If you’re running a business, you are well aware of the potential for damage in the event that a hacker gets into your network. And the hackers know that you’re aware of it too! You know to establish strong protocol to keep them out, but cyber criminals always try to stay one step ahead of you by figuring out those security tactics.

But lately, many of them have turned their attention to what is perhaps the most vulnerable and imperfect part of your system: The users. Human beings, of course, are not machines. And therefore we are prone to very understandable, human errors.

This is where “credential harvesting” comes into play. Rather than attack your network directly, hackers have learned to exploit the users’ identities and credentials.

According to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 81 percent of data breaches originated with stolen or weak user credentials. If a hacker can get a hold of a user’s credentials, that helps them unlock anything connected to that network (databases, financial accounts, and more).

What does “credential harvesting” mean, exactly? It simply means that instead of focusing on breaking into your network as a whole, the hacker focuses on users within your network. Whether by phishing or complex social engineering tactics, he gains access to certain credentials such as passwords (or even information that can be used to guess passwords). Then, working backwards, criminals can then get into devices, accounts, or your cloud system, and often unleash havoc within your larger network.

Once inside the system, the hacker can even use password dumping tools to extract passwords from the memory of your system. For example, the MalWare WannaMine has been used to gather passwords from inside infected systems.

Yes, your cybersecurity measures must view credential harvesting as the latest threat. Luckily, we do have numerous ways to guard against this insidious practice, from educating employees on phishing schemes and suspcious links, to new software aimed at identifying potential credential harvesting programs.

A robust and regulary updated cybersecurity protocol is always the key to addressing the latest threats, so remember that security is not a “once and done” exercise! Give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH to learn more about credential harvesting and other modern threats to your system, and we will show you how to guard against them.