Employees are mistakenly sending open invitations for hackers to infiltrate company networks in a myriad of ways.
The new working environment has challenges for organizations and employees. According to Gartner, the worldwide information security market is predicted to hit $170.4 billion in 2022. This happens as companies invest heavily into cybersecurity, one of the fastest-rising concerns in the modern workspace.
However, smart companies know that most savings will come from employee sensitization. Cybint reports that 95% of cybersecurity attacks are caused by human error. Therefore, the most effective way to keep hackers out of your network is by teaching your employees how they’re inviting them in.
The Different Ways Businesses Are Being Hacked
One of the most thought-provoking questions in cybersecurity is how hackers manage to get into computer networks. Most experts agree that this has to do with human beings as the weakest link in cybersecurity.
But there’s more to this story.
Here are a few ways hackers are managing to infiltrate businesses.
Dealing with data breaches is not as simple as companies buying the best, most secure and advanced cybersecurity solution. All these small business IT support systems are designed, implemented, and maintained by human beings prone to error. That is despite cybersecurity technologies being extremely strong.
What fails these powerful security systems is the implementation. Configuring sophisticated cybersecurity software is thorough, and a simple error can open a huge vulnerability in the system. As long as there’s a divide between the strength of cybersecurity solutions and expertise, hackers will keep finding their way into business networks.
Hackers Have the Edge
Cybercriminals can fully exploit a system by finding one vulnerability. On the other hand, security administrators have to find every possible loophole and patch it before an attacker exploits it. Security administrators thus have to do more to keep the network secure.
All the hacker needs is a bit of patience as they exploit the network for vulnerability. Moreover, cybersecurity administrators have to react faster to patch loopholes and react to attacks, making strengthening cybersecurity an ongoing process.
One of the biggest motivators behind the work of cybercriminals is money. Governments, businesses, and politicians are splashing ridiculous amounts of cash on cybercriminals to conduct cyberattacks on rival governments, businesses, or politicians.
Ransomware has also become a huge talking point lately, with hackers earning millions from launching powerful cyber attacks on businesses. In May 2021, Colonial Pipeline had to part with $5 million after hackers infiltrated their network with ransomware.
Technology moves at a lightning pace. This makes it hard for humans to keep up with cybersecurity as newly developed systems expose new vulnerabilities.
However, there’s talk in the industry on whether AI will be able to efficiently and effectively replace humans in cybersecurity administration. They can follow the rules more strictly and are quicker to adapt than humans.
Google has adopted AI in its cybersecurity administration. It uses machine learning techniques to filter out emails with potentially malicious content or attachments.
How Employees Are Contributing to Hacks
It is inevitable for members of your team to make cybersecurity mistakes. However, continuous sensitization will help reduce these errors and the overall cybersecurity risk in your organization.
Here are some ways your employees are contributing to hacks in your network.
Phishing is one of the most prominent strategies hackers use to infiltrate and steal data from a network. Phishing attacks are mostly targeted at small to medium-size businesses. Most of these attacks occur when an employee clicks on a suspicious link, often embedded in a dubious or rather convincing email.
Most attackers may hide under the guise of being security experts contracted by the company or a customer support team member.
They use social engineering to get believable information about the company, making the employee take their guard down and click on the malicious link, infecting their system or network with the malware.
Tech consumers are getting worse at managing passwords. According to a study, 3 out of 4 tech consumers have duplicate passwords that may not have been updated at least for the past five years. These consumers may be employees working in your organization.
Weak passwords make it easier for hackers to infiltrate systems or a network. Therefore, organizations should implement strong password policies, especially for software or systems that the employees can access over the network.
Weak/Incorrectly Implemented Security Measures
Proper IT security measures can significantly enhance the cyber security of an organization.
At an infrastructure level, strong, properly implemented security measures include the use of firewalls and web filters. These systems ensure only the right traffic from trusted sources gets to the employee’s device.
At the employee level, your organization members should have the discipline to strictly follow organizational security measures such as not connecting to public Wi-Fi.
Sadly, the organization might fail to properly implement security at both levels, with employees not following the security measures correctly, resulting in hacks.
Scorned employees can pose one of the biggest risks to an organization’s cyber security. Scorned or greedy employees can sell sensitive security information such as passwords or participate directly in the data breach by attacking your systems.
Checking Personal Email at Work
Personal emails pose a huge vulnerability for networks in an organization. Most personal inboxes bypass security barriers such as virus scanners and spam filters that you may have put in place to protect your organization’s emails.
If an employee thus interacts with a malicious email in their personal inbox while connected to your organization’s IT systems, they may cause harm to the entire network.
2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic made working remotely the new normal for many organizations. Employees are now connecting to company systems and software through their home and public Wi-Fi. This poses a huge cybersecurity risk, especially on public Wi-Fi, which is an easy target for hackers.
Use of Mobile Devices
Mobile devices are very susceptible to data breaches. Some of the reasons for this vulnerability include weak passwords and the possibility of these devices getting lost or stolen compared to corporate workstations.
Also, employees tend to load apps, websites, and attachments more carefreely on their mobile devices than on laptops or desktops, increasing the risk of a cyberattack.
Teach Your Employees How to Stay Secure
The best way to cut the link between your employees and hackers is to teach them the best cybersecurity practices they should employ while working in the office.
Also, conduct follow-up sensitization programs to ensure they’re constantly in the know of what they should be doing and any new strategies hackers have developed.