Overcome The Many Challenges Of Digital Transformation

While convenient, working remotely has two-fold risks

Digital Transformation

Today, hackers use machine learning, AI, and other technologies to launch sophisticated attacks. These technologies enable them to expedite attacks — from weeks to days. For example, Emotet, a malware program that targets banks, is believed to be capable of changing the nature of attacks. It can leverage AI and machine learning to automate attacks and send out contextualized phishing emails.

Other capabilities and technologies have also advanced over the years. For example, ransomware attacks have doubled since 2019, thanks to factors like ransomware as a service (RaaS) and cryptocurrencies, which have reduced the cost of launching attacks.

These attacks are a growing pain for more than 50% of cyber leaders, and 80% believe that ransomware attacks are a significant threat to public safety.

The number of Remote Desktop Protocol and internet attacks has also grown, and 2022 already has record numbers of attacks.

2. Mobile is the New Target

The increased use of smartphones and tablets has made them potential prospects for hackers. Today, mobile devices hold lots of information and can be connected to your company’s network at any time — this makes them prime targets for attackers.

Since mobile devices have software and internet access, they have security threats, such as data leakage, unsecured Wi-Fi, phishing or smishing attacks, spyware, spoofing, and SPAM. For instance, in 2020, every organization experienced at least one mobile malware attack, according to a report by Check Point.

Also, about 46% of organizations had at least one employee download a mobile app that threatened their systems and networks. Mobile devices are desirable to APT groups and actors, such as Rampant Kitten, which has previously targeted mobile users using an elaborate and sophisticated campaign.

3. Cloud is Potentially Vulnerable

Cloud computing is quite effective and efficient in delivering different services via the internet. It facilitates the on-demand availability of resources, such as servers, files, and applications, to support business operations in various ways.

However, the cloud can be vulnerable to flaws or weaknesses in a cloud environment, which attackers can exploit. The impact can even be worse for companies that count on a single cloud deployment for their business needs. Multi-cloud environments also add security and complexity challenges due to a lack of visibility and control. Therefore, businesses must now consider additional cloud cybersecurity protection tools and robust access control such as multi-factor authentication.

Between 2018 and 2019, up to 33 billion business records were exposed due to poor cloud security implementation. Also, up to 68% of organizations believe that cloud account takeovers pose a considerable risk to their operations. While the cloud has different benefits, its success hinges on secure implementation and use.

4. Misinformation/SCAM is Still Rampant

In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission received fraud reports from over 2.8 million consumers. Imposter scams accounted for the majority of cases, and consumers lost $5.8 billion to fraud that year, representing a 70-percent increase from 2020.

This information highlights the prevalence of scams and how attackers can use them to exploit unsuspecting users to share valuable information or send money to bad actors. For example, an attacker can email or call your employee in the disguise of tech support, gov’t agency, or bank support. They can then use the information to access your system and accounts.

In 2020, businesses filed 241,342 complaints of phishing scams, which cost them $54 million in losses. Scams targeting small businesses take different forms, including fake invoices, unordered office supplies or other products, directory listing scams, utility company imposters, business coaching scams, and counterfeit checks.

5. Remote Working Has Its Risks

Working remotely is convenient, but the risk posed by employees is two-fold. Companies cannot control how their files and systems are used with employees working from home. Other factors, such as unattended computers and unsecured Wi-Fi connections, aggravate the risk when working remotely.

A survey by OpenVPN revealed that up to 90% of IT professionals believe that remote workers are not secure. Also, about 70% believe remote workers pose a higher security risk than onsite workers. This assertion shouldn’t be taken lightly today, given that the lines between home and work are increasingly blurred.

A report by HP showed that about 30% of workers admitted to sharing their work devices, while 70% noted that they used the devices for personal tasks, too. Such behaviors pose a huge risk, particularly when roughly 71% of employees say they access company data more frequently while working at home.

Remote working has benefits and can be quite effective in improving employee productivity. However, hackers are taking note of these shifting patterns to improve their phishing and spam campaigns.

6. Social Engineering, Human Factor

Social engineering is the preferred method for soliciting information by attackers — it’s effective, and that’s why up to 98% of cyber attacks rely on social engineering to penetrate systems. It’s an effective strategy that can manipulate an elementary school student, a company’s CEO, or even a seasoned IT professional.

It has even become relatively easy for attackers to implement this technique with increased social media platforms. To target users, they use blended attacks, such as spear-phishing, business email compromise, and deep-fake. Other attacks include quid pro quo, tailgating, pretexting, and baiting.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine October 2022 issue.
Published on
Oct 03, 2022
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