We live in a digital world, and more and more aspects of our lives are becoming dependent on cyber technology. Shopping and commerce. Personal connection and correspondence. But as we place more and more of our information online, we are forced to take a hard look at another trend: a surge in cyber crime.
More people are being hacked now than ever before.
With that in mind, we wanted to talk a little about cyber crime, hacking, and security incidents. We’ll clearly define what a security incident is, provide you with an example, and go into detail about the dangers of hacking…and what you can do about it.
What is a security incident?
When something happens on your technology environment, from the smallest email or largest software update, that activity is classified as a security event. When an event is malicious, breaching a system’s security policy and aiming to damage its integrity/availability, it is classified as an incident.
There are different types of security incidents, and they usually stem from a common source- someone attempting to gain unauthorized access to a system. Someone tries to bypass your network security, and gain access to things that they shouldn’t be allowed to see or use.
There are many different types of cyber incidents out there:
- A hacker gaining access to information that’s held within a secure corporate network
- Damage caused to a network system through the use of malware
- Disruption of crucial network services
- Attacks on your IT system from a remote location
There are many ways someone can hack your network and cause havoc, and new hidden threats are constantly emerging. As such, cybersecurity has become a growing industry, as more and more people see the benefit of proactively identifying and managing threats before they cause an incident.
What is an example of a security incident?
One of the best ways to understand these incidents is through a real-life example. Here’s a relatively high-profile example of a cyber incident taking place, and the over-aching impact it had:
Back in 2017, the credit rating agency Equifax announced that criminals had exploited a vulnerability in their web application, and had gained access to confidential data files. In total, it was thought that around 150 million people had their personal information compromised. Obviously, this is particularly problematic due to Equifax being a credit rating agency, with access to particularly sensitive information that could lead to thousands of cases of identity theft.
The fallout from this was massive. It generated a lot of negative press for the company, and Equifax lost the trust of consumers and businesses that relied on their service.
This example goes to prove a principle: when it comes to cyber security, the size of your organization doesn’t matter. Even some of the biggest companies around will suffer from cyber incidents, if they aren’t vigilant in monitoring the type of security events that could turn into security incidents.
What are the dangers of getting hacked?
Most people are aware of cyber incidents. They’ve heard of hackers. They know that being hacked is dangerous, and can cause their organizations a lot of time, energy, and money.
But do they actually know how problematic it can be?
Here are some of the critical issues that arise from hacking:
As in the example mentioned above, this is one of the most obvious instances of “getting hacked.” When a computer network is hacked, the security network isn’t working as it ought to. (If one is present at all.) Any barriers that were in place to protect data? They’ve been dropped. And once a hacker’s gained access to all of this information, they can use it however they want… or sell it to the highest bidder on the dark web.
Whether it’s fair or not: any business that is unable to prevent a data breach will be viewed as incompetent. To make matters worse, those in charge of data security are the ones that really suffer the most. Jobs, accounts, and relationships have been lost because of hackers getting into computer systems. It can be hard to retain business if you suffer a significant breach that costs a company customers.
Compromising data is only one type of security incident. Others, like those stemming from malware, might shut down your system entirely. Malware can be hidden in files that you download online, only to infect your entire technology environment. The same goes for remote attacks – your network ends up being down until the breach is found and fixed. For a business, this means potentially days with no access to your crucial technology. It means days of little-to-no work being done, which comes with its own high price tag.
Loss Of Money
Whether an individual has been hacked or an entire company has been breached, there are a myriad of ways that they could potentially lose money.
A hacker can access your financial information and use it to obtain cash advances, or take out payday loans online. They could also use your details to take money directly from your account.
The bottom line? There are plenty of legitimate threats out there, and if you value your sensitive data, as well as the data of your employees and customers, you need to stay vigilant and learn how to proactively identify and minimize incidents before they happen. So, what can you do about this?
What do you need to do about hackers?
There are a few basic best practices that every organization can employ to be more secure and help prevent security incidents. Don’t give out personal information to unauthorized email addresses. Avoid dealing with sensitive information on public and unprotected wifi networks. Use strong, unique passwords for different websites and programs.
Installing firewall systems on computers is also crucial, and upgrading specific internet security measures will also help.
It’s also highly recommended that technology environments are protected by security information and event management (SIEM) software that can monitor all events and activity on your system, and prevent incidents before they happen. This software can be installed on-prem and managed by an on-staff security expert, or can be outsourced as a cloud-based SIEM-as-a-Service (SaaS) with a trusted security partner.
As cyber incidents are increasing all the time, the value of such a partner is constantly increasing as well. Most organizations aren’t protecting themselves adequately. It can be difficult to stop hackers and undo the damage they create. But with the right experts to help understand your organization’s security fingerprint, you can minimize risk and help stay on top of your cyber security vulnerablities.
Prevention is key! When the right steps are made to counter hackers, it will lead to fewer incidents and a more secure online world. If you’re interested in doing your part to secure your technology against cyber crime, set up a brief conversation with BitLyft. We’d love to assess your readiness and make sure your IT infrastructure is secure.