Cybercrime is a genuine and present threat to businesses, government agencies, and individuals. As we continue to make technological advancements, hackers find new ways to breach security measures and gain access to sensitive data.
But how frequent are these cyber attacks, and what are some common examples to look out for? There’s no denying that the repercussions for victims can be serious, so what steps can be taken to mitigate the risk of a harmful breach? Read on to find out more.
How Common is Cybercrime?
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, cases of cybercrime rose 31% as hackers preyed on the millions of people working from home on less secure networks. Yet, figures for the second quarter of 2021 suggest that the number of threats declined 9% compared to the same period in 2020.
Although that trend is encouraging, the sheer volume of attacks still being attempted equates to one every 49 seconds, showing the scale of the challenge.
What Are Some Typical Examples of Cyber Attacks?
- Phishing scams are where the victim receives a message from a seemingly legitimate source, urging them to take immediate action by clicking a link. By doing so, they are tricked into sharing personal data or downloading malware onto their device.
- Malicious keylogging, where spyware is installed on the victim’s device without their knowledge. The hacker uses the software to track the user’s keystrokes and access their passwords or other sensitive information.
- Ransomware is a type of software used by hackers to keep hold of sensitive data. They then threaten to release the information into the public domain unless payment is received.
What Are the Potential Consequences of Suffering an Attack?
If a hacker gains access to an individual’s banking details, he could empty accounts and cause a significant financial headache. Armed with the victim’s personal information, he could commit identity theft and apply for credit cards in that person’s name.
For businesses, security breaches have the potential to cause serious economic and reputational damage. Employee records, financial statements, and proprietary information could cause significant harm if they fall into the wrong hands.
How Can You Help to Safeguard Against the Risks?
Businesses can use Virtual Private Network (VPN) (https://nordvpn.com/download/) to ensure all the data their employees send and receive is fully encrypted and out of hackers’ reach. Regular training of staff will also help to increase awareness, and all devices should be set up with the latest antivirus software. Meanwhile, individuals should be encouraged to create strong passwords and never access sensitive or personal information when connected to a shared or public network.