The constant threat of a data security breach haunts every contemporary business, but can a security awareness training program mitigate risks? It’s a complex issue to be sure. Cybersecurity risks exist due to our reliance on modern technology, but honestly, where would we be today without our smartphones, tablets or computers?
Unless you are a neo-Luddite, aka an anti-technology activist, you use various technology daily. In other words, most of us need the same devices that put us at risk. Unfortunately, this opens us up to multiple forms of cyberattacks from threat actors intent on gathering information.
While cybercriminals can target anyone, they tend to go after companies that are flush with the kind of PII (personally identifiable information) that translates to big bucks on the dark web.
The dark web fuels cyberattacks
Did you know there is a massive market for personal information that can be sold on the dark net? Indeed, the dark web is a hub for criminal activity and among the ill-gotten, illegal gains is stolen data, often purchased via cryptocurrency.
What’s worse, these threat actors can buy and sell your information in virtual obscurity. For this reason, cybercriminals can be hard to trace or prosecute.
Alarmingly, threat actors can infiltrate a company’s databases quickly and effectively.
“In 93 percent of cases, an external attacker can breach an organization’s network perimeter and gain access to local network resources.” (Betanews)
Once these criminals obtain their ill-gotten information, they can sell entire password and login packages to interested buyers. When this occurs, a business risks a seriously destructive data breach.
Can a security awareness training program help?
Since many of these criminals can slide into the night and never face consequences for their actions, it is best to ensure they never get their claws into your data to begin with.
During comprehensive security awareness training, many businesses learn about numerous attacks and what to look out for. Among the most common and best-known attacks is phishing.
There are diverse phishing attacks, from the most familiar to the more obscure, but all are dangerous. These often include:
Email phishing: This type of phishing goads email owners into clicking risky links to obtain sensitive information. Cybercriminals often use fake domains and addresses that mimic popular sites or banking institutions. If you don’t pay attention, you could fall victim to this cyberattack.
Pharming phishing: Pharming mixes the words “phishing” and “farming” and refers to manipulating website traffic to gather sensitive PII information. The attacker usually sends the victim an email with a Trojan that installs on the recipient’s computer. Sadly, crooks in this arena are particularly good at ensnaring victims by falsely directing them to a fake but convincing website.
Angler phishing: The new kid on the block as far as phishing attacks go is as insidious as the rest. With this style of phishing fraud, social media users are targeted by individuals pretending to be customer service agents. It is a highly sophisticated type of phishing and may not be easily discernible except for a few small signs. It pays to know them.
Whaling phishing: A mainstay of business security breaches, whaling phishing mimics senior management team members and executives. While in disguise, the cyberthief asks for money or vital company information. Falling prey to this cybercrime could cost you and your firm millions.
Smishing: Smishing is when attack actors use text messages to obtain compromising information. Because most victims do not associate phishing attempts with text messages, people are more likely to respond. That is when a catastrophic cyberattack may occur.
The remedy to these types of cyberthreats is to spot them before they put your company at risk.
Malware can ruin your reputation
Ransomware and malware attacks are just as pervasive and destructive as phishing if not more so, and they are on the rise. In 2021, ransomware attacks nearly doubled, rising by 92.7% from 2020 data.
The criminals who implement a serious cyberattack could care less about how your firm will be impacted. Many flee, chuckling into the night, as they leave your business and your reputation in tatters.
Types of ransomware attacks
Ransomware infection is malware sabotage that seizes control of a computer via manipulation of that computer’s vulnerable system. People often consider paying the ransom asked to free their computer of the malicious code, but that does not guarantee the thieves will honor the deal once paid.
As cybersecurity systems and security awareness training programs rise, hackers become stealthier and more sophisticated in their techniques. This causes them to ramp up old standbys, creating a new kind of cyberattack.
Below are four of the primary modes of ransomware attacks that currently exist. Be aware that new ones may pop up at any given time.
Current ransomware cyberattacks include:
Double extortion: Remember the “Wanna Cry” ransomware attack? The infamous cyberattack cost an unprecedented $4 billion in related recovery. It was unique in that it installed a double ransomware whammy that held files hostage and retained remote control of the data simultaneously. The main problem at work here? Even if you paid the ransom, you had no idea if the “kidnapper” would honor the arrangement and release your info. In other words, threat actors may grab their victim’s data and encrypt it.
RaaS: Easy to find on the dark web, a RaaS (Ransomware as a Service) ransomware attack stems from an illegal but functional software platform that is sold to anyone who wants access. Like the more legitimate SaaS (Software as a Service), a RaaS platform offers a subscription to a kit that can range from $40 a month to a few thousand dollars. The ransomware actors who invest in these kits know they can make a considerable payday. For them, the investment may well be worth it.
Locker: A copycat of a vicious cyberattack called Cryptolocker. This highly effective malware infected over 250,000 computers and locked business files, making access impossible. Threat actors often demand payment via money transfer to unlock the captured files.
Crypto: Crypto-ransomware can come at you in several ways, but the most common distribution is via email and instant message. Malicious executable files and links can be delivered in these situations, catching victims off guard. Trojan downloaders and exploit kits also utilize file formats ranging from doc, docx., xslx., zipped folders and even PDF invoices.
No matter the delivery style, businesses can avert these damaging cybersecurity risks if they know what to look for.
How to sidestep debilitating cyberattacks
The best thing to do is to avoid a ransomware event altogether. A security awareness training program at your company is one way to mitigate cybersecurity risks at the workplace.
The numerous pointers and tips you learn during a comprehensive security awareness training program include:
Establish a plan: A ransomware attack is a data breach that can be mitigated if caught early enough. For this reason, frequent testing and the establishment of recovery systems are imperative.
Keep staff training consistent: Ensure everyone is fully cognizant of the protocols that mitigate data security breaches. This means having security awareness training sessions across all interdepartmental areas.
Enable ransomware protection: It may be worth your while to invest in cybersecurity insurance to safeguard your business and protect your hard-earned reputation.
A reliable security awareness training program you can trust
Investing in an expert security awareness training program is necessary in the modern business era, as it can stop a data breach before it becomes an issue. Should the worst possible scenario occur, the right professional tools will assist you in determining the best course of action needed to protect your data.
Right Networks offers a primo security awareness training program that can do the above and more. Contact us today to learn how to protect your company’s data as cybercriminals continue to up their game.