Do you want a career as a cyber criminal?

Do you want a career as a cyber criminal?

 Cyber attacks are any type of offensive manoeuvre that targets computer systems, infrastructure, computer networks or personal devices whether for malicious intent or information gathering. The range of attacks has grown significantly over the years from simple phishing attacks via email, to very sophisticated businesses advertised from the dark web who run cyber attacks as a service.

It is no secret that there is a huge amount of malware and ransomware that we have to protect against on a daily basis with numerous businesses falling subject to it over the last few years. It might however be shocking to discover that these are not just bored teenagers who fancy earning some extra money or to just cause havoc, but it is now big business with structure, CEO’s, developers, research and development, accountants and even end user support because if you can’t pay to unlock your files there is no business for them. All of this can be made available to anyone through the dark web as Software as a Service or SaaS, who knew you could make a career from hacking without knowing how to hack?

There are also EXPO’s where these businesses meet to discuss tactics, new features and what the latest solutions are, working together to ensure maximum impact on their targets. More and more research is carried out now using any public facing information to get access to targets, there have been cases using information on parents offspring to get in touch, mascaraing as the school or play group they might attend to get them to fill in information.

Spear phishing is also on the rise as more and more people get savvy to emails from senders that don’t match who are trusted so these groups are targeting suppliers of big businesses, infecting the supplier and then going after their customers. As they are a trusted source to begin with they don’t question as much changes in billing or invoices, while this is more effort to the hackers the pay-out can be bigger.

While we might all believe that it is just criminals that are behind hacking on these scales states are probably the main offenders and have the most power. More and more states behave online as they do in real life, pushing more and more boundaries and in a lot of cases exceeding them as its very easy to dismiss who has done it. Examples of this are North Korea attacking banks, bit coin exchanges, protecting their leaders image and dismissing nuclear threat allegations.

One of the most recent examples of a state using cyber intelligence or attacks depending on how you want to view it is Russian spy Sergei Skripal who was poisoned, and no one was convicted of the act similar to the other poisoning incident in 2006. Russia is regularly found on government networks, usually intelligence gathering but could easily be used for damage. They are very much ahead of the curve due to starting in the 90’s producing some of the very first malware and investing lots of time and money into cyber. That is not to say that Russia and Korea are the only states doing this, all states will be including the UK.

So why the sudden shift in cyber attacks? They are very much the new weapon of choice, pay dividends in the results that can be achieved and are not as tracible or rather its harder to convict afterwards. Cyber Intelligence gathering whether for monetary gain by hacker groups or information by states is something that isn’t going to stop anytime soon and is only going to get more and more sophisticated.

So what can we do to protect against this? Doing the basics right such as patching, keeping up with the latest technology, having multiple layers, monitoring, email security, backup with appropriate DR plans and a well thought breach policy as ultimately how you react during an attack will affect the outcome. All of this will help to protect you from 80-90% of all threats on the internet at the moment. Cloud security will need to be re-evaluated especially if you are planning to move all your infrastructure to the cloud, it makes perfect sense, but the security model needs to be updated with you no longer having physical access to equipment.

FCS can help with ensuing your data, email and business is protected with the latest technology that conforms to GDPR and helps in the aftermath of any potential cyber attacks with appropriate email security, backup and disaster recovery plans.

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