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Are You a Cybercrime Target?

Are You a Cybercrime Target?

April 6, 2023

We focus a lot of our attention on securing our clients’ computing infrastructures from the large amount of threats that are out there. We look to legitimately protect the entire network and infrastructure with our tools and expertise. The hackers, on the other hand, understand that they are more apt to be successful if they target certain users of your organization. Let’s look at a potential profile of someone that a savvy hacker would like to target.

What are the True Motivations of Hackers?

The first thing you have to ascertain when looking at what hackers look for is what motivates them. Typically, the motivation for hackers is financial gain. In fact, according to some studies, up to 85 percent of all Internet-based crime is financially motivated, so it stands to reason that any security strategy you decide on will have to take that into account. 

Of course, theft of money is not the only way that hackers can hurt your organization’s pocketbook. A successful (for them) hack can lead to malware infestation (including ransomware), prolonged downtime, and loss of customer reverence. This can not only hurt your pocketbook immediately, it can keep your organization from creating the relationships needed for sustainable growth. 

How Do Hackers Choose Their Targets?

You’d think with the amount of phishing attacks that are sent out every day that there are just indiscriminate attacks that are looking to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. That’s not the case at all. Most hackers do their own research and due diligence before setting out targeting the organizations and users they end up targeting. This research typically includes:

  • Scouring the Dark Web - Hackers will look to the Dark Web to find places to target. Studies have shown that over half of the sites on the Dark Web support some kind of illegal activity. On the Dark Web hackers will gain access to accounts and data, and can sell off their spoils to shady buyers. 
  • Cash-Rich Businesses - A lot of hacking is putting themselves in a good position to get money and data. This means taking money from organizations that have it. Most hackers that are looking for ways to steal money will target workers that work at high-revenue companies.
  • Small or New Businesses - On the other side of the coin, with businesses that are new to hanging out their shingle just trying to get everything in order, hackers tend to take advantage of that inherent chaos. 

What Industries are Most Targeted?

If you work in some industries, the data that you work with is much more valuable than others. Let’s take a look at the most commonly hacked industries to give you a good idea how much demand there is for your business’ data.

  • Healthcare - The most frequently-hacked businesses work in the healthcare sector. In fact, nine out of every ten hospitals have been victims of cyberattacks in the past three years. That’s a ridiculous coverage rate. Most cyberattacks in healthcare manifest as malware attacks (including ransomware) and can cost providers millions of dollars.
  • Nonprofits - You’d think, with the title of nonprofit, that there would be little demand for hackers to try and infiltrate this market, but it is one of the most hacked markets there is. The reasons are that, despite their name, they hold a fair amount of valuable data (such as fundraising data). They also presumably don’t have the capital to invest in high-end cybersecurity and are therefore low-hanging fruit for hackers. 
  • Finance and Insurance - Finance and Insurance companies are basically the opposite of nonprofits. They hold financial resources as well as extraordinarily valuable data.

If your industry doesn’t fall into these categories, it doesn’t mean you are out of the woods, virtually any business can be a target, and smaller businesses are just as susceptible.

What You Need to Do to Protect Your Organization from Hackers

Obviously, you can never be 100% confident that your organization won’t become a target for hackers, but you can do some of the following things to ensure that, if you do become a target, you are prepared:

  • Cybersecurity training - Nowadays, there are platforms that can teach and test your workers so you know they can identify phishing messages, create and store secure passwords, and do the things necessary to keep your network and infrastructure secure. 
  • Deploy tools - Today, there are a lot of security tools that your business can use to keep unauthorized individuals off of your network and your infrastructure free from threats. 
  • Data backup - Having your data and applications reliably backed up can give you some insurance should your network or data be exposed. 
  • Monitoring - One of the best ways to ensure that you are able to mitigate threats is to constantly monitor the network. 

At First Column IT, we can help your organization create the policies, procedures, and training strategies needed to keep your business up and running and your network and infrastructure free from threats. Give our IT security experts a call today at (571) 470-5594 to learn more. 

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