We’ve been saying that 2016 will be a rough year for cyberattacks, and already on January 6, up to 320,000 Time Warner Cable customer accounts were hacked. Most likely, it was a phishing attack on other companies that store Time Warner subscriber information.
In recent years, we’ve seen high-profile attacks such as the ones on Target customers, Healthcare.gov users, Home Depot shoppers, and more. But most leading experts agree that the worst is still yet to come, because we will soon see cybercriminals putting all of that stolen data to use.
In most cases, hackers don’t steal millions of credit card numbers and then attempt to use all of them. That would be a burdensome process, and put them at risk of discovery. Instead, they sell stolen credit card data, passwords, account information, and so forth on the black market. For instance, the Target security breach netted hackers about 53.7 million dollars, according to the news site Krebs on Security.
Phishing is on the rise. Cyber criminals are developing increasingly sophisticated phishing methods. Remember those poorly-spelled, ridiculous emails from “Nigerian princes” who wanted to store their millions in your bank account? People actually used to fall for those scams. But cyber criminals have realized that we’ve caught onto them, so now they have developed more realistic and believable phishing scams. Now you might receive a very authentic-looking email from your bank, asking for certain information… only that email is not from your bank!
Bots are the next big thing. Bots are pieces of software that run automated tasks over the internet. There are good bots, like those used by Google to catalog websites, and bad bots, like those used by hackers to gather data or commit fraud. Bots actually account for 60 percent of website traffic, whereas actual human beings only account for 40 percent!
The problem is that hackers who use bots are getting better at disguising them. In 2016, many of the bad bots will become so good at blending in, that many of them will not be detectable. One growing underground industry revolves around using bots to scrape data from online retailers’ websites. Unfortunately, many bot technologies are not even considered “criminal” by the law – but they can still cause major damage. And because they’re so easy to launch and use, bots are likely to become a bigger problem in 2016.
For years, many large corporations didn’t pay enough attention to cyber security. And even today, they are paying for their mistakes. Businesses can’t afford to make mistakes from this point going forward. We have disregarded cyber criminals long enough, and they’re no longer just taking down websites for fun or causing minor mischief. They’re after money now, and lots of it. Only a proactive approach to security can keep your company protected.
For more information on protecting your network from cyber crime and other dangers the lurk on the internet, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH.