Be prudent towards cybersecurity before its too late

Be prudent towards cybersecurity before its too late

Hollywood movies give us an insight as to how it is going to feel when someone puts a gun on your head and asks you for ransom. The good part is we can anticipate the reaction and prevention of any such situation. However, virtual life is significantly different from the ones we see in reel or sometimes unfortunately in real life. People stay under the misapprehension of the virtual world being a safe one, as no physical or face to face contact is made. If you think the same, you may want to rethink it.

The advancement in technology is no doubt, making life much easier. All it takes is just one click to flourish businesses, contact and lock deals and expand the clientele base. Communication has become easier and people can contact anyone from any corner of the world. But are these advantages turning into a bane? In recent years, it most definitely has. Cybersecurity is one of the biggest concerns of businesses that carry most of its operations online. Phishing, vishing, ransomware, smshing are few of many cyber threats occurring on an hourly if not daily basis. One such cyber threat that has caught the attention of cyber police and tech enthusiasts is ransomware.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a kind of malware that is used to infect the devices of individuals or businesses. There are a few variants available as of now including the ones which either infect the device and encrypt the files. The other ones get access to the device and either delete the files or block them till they get the desired ransom. The amount of ransom can be anything between $200-$20,000, gift cards or bitcoins with no specific pattern in the value of ransom.

The loss related to a ransomware attack is not only limited to the amount of ransom itself, but it hits the victim in many ways. The losses include the loss of data, amount of ransom, legal charges, IT costs, cybersecurity software and loss of productivity. One ransomware attack can affect the victim in numerous ways, from which it takes months or even years to recover. When a phisher attacks a victim he makes sure to take full advantage of the opportunity and attacks all the devices including the desktops and even the smartphones; leading to complete wreck in the system.

How does a ransomware attack work?

The attacks vectors it’s way to the victim because of his own activities. When the victim clicks on unauthorised links, e-mails containing malicious attachments, compromised websites or sometimes drive-by downloads; the malware gets downloaded automatically and infects the system. 

Another method used by phishers to trap their victims is the use of cyber threat actors. This method is a combination of spear-phishing and ransomware. When the attacker intends to attack a specific person, this method stands by far most successful. After mining all the information, the phisher contacts the victim, win the trust and then attack him by persuading him to click the malicious link or attachment. Using actors in such attacks helps in gaining more money or ransom in comparison to sending mass e-mails or messages. 

Top 3 important steps for mitigation of ransomware attack

  • Incidental response plan- This is very similar to cybersecurity training where the employees of an organization are trained on how to prevent, respond and identify various phishing attacks. During the ransomware attack, the employees, employer or individual are trained on how to respond to a ransomware attack.
  • Anti-spam and antivirus- The antivirus and anti-spam solutions are your go-to preventive measures when it comes to phishing attacks. Make sure you upgrade them time-to-time for better protection.
  • Backups are saviors- The main element of a ransomware attack is stealing or encryption of important data. If you already own a backup of all the important data which you know may cause trouble if it gets stolen or deleted, it will significantly mitigate the loss caused by an attack.

Facts and figures

  • The bar graph below is the clear representation of the growth in damage and cost of ransomware which shows a whopping increase to an estimated $20billion dollar in 2020 alone
be-prudent-towards-cybersec-growthstats

To sum up final thoughts

The greed for quick and easy money by people with ill-intentions has stooped them down to a level where they use their brightest brains to weave ideas for trapping people. The ransomware attacks are getting more and more sophisticated which is making it difficult to avoid or prevent them. However, with proper training and preventive measures as stated above; the task doesn’t seem impossible. Therefore, its high time one must get alert with the activities online to save oneself and businesses from huge losses.

Be prudent towards cybersecurity before its too late

10 steps to shield your organization from cyber threats

The prevalence of threats to cybersecurity can compromise the security of your organization’s data and cause serious ramifications. Therefore, it is important to take adequate measures to safeguard your organization from online attacks.

Here are the top 10 tips that can help strengthen the security of your enterprise

  1. Protect your hardware

    Data breaches due to stolen devices are quite common, it is essential to secure your company’s hardware. Make sure the servers and network devices are housed in a guarded space and accessible only to designated professionals. Regularly checking the hardware for any potential tampering can also help in detection of any foul play by intruders.

  2. Software Updates

    Keeping all your company software updated can mitigate security risks. Postponing updates can expose your organization to the latest online threats because the updates might have patches to deal with system vulnerabilities.
    Since new threats emerge on a regular basis, your software should be equipped enough to combat them. Although they might cost you a penny, however, the latest software products are worthwhile investments considering the potential loss due to cyber-crimes.

  3. Stringent Password Policy

    Since hacking passwords is an easy way to enter your organization’s online world, using strong passwords that are not easily guessable need to be made mandatory. Employees must also change their passwords periodically.
    There should be clear rules to discourage password sharing or inadvertent revelation of passwords. Passwords must never be written down on paper because it might fall in the hands of people with ill-intention who intends to gain unauthorized access to your information.

  4. Network security

    Make sure to monitor your network constantly and create logs that can help identify suspicious activity. Since the virus in one device can crawl through and shut the entire network down, hence one must make sure to scan every device connected to the company network.
    Restricting the use of external devices is also crucial because that can be used to not only export information but also bring in malware or other malicious software. Encrypting all data and regular automated backups can prevent data loss in the event of a harmful intrusion.

  5. Employee Awareness

    Your company should foster an environment of employee awareness, discussing the significance of threats to cybersecurity and the damage that can be caused to your organization. Employees need to be educated about the best practices to follow while logging in to the company online. Services like PhishGrid helps with education and simulation training which ensure that employees adhere to security protocols.

  6. Firewall and Anti-Virus

    Installing the latest security software can help protect your organization against Trojan horses and ransomware. Most anti-virus software might not be robust enough to detect the newer strains of malware that can create havoc in your network. Therefore, investing in buying firewall software that can prevent the entry of such perilous software into your company network is advisable. Installing specialized security applications that target malware can also help nip such security threats in the bud.

  7. Being up to Date

    Reading magazines and news articles about malicious software and constantly doing the rounds can help you devise an appropriate plan to counter the threats. Network security professionals need to know of the latest threats and efficient ways to banish them.

  8. Admin Access

    Granting admin privileges to only qualified professionals can minimize security risks. Make sure that network control is managed by only a handful of employees who are accountable for data security. Constantly monitoring user activity and auditing logs can help in preventing accidental exposure to threats to cybersecurity.

  9. Unsecured Networks and Unsecured Sites

    Access to unsecure websites within the organization must be curtailed. All employees connected to the network need to be aware of ways to identify potential dangerous websites. Telecommuting employees need to be informed of the perils of related to unsecure networks for logging in to the organization’s servers. Implementing Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can help create a secure channel of communication between the company’s website and the remote employee.

  10. Incident Management

    A well-equipped Incident management system needs to be in place to curb the ill effects of an attack immediately after its occurrence. Incident management professionals are needed to be trained in disaster recovery procedures and should facilitate business continuity.
    The company must be ready to provide a prompt incident response to limit the consequences of an attack. Speedy efforts to take remedial action and quarantining affected systems can help restrict the spread of malware. Employees must also be instantly notified about actions to be taken to avert the crisis.

Conclusion

Fighting against malware that can sneak into your organizational network unannounced is a constant battle. Therefore, diligent efforts are needed, to effectively manage your company online and defend it from hackers. By following the aforementioned tips, you can fortify and enhance the security of your enterprise and guarantee its smooth functioning without any interruption.

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Cyber-crime: Payment facilitators falling prey to the scammers

Millions of complaints get registered around the world to the cyber-security regarding the cybercrime. In fact, many fraudulent activities may not even be getting registered to cyber-security.

Today, the e-commerce business gives a high return to the business organization.  These high returns bring high risk to them. E-commerce businesses depend upon electronic transactions so as to charge customers for products purchased and services offered. The magnitude of these electronic transactions is increasing day by day, thereby increasing fraudulent activities.

Payment facilitator companies take the responsibility legally for transferring funds from buyers to sellers. The payment facilitator faces challenges when the firm is smaller or if it is a start-up company. Because these firms don’t have proper technical resources, time, and funds required to get up and running. Payment facilitators while doing transactions for their respective customers often look for the easiest mode for payment transactions and restrict the barrier, which opens the gate to many scammers/fraudsters. Scammers then weave a web for these payment facilitators and attack their database system.

Digital payment frauds are the easiest way. Cybercriminals are very active over the internet as it provides them with the perfect environment and they often have a team. Because consumers and merchants are not interacting face-to-face, they remain anonymous to one another. If the payment processing facility like the process involves making payment initiation and the payment methods of the facilitators are weak it may easily attract the villains to breach their security system and get all the personal, as well as financial data of the customer. Scammers obtain all this information online. When they gain access to the internal systems, scammers may successfully be able to generate files as per the requirement.

Scammers then start sending messages over the phone, e-mail to the respective customers. These messages will appear to customers as if they are being sent by the merchants and customers fall for this trap. 

To further generate more revenues these facilitators develop an app for mobile. The app is used by numerous people and scammers too. Scammers use their app to know about the payment solution by making payments of less or higher value.

Scammers make calls, send emails, text, or send pop-up windows falsely claiming to individuals that their computers have malware or have been infected with viruses. Scammers promise to fix a problem for a charge or offer a download that gives cybercriminals access to their computers and their personal information. At times, cybercriminals also enroll people in long-term computer maintenance plans to protect their computers from problems they have never experienced. Most often, cybercriminals target older people and other demographics that may be less computer savvy.

Chargeback Fraud or Friendly Fraud: Let us say a customer makes an online purchase. Later, they claim that the purchase was made fraudulently and ask for a chargeback – even though they made the purchase themselves.

Merchant fraud: It occurs when someone creates a bogus company with no intention of selling any product to the customer. The business appears legitimate; but since it offers no actual goods or services, all users who make an online purchase only end up losing their money.

CONCLUSION

Risks are always involved in every job so it is in the case of payment facilitators too. While it’s challenging to eliminate the threat of fraud for e-commerce stores entirely, payment facilitator companies can still protect them up to some extent. They can do this by continually updating the network security systems. Firewalls and antivirus software are designed to act as a shield against hackers’. Constantly updating software helps ensure that sensitive business information is safe. 

It is not only payment facilitator’s but our responsibility too to act in a secure way. Today banks therefore warn their customers to not respond to the calls which ask for bank details like account number, credit card/debit card number because banks do not need such data from their customers.

Scammers continue to update their system and fraud technology and become more sophisticated. Payment facilitators have to keep themselves aware of the latest trends in high-risk scams so they can protect themselves. They have to be more vigilant so that they can protect themselves from problems and other digital payment frauds.

TIKAJ’s services will help you stay secure from online frauds.