Cyber Scams: 3 Ways Cyber Criminals Can Steal Your Data & 5 Tips to Protect Your Business!

Stephanie Chong oversees business development in Asia for Datto Inc,the leading provider of total data protection solutions for businesses around the world. Stephanie gives LadyBoss readers 5 tips to protect you and your business from cyber attacks. 

Phishing is the leading tactic leveraged by today’s ransomware hackers, typically delivered in the form of an email, chat, web ad or website designed to impersonate a real system and organization.

Angler, Cryptolocker and Locky – no, you’ll not find them in Pokemon Go, but you may find them on your computer one day.  They’re types of ransomware which is now a major threat to individuals and businesses alike. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data on infected systems and which has become a lucrative option for cyber extortionists. When the malware is run, it locks victims’ files and allows criminals to demand payment to release them.

At the root of the majority of ransomware attacks is the tactic of social engineering, leveraged by hackers, which involves manipulating a person in order to access corporate systems and private information. Social engineering plays into our trusting natures as human beings. For cyber criminals, it is the easiest method for obtaining access to a private corporate system. After all, why would they spend the time trying to guess someone’s password when they can simply ask for it themselves?

Below is a quick and dirty overview of today’s most common and effective social engineering scams. If you don’t know these leading hacker tactics, you and your employees could fall for them.

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Phishing is the leading tactic leveraged by today’s ransomware hackers, typically delivered in the form of an email, chat, web ad or website designed to impersonate a real system and organization. Often crafted to deliver a sense of urgency and importance, the message within these emails often appears to be from the government or a major corporation and can include logos and branding.

Baiting is similar to phishing but also involves offering something enticing in exchange for private data. The “bait” comes in many forms, often digital, such as a music or movie download. Once the bait is taken, malicious software is delivered directly into the victim’s computer.

Quid Pro Quo is similar to baiting and involves a request for the exchange of private data but for a service. For example, you might receive a phone call from the hacker posing as a technology expert offering free IT assistance in exchange for login credentials.

So what’s the best way to protect you and your business from cyber attacks?

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A recent survey conducted by Datto found that of the businesses surveyed who had suffered a ransomware attack, 93% actually had anti-virus software in place.

#1 : Antivirus Software

Cybersecurity technology starts with antivirus software, designed to detect, block, and remove viruses and malware. Modern antivirus software can protect against ransomware and other cybernasties including keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, adware, and spyware. Some products are designed to detect other threats, such as malicious URLs, phishing attacks, social engineering techniques and identity theft.

#2 : Firewalls

A network firewall is also essential. Firewalls are designed to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a set of configurable rules—separating your secure internal network from the Internet, which is not considered secure. Firewalls are typically deployed as an appliance on your network and in many cases offer additional functionality, such as virtual private network (VPN) for remote workers.

#3 : Patch Management

Patch management is an important consideration as well. Cyber criminals design their attacks around vulnerabilities in popular software products such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Flash Player. As vulnerabilities are exploited, software vendors issue updates to address them. As such, using outdated versions of software products can expose your business to security risks. There are a variety of solutions available that can automate patch management.

#4: Password Management

Recent studies have reported that weak passwords are at the heart of the rise in cyber theft, causing 76% of data breaches. Many people have a document that contains all of their password information in one easily accessible file—this is unsafe and unnecessary. There are many password management apps available today. These tools allow you to keep track of all your passwords, and if any of your accounts are compromised you can change all of your passwords quickly. Encryption is also an important consideration. Encrypting hard drives ensures that data will be completely inaccessible, for example if a laptop is stolen.

These measures protect against a wide array of cyber attacks. However, because threats like ransomware are always evolving, security solutions are just one part of an effective defence strategy.  A recent survey conducted by Datto found that of the businesses surveyed who had suffered a ransomware attack, 93% actually had anti-virus software in place.  So you also need solutions in place that enable you to return to operations quickly if you do suffer a cyber attack. Data protection technologies are an essential second layer of defense against cyber crime.

#5 : Backup and Recovery

Taking frequent backups of all data considered necessary to your business is critical. The exact frequency of backups will vary based on your business’ specific needs. Traditionally, most businesses took a daily backup, and for some businesses this may still be suitable. However, today’s backup products are designed to make incremental copies of data throughout the day to minimize data loss.

When it comes to protecting against cyber attacks, solutions that back up regularly allow you to restore data to a point in time before the breach occurred without losing all of the data created since the previous night’s backup. Talk to an IT Managed Service Provider who will be able to offer advice on which solution is right for you.

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Cybercrime is growing at a rapid rate and businesses are increasingly targeted. A recent Juniper Research study estimates that cybercrime will cost businesses US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019, increasing by almost 4X the cost of breaches in 2015.

Developing a robust, multi-layered cybersecurity strategy can save a business. Ongoing employee education and security technology will boost your front line of defence and dramatically decrease the likelihood of any breaches.

Lastly, a solid, reliable backup and recovery solution is the second and most essential layer of defence, allowing businesses to quickly recover unscathed should things turn ugly.


Stephanie Chong

Business Development Asia

Datto Inc. Datto protects essential business data for tens of thousands of the world’s fastest growing companies. Through Datto’s network of partners, they provide companies with products and services designed to continually keep business running. Partners rely on Datto for industry-leading technology combined with unrivaled customer service. Datto is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut and has offices in Rochester, Boston, Toronto, London, Singapore and Sydney.


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