Fact: Many times, nothing visually happens when a device or network is infected. Often, the attacker’s goal is to go undetected, however, there are directed attacks such as ransomware that will be immediately visible. #CybersecurityAwareness
Movies and television over the years always depict hacking as a very immediate and abrupt thing. The victim’s computer will get a huge pop-up that says that they’ve been hacked, and they have a virus. In real life, this is very rarely the case. Think about a hacker’s motive when they’re looking to hack someone’s device. They want to make money ultimately. The more data they get, the more money they make. For a hacker, going unnoticed for as long as possible is the goal. All the while, they will continue gathering your information and data.
A classic example is a keylogger. This is malicious software that hackers will download onto a victim’s computer. Every key that is typed will be saved externally and sent to the hacker. That means usernames, passwords, bank information – anything that’s typed on the computer. What a hacker does with that information is up to them. There is a network of hackers that are all looking for different information. For example, certain hackers are just looking to get access to people’s accounts to steal their information. They will buy account login info from other hackers. There are another group of hackers that buy credit card information, and others that are looking for names and addresses.
The cybercrimes that they commit all depend on the information they have. It’s a scary thing to think about, and it’s very real. It gives insight into what to expect in terms of malicious software. Almost every type of malware is designed to steal your information and subsequently make the hacker money. These pieces of software can go unnoticed for years upon years. All the while, your information will be siphoned and sold to the highest bidder.
There is a group of malware that is immediately detected, and that’s called ransomware. Its purpose is to make your device unusable, and the hacker will make you pay them to get rid of the ransomware. Ransomware can work by continually opening web pages and moving your mouse around so you can’t use the device. It can also change your computer’s password and show you a written prompt asking for money. Other pieces of ransomware will corrupt your computer with a virus. You’ll get a pop-up from an anti-malware company that will get rid of the virus. The link to the anti-malware company’s website will be fake and will further corrupt your device. Once you put in your credit card information to purchase the software, then the hacker has your financial details. At that point, the hack will either end or become more aggressive.
In every other case, you might not ever find out that your device is infected. Some clever cyberattacks will deliver an urgent message saying that you’re infected and need a resolution by calling a number, clicking a link, or signing up for fake anti-virus software. All of these are scams and will lead to a loss of information. A business owner can imagine that the stakes become exponentially higher when you have a team of workers in your office. If even one of the computers falls victim to a cyberattack, it can grow to infect your entire operation. Not only are you at risk of losing personal information, but now data used in your business is at risk. Now the affected area grows to your colleagues, clients, contractors, and staff.
For small business owners, cybersecurity should be a very big focus. There is a lot at stake if you choose to ignore these potential attacks. Cybersecurity isn’t as expensive or time-consuming as the effects of a hack are. The scariest part about cyberattacks is they’re not cookie-cutter models. It all comes down to the ingenuity and motive of the hacker. No two hacks are the same, so it’s hard to give a single answer for how to stay safe. It’s all a matter of educating yourself on cybersecurity and learning the different methods that hackers use. The more you know, the more prepared you are to keep hackers away from your data. You may not ever find out that your device has been corrupted. Hackers like to become a fly on the wall and slowly steal all of your information.
For more information, you can download the eBook True Cost of Cybersecurity to Small Business.