQ , we explore the dynamics around cyber security, understanding the ‘hacker evolution’, globalisation, and dispelling common arguments made regarding the likelihood of attacks in a business. It is not a matter of if, but when your business experiences a cyber-attack online, or security breach, it is crucial to respond immediately, with a clear plan in place to help mitigate as much risk as possible.
The evolution of hackers
Travelling back in time – thirty years ago, the average business and domestic user had very little reason to fear an attack from a hacker. There are a couple of reasons for this. For the large part, the focus was on large organisations or governments, and/or government agencies who were behaving (in the opinion of the hacker) without moral, and it was the duty of the hacker to society to break into the ‘offending’ entity and inflict chaos as retribution for wrongdoings.
If acting as a moral-cyber-militia was not the goal of attacking large organisations, gaining notoriety was. If a hacker was able to break into an ‘impenetrable’ network, credibility among the criminal community would surely skyrocket as well as their fortunes.
Although these scenarios sound like a scene from a Mission Impossible movie, sadly for us, it is no longer the case – everyone is at risk.
Globalisation and the impact on Cyber-Security
The Internet has provided access and connection to everyone around the world. It is a commonplace now to speak to someone across countries and join online communities that transcend borders.
With this connection, younger generations are being raised with such a high level of technology that previous generations are still trying to learn them. Most children are being raised with a device in their hand from as young as 3 years of age. It is natural to assume that technology will become a natural extension of their own ability.
(Image Source: The 2018 Hacker Report)
Along with the next generation’s ability to communicate across borders, the risk of hackers can transcend borders and come from anywhere in the world.
Out of all the countries in the developed world, China is strangely absent from the geographic representation of where worldwide hackers reside but it used to be the number one location.
There have been many theories why but the prevailing theory is the government actively encourages them to infiltrate the networks of other nations or corporations where they could steal intellectual property for their benefit or their employer’s benefit.
For the most part, countries where computers have existed the longest, and where there has always been some form of brinkmanship play host to the highest percentage of hackers. India may seem like surprise inclusion, but they have made a conscious effort to establish themselves as an IT powerhouse for almost two decades and therefore children could potentially be far more computer literate as a result.
The lure of earning some nice money all from the comfort of your home will always prove to be a difficult temptation, especially for people who have either exceptional computer skills or those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Common Sayings 1: “As if they are going to come after me”
Some businesses and people believe that due to their meagre circumstances compared to bigger companies, that hackers will not bother with attempting to hack their business.
Unfortunately, they will come after anyone they can and be indiscriminate in their targeting, regardless of your business or your circumstances.
Their goal as for most workers is to earn as much money as possible in the short amount of time they have to hack your systems. Due to their physical disconnection from you and your business, most if not all hackers will have no concerns about what destruction they cause.
It is important to remember that it only takes one employee to click on a suspicious link in an email to give a hacker suspicious access to bring disaster upon your business. Also, be aware of the emails you receive to your own inbox – trust your instincts and if something doesn’t look right, delete it immediately.
Common Sayings 2: “We’ve got amazing Network Security Systems – no one can get through them”
You may say you currently have a great deal of network security in place already and that’s great – you need to keep them. But much like most processes in your business, just because it works doesn’t mean it can’t work better.
The majority of small businesses in Australia rely solely on their anti-virus software as their protection to hackers however, this does not suffice. If a hacker gets a hold of an employee’s credentials, they will effectively be an authorised user on your network free to do as they please. Your security must detect abnormal behaviour within your network.
This is where the battle for cyber-security is now – without borders, without remorse and without a doubt. But like most battles, having the best information possible will set you up for success.