Hackers are lurking around almost every corner of the internet and most rely on the same set of basic tactics to breach your network. After gaining access, cybercriminals will steal your assets, data, and revenue before you even realize it, or hold your systems hostage with ransomware. By simply knowing a few of these strategies, you can take steps to better defend yourself and your company against a cyber-attack.
They use Your Social Media Accounts
What might seem like an innocent post could turn into exactly what a hacker needs to acquire your credentials. Uploading images of your loved ones on their birthdays or your childhood home could hold the answers to security questions, which a malicious actor can then bypass to reset your password. Additionally, there could be an open computer in the background of your post, containing sensitive information which can be used to help hijack your network.
Always double check what you are posting on social media, and make sure to limit who follows you. Don’t allow random strangers to view your profile by setting it to private, and by routinely checking your followers list and removing anyone whom you don’t recognize.
Even inactive accounts from your past can be used against you if they contain personal information which can be used for security questions. Just because you no longer post on these does not mean there is no one looking. The possible benefits from deleting an inactive account should vastly outweigh any desire you may have to keep it on the internet.
They can Hack Your Wi-Fi
As vaccine rates are going up, the option to work back in the office is becoming more of a reality. This means that you need to prepare your business for potential attacks stemming from a hacker gaining physical access to your property.
Make sure to change your router password from the factory default. This is an easy, yet often forgotten tactic to ensure network security. Another step for protecting yourself onsite is to create a guest Wi-Fi network for non-employees to connect to, creating a further level of separation between those who are actually part of your company and those who are not.
They are Experts at Forging Emails
One of the most common ways hackers gain access to your network is through a tactic called phishing, which is when a malicious actor creates a fake email and/or website in an attempt to trick someone into clicking on a link. This link could lead to a landing page asking for login credentials, placing your entire network in a compromising position. Phishing emails can look identical to the countless number of emails you typically receive from within your company, from customers or from third-party vendors, so knowing where and what to look for can make a huge difference.
When clicking on a link from your email, make sure that there isn’t anything inherently off about the URL when you hover over it. For example, if something is misspelled or there appears to be a hyphen/character in an unusual spot, don’t click the link just yet. Oftentimes, hackers will try to emulate your company’s or a partner’s official domain, but because they lack access to the website typos become a dead giveaway (i.e., “skwtech.com” or “swk-tech.com” VS “swktech.com”).
Another easy step would be to contact your IT team directly and forward them the email. They are more likely to notice anything suspicious and can more confidently confirm the legitimacy of the email. If you lack a full inhouse team, or they’re already overloaded with requests, talk to someone at SWK today about co-managing your IT.
Sometimes cybercriminals will use a fake email account mimicking the name of someone your work with. To avoid being tricked, try contacting this person on a separate platform, like Microsoft Teams, and double check that they actually sent you that message. These emails are specially designed to be as convincing as possible, so there is no harm in being overly cautious when navigating through your computer.
The vast majority of hacking starts with a social engineering attempt in order to have a person make some sort of mistake. Hackers are not sitting behind a computer screen looking for flaws in lines of code, but actively learning and excelling at manipulating humans into giving them their information.
Learn More About Hackers and Cybersecurity Gaps with SWK
If you’re looking for tips and solutions to protect yourself from hackers, contact SWK to learn all the ways we can help.