It has been said that data is the lifeblood of a business. It helps with a variety of business applications – from more personalized services and products to increased security and decision making. Unfortunately, this valuable data is also a prime target for hackers and malware. In this BlogBytes, we will define the most prevalent forms of cyber-attacks and discuss how cyber-defense strategies, like LTO tape storage, can help keep hackers out!
Cyber-attacks have existed ever since data went digital. A report in a recent BBC article revealed that organizations in seven European countries experienced, “…a sharp increase in the number of cyber-attacks this year, with more than 60% of firms having reported one or more attacks – up from 45% in 2018.”
A related BBC article revealed that a ransomware attack left a Norwegian aluminum manufacturer with a difficult task to recover after, “…hackers took 22,000 computers offline at 170 different sites around the world.”
Cyber-attacks can result in the loss of, data, business, and revenue and can damage reputation, not to mention the fines and penalties that can be incurred for compromised sensitive information. Organizations must protect themselves and their assets against cyber-crime. What are the most common forms of attack? Read on.
Cyber-warfare can manifest itself in many forms. The most prevalent weapons being used are phishing and malware. Let’s take a closer look at each:
Phishing: phishing.org describes phishing as, “…a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.”
A phishing attack can result in personal identity theft, financial loss and serve as a gateway into an organization where data theft and destruction can occur.
Malware: is a contraction of the term “malicious software.” Avg.com defines malware as “…any piece of software that was written with the intent of doing harm to data, devices or to people.” It can come in a variety of forms including: virus, Trojans, spyware, worms, adware and ransomware.
Any form of malware can be a harrowing experience, but the most feared is ransomware. Ransomware can be used to lock up computers and files in a business with the threat to delete everything unless a ransom is paid to the hacker. Most experts advise not to pay the ransom and encourage organizations to prepare a defense ahead of time.
Prepare a Defense
To help prevent and defend against cyber-attacks, professionals recommend the following guidelines:
- Educate: employees must be aware of suspicious emails that can contain destructive links and attachments – when in doubt get your IT security officer involved.
- Implement safeguards: use anti-virus and anti-spam systems and keep them automatically updated; use fire-walls, data encryption and comply with regulations for protecting customer data; use physical barriers, locks and passwords for data systems, PCs and mobile devices.
- Secure data: back up sensitive data onto tape. Tape offers offline protection by providing an air gap between the tape and computer systems. An air gap occurs when a tape is removed from the tape drive. There is no longer a connection to the data on the tape, thus preventing systems, hackers and malware from accessing it. In the event online data is hacked, destroyed or held for ransom, the offline tape can be utilized to restore the data. A data protection white paper by IDC notes: “…tape has shown itself to be an effective means of providing an “air gap” between live data and protected data. This air gap is essential to thwarting more sophisticated ransomware and malware that attempts to corrupt live, backup, and archive data simultaneously.”
The likelihood of a cyber-attack is high. Take precautions now – protect your organization by implementing a strong security action plan that includes tape storage for the ultimate protection to keep hackers out.