If you want to win the cybercrime game, you must understand how cyber criminals operate. With the rising increase of viruses and cybercrime, you are aware of the fact that hackers have significantly changed over the years. The evolution of hackers continues to make it difficult to stay ahead of attacks and potential threats.

You may remember a time when hackers were viewed as a group of enthusiasts who wanted to make improvements and customizations to technology. However, that is not the case for today’s hackers. The motives of hackers have significantly changed over the years, but the behaviors and public views of hackers have also changed.

You can never be too cautious or too careful with hacking threats. One thing to know about unethical hackers is that they utilize their time by searching for ways to frustrate your defenses and manipulate your oversights.

Hackers will create fraudulent email addresses and phony social media accounts that will lead you to believe they are the email accounts and social media accounts of family members, colleagues, friends, suppliers, etc. Hackers are depending on you to be too busy or too unaware of what else is going on to notice the fake email account.

Hackers — Then vs. Now

Do you remember when computers were massively expensive and not accessible to the general public? Computers became more accessible to the general public in the 1970s, in large part due to more microprocessors being produced in 1971. Before computers became more accessible, hacking and criminal intent were not synonymous.

The motives of hackers during these times were to explore the new and fascinating technology. 50 years ago, hackers wanted to learn more about the new hardware and equipment that was being introduced to the world. 10 years later, as more homes were equipped with computers, hackers were no longer being viewed as an enthusiast who just wanted to explore technology. In the 80s, many hackers would find excitement in hacking into businesses, organizations, and institutions just because they could. The motives behind these actions were mainly for enjoyment and to boast.

Today, we rely on connectivity and collaboration, and the attack surface has changed significantly. Today’s motives for hackers are for much more than pleasure and bragging rights; today’s hackers are looking for monetary gain and to carry out their sophisticated plans. Hackers are more advanced and sophisticated, and equipped with some of the best technology on the market, allowing them to gain access to what they want and any time.

Technologies and Cyber Activities Have Changed

Today’s hacking comes from cyber terrorists, organized criminals, hacktivists, etc. There have been a variety of instances of cyber terrorists and hacktivists doing everything in their power to carry out their missions. Some attackers want to be paid in exchange for the release of the information they have obtained. Ransomware attackers will hack into any system, successfully infiltrate it, and demand a large sum of ransomware.

There was a time when users would accidentally click a link that would execute a pop-up with this alert: “You Have Been Hacked”. Sometimes you could run a scan with your anti-virus software and correct the problem. Today, this is no longer the case for many users. Many users are completely unaware they have been hacked.

Today, everything is a ”multi-layer approach”, and anti-virus software is not powerful enough to fix this type of hack. If users click on links today and are hacked, users will not be alerted, but the hackers have access to key information and are watching your current and future activity. The hackers will execute things on the back end without your knowledge. The hacker will learn your habits and pretend to be you online.

Let’s take a look to see what technologies and activities have advanced over the years.:

The Firewall

When there was a threat of cyber crimes in the past, businesses and organizations would take steps to install and maintain a firewall. An outside vendor could install the firewall, but the cost would be rather expensive. Firewalls could also be built with free software that could be found on the internet. Today, a traditional firewall will no longer provide the necessary level of support if this is the only tool that is being utilized. Managed services are needed if a firewall is going to be effective against threats.

Encryption

In the past, the recommendations were to make passwords and financial information difficult to figure out or obtain. Certificates could be used to protect personal data and financial information while it traveled from one network to the next. Today, the protection of personal data and financial information is still a major concern. Encryption will always be important, but it is not the same topic as complex passwords.

Securing Your Servers

In the past, just as it is today, businesses and organization have a variety of suppliers, vendors, consultants, partners, entering and leaving the office on a daily basis. The recommendation 20 years ago was to implement access control policies and house sensitive information on a different server. Today, confidential data can be made available in the cloud, from anywhere. However, internal threats are still vulnerable points for any business or organization’s systems. It is important to plan for how data is stored, how the tools are protected, and to ensure you have the policies in place that can help reduce the risks of becoming victims of internal and external threats.

Best Practices For Your Business

There are many best practices your business or organization can implement to mitigate risks and increase security and protection. We understand how overwhelming this can be and how huge of a challenge it may seem, but a few best practices you should consider are:

  • Use better passwords and do not use passwords
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication
  • Be cautious and suspicious
  • Deploy and implement patches
  • Conduct a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
  • Implement Security Awareness Training
  • Create cybersecurity policies that are effective

We have definitely come a long way since those times. Unfortunately, cybercrime and cybercriminals have also come a long way. Cybercriminals have become extremely sophisticated at stealing information, causing havoc, extorting money, causing hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars of damage, and causing public shame to businesses and organizations.

While cybercriminals are equipped with sophisticated and advanced tools, there are also advanced resources and equipment available to businesses and organizations. If you are concerned about your security practices and vulnerabilities, contact us today at 847-888-1900 to learn about our service offerings.

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