If you or your company operates online in any way, chances are that, at some point, you will have fallen victim to some form of cyberattack already; and, if you’re lucky enough not to have found yourself a target, it’s highly like you will at some point.
Cybercrime has been a real and present danger facing companies and individuals for many years—and it shows absolutely no signs of slowing. As with all other aspects of life, where there’s money, there will be an inevitable, inherent risk of crime. With so many of us now relying so heavily on online services for both our work and personal lives, the risks of falling victim to cybercriminals have increased exponentially over the last few years.
The growth of online criminality
Industry experts suggest the cost of cybercrime in 2015 was around $3 trillion—substantial enough, but a mere drop in the ocean when you consider it is expected to double to $6 trillion in 2021. Perhaps more depressingly, these same experts also suggest online criminality will continue to grow by around 15% per year for the next five years—eventually reaching a value of around $10.5 trillion by 2025.
The increasingly inventive tactics used by cybercriminals
Barely a day goes by without the emergence of a new security threat and online criminals are constantly coming up with new and inventive tactics to gain access to our private data. If you want to stay one step ahead of the hackers, you certainly need to look at investing in professional protection supplied by an online security specialist. Nonetheless, it’s also worth remembering that humans are often the weakest link when it comes to online security, so it’s a good idea to be up to speed with the most common risks. Here are just a few of the most common forms of attack used by hackers these days:
Phishing attacks: In a phishing attack, the hacker will play on our innate human tendency for trust by impersonating a known or trusted source. Most commonly, phishing attacks are carried out using fake emails or websites to fool the user into parting with privileged, sensitive information such as usernames or passwords.
SQL injection: With an SQL injection attack, the hacker will identify, expose, and exploit vulnerabilities in your database permissions—normally through an HTML form page.
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks: In a DDoS attack, the hacker floods a server with requests in order to slow it down or, in some cases, even bring it down completely. DDoS attacks typically come from multiple compromised sources, making them even harder to detect.
Malware attacks: Malware attacks occur when the user downloads and installs a malicious application which then carries out malicious attacks. The most common malware attacks are designed to cause disruption, spy on private communications, or give access to a network. Probably the most well-known of malware attacks is ransomware, where the hacker locks private data then demands a fee to release it again.