If there’s ever been a time to triple down on data security, it’s now. 2020 has been a roller coaster of a year in the world of cybersecurity as the coronavirus pandemic has forced more businesses, employees, government bodies, universities and students to operate online. In fact, the U.S. demand for personal computers is the highest it’s been since 2009. More people online means more data, too, creating the perfect environment for opportunistic cyberthieves looking to take advantage of vulnerable organizations.
What are the biggest data security threats right now? We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common ways that hackers get away with private data.
1. Phishing and Spear Phishing Attacks
Fraudulent emails are one of the oldest tricks in the book of hacking — and this time-tested cybercrime continues to evolve. Cybercriminals are now using AI to boost their phishing activities, creating more realistic and deceitful emails and sending them in unprecedented numbers.
In a spear phishing attack, fraudsters specifically target an employee of an organization who holds key log-ins or other critical information. The best way to avoid becoming the target of a spear phishing attack is through regular employee training that teaches best practices in data security.
Similar to phishing, pretexting is a targeted attempt to deceive unsuspecting victims into handing over log-in credentials, financial information and other private data.
However, a pretexting attack doesn’t stop at the victim’s inbox. Under the guise of a trustworthy party, a pretexter may send phishing emails, direct victims to fraudulent websites and may also go as far as to call them on the phone to request financial details. A pretexter may pretend to be from a survey firm, a debt collection agency, a bank or other trusted organization.
3. Cloud Vulnerability
More organizations than ever are using cloud applications and storing private data from both their employees, operations and transactions on the cloud. In fact, in 2020, 93% of enterprises used a multi-cloud strategy.
For hackers, the cloud presents new opportunities to get away with valuable data. Some of the most common threats to data security on the cloud are insider threats, misconfiguration, insecure interfaces and APIs, and DDoS attacks. While cloud companies are evolving their data security, they are still vulnerable to deep cyber attacks, like Operation Cloudhopper, which successfully targeted Hewlett Packard and IBM in 2018.
4. AI-Enhanced Fuzzing
Like so many practices in the world of cyber security, fuzzing can be used for the greater good or toward nefarious ends. In layman’s terms, fuzzing is the process of injecting data into a program to discover hackable software bugs and reveal vulnerabilities in a system’s data security measures.
AI-powered fuzzing is automated, making it much faster for cybersecurity experts to find and fix holes in their security. But in the wrong hands, AI fuzzing is an extremely effective tool for hackers to discover and take advantage of vulnerabilities.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been on a controversial rise over the last decade — and cryptojacking has followed. To understand cryptojacking, you must first understand cryptocurrency mining. It’s a complex topic, but in short, tech-savvy individuals earn rewards for solving complex computations that verify cryptocurrency transactions in a blockchain system — otherwise known as “mining.”
Solving these complex equations takes a great deal of computing power, which is where cryptojacking comes in. In a cryptojacking scheme, hackers use malware to hijack computing power from victims’ PCs and use them to mine cryptocurrency. Cryptojackers have hacked the websites of Tesla, Starbucks and even the government of Chihuahua to infect users’ computers with cryptojacking malware.
6. Human Error
According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, 22% of data breaches occurred as a result of human error. Falling for a phishing email, sending information to the wrong person or accidentally leaving a database online without any password restriction are just a few of the ways that a small mistake can turn into a data security disaster.
The best way to prevent these mistakes? Regular and thorough data security training for employees.
Protect Your Data with Bluefin
In a world rife with data security threats, one of the best ways you can protect your data is by making sure it never traverses your system. Bluefin’s PCI-validated point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization solutions are designed to do just that.