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Modern threats - What you need to know

28 Apr 2014

Looking back over the past few years, we can see an undeniable and unsettling trend.

Each year, the scale and complexity of cyber-attacks increases, while businesses increase spending on security for their networks and corporate data.

Although fortifying protection with additional security does help, the number of successful attacks keeps growing. Businesses continue to be compromised and the costs associated with those breaches only go up.

To better understand this problem we first must understand the tactics used by cybercriminals. First, the unfortunate reality is that a great many cyber-thieves collaborate with one another.

The market for Cybercrime as a Service (CaaS) provides inexpensive, end to end offerings for every type of attack. Services include new malware development, hackers for hire, large scale access to infected PCs, and exploit development. But the offerings don’t stop there.

There is an entire segment dedicated to the liquidation of stolen data, ranging from usernames and passwords to bank and credit card account information. At every step, there are measures in place to ensure success.

Additionally, cybercriminals understand the challenges faced by today’s security companies. They maintain their advantage by staying on the offensive and using the element of surprise as they create new threats.

Cybercriminals have developed distribution techniques for threats which aim to overwhelm the security industry’s capacity. The primary tactic is to rapidly create new malware variants and deliver them in very low volume.

This low volume distribution makes it more difficult for security vendors to encounter and identify the threat, which means the threat will go undetected longer.

As with most criminal activity, the primary focus of cybercrime is financial gain. This can be accomplished in many ways, but the typical methods involve collecting sensitive data and selling it or using it to commit fraud.

These threats are usually difficult to detect on an infected system. On the other end of the spectrum are threats that use extortion and ransom tactics.

These infections, known as ransomware, encrypt data on your system and demand payment for the decryption key. In both cases, data and the money it’s worth are the targets.

Because no security solution can be 100% effective at preventing every attack, businesses need to take measures to ensure their data is secure.

This means using encryption technology as well as secure backup for sensitive data. In addition, as security vendors create more innovative protection, it’s up to businesses to layer their security appropriately and stay on top of threat trends.

While the advancements in threat detection and remediation technology are improving security, businesses and consumers alike need to be aware of malware risks and act accordingly when transacting and doing business online.

Read more about the recent wave of Cryptolocker ransomware attacks and what you can do to protect yourself by clicking here.