Cybersecurity in Minneapolis and St Paul

Cybersecurity is one of the largest threats that businesses face in today’s crazy world. Every month we learn of another major cyber breach involving millions and millions of data records and personal information.

And it is not just major breaches … doing just a little research uncovers daily breaches, smaller in nature that are happening to non-profit organizations, churches, schools, hospitals, and other small and mid-sized businesses.

“My other computer is your computer” - says every hacker on the planet

The internet was never created to be secure

It was actually created so people could easily communicate with each other through their computers. One of the original theories of how the internet began claims the internet evolved from ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) and was supported by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The creators of ARPANET wanted separate computer systems at different laboratories and universities to be able to share their data and to work together to give their system more computing power. So, it was created to be an open system, not one that was secure, as no one else even knew about it or was even interested!

Also, most of the internet’s protocols and users were voluntary, and because these protocols are now so widely used they have become internet standards. And as you can imagine, they were not created with security in mind.

The Wanna Cry virus crippled computers in 150 countries

In 2016, an organization called the Shadow Brokers, breached the spy tools of the elite NSA-linked operation called the Equation Group. Several months later, these tools were released to the public and resulted in the development of the Wanna Cry virus that crippled computer systems in over 150 countries across the globe. The Wanna Cry Virus could reach $4 billion in damages.

2,000,000 pieces of malware released every day – 2 MILLION!

In a recent cybersecurity conference, Cisco announced that it protects its customers from 2 million new pieces of malware every single day. This happens on a daily basis! This number is growing exponentially and is not going away anytime soon!

20,000,000,000 “problems” blocked every day – 20 BILLION!

Because of the massive amount of malware that is introduced into cyberspace each day, there are 20 billion problems that are blocked each and every day. To put that in perspective, that is three new pieces of malware that are blocked, stopped, filtered … for every person that lives on planet Earth … and that happens daily.

The top cybersecurity attacks to be concerned with (The 10 most common attacks)

The term cyberattack covers a lot of ground and includes hundreds, if not thousands, of different variations of network breaches. But to simplify it a bit, we will refer to a cyberattack as deliberate exploitation or attack of a computer or computer network that uses technology and human frailty to hack your system and steal valuable data or even cash!

A cyberattack can be launched from one computer or multiple computers against another computer of the network. Cyberattacks may have a goal to disable the target computer or even knock it offline. But most attacks have the goal to get access to a computer’s data, or login information and gain admin privileges allowing the attacker to steal valuable data…even money!

The most common cyberattacks you’ll come across

Cybercriminals and hackers have many ways to attack you, but they don’t like to reinvent the wheel, so they often use the same tactics. And not just because they are lazy, but because those tactics continue to work!

Some of the most common attacks include:

  • Phishing
  • Malware
  • Social Engineering
  • Unpatched Software
  • Password Hacking
  • Social Media
  • Denial-of-Service (DoS)
  • Drive-by-Downloads
  • Malvertising
  • Rogue Software

Social engineering: exploiting human weakness

Although a large percentage of breaches and hacks are software-driven, exploiting human behaviors and frailties through computers, over the phone, or in person, is becoming more and more prevalent. It is called social engineering and these hackers know they can use a human’s desire to do the right thing against them! And although many cyberattacks come through software attacks and your network must be protected, your first line of defense is your people!

Thr 10 Main Cyber-Attack That Could Breach YourNetwork

Who are these cybercriminals? It’s not the kid wearing the hoodie sitting in his basement!

The idea that the people trying to hack your system, steal your data or money are kids hiding in the basement of their parent’s home with a super-computer is no longer valid…even though there still are kids, known as “script kiddies” doing some of that!

Cybercriminals and hackers are totally organized, very smart, and well-funded…sometimes funded by rogue nation-states like North Korea and they are usually in business for one reason: to take your money!

There are 6 major levels of cyberattackers

And even though these levels will intertwine and can include more than one level at a time, these are the 6 main levels of cyberattacks:

  1. Script kiddies – This includes the kids still hiding in their basement
  2. The hacking group – A group of script kiddies with a common purpose
  3. Hacktivists – Hackers with a religious, political, or activist goal
  4. Criminals doing it for profit - This is the scariest and organized group of all
  5. Enemy states – Like North Korea and Russia
  6. Disgruntled Employees – This is self-explanatory

Why do they do these cybercrimes?

The short answer is money and greed, although you will still occasionally read about cybercrime that was motivated by revenge or initiated by a disgruntled former employee. But, most of the cyberthreats today are motivated by cash…they simply want your money!

Cybercrimes have become a billion-dollar industry. Because of this, cybercriminals are no longer working from the basements of their homes, instead, they are working in state-of-the-art facilities that rival the technology advancements of enterprise data centers across the globe.

Cybersecurity is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s a “must-have!”

Cybercrime is no longer a hobby. Cybercrime is big business and is growing exponentially every year. This growth shows that the security measures that have been applied by governments and businesses to slow the growth of cybercrime have failed.

The failure to slow the growth of cybercrime shows why an emphasis on cybersecurity is no longer a “nice to have”, but instead becomes a ”must-have” for all businesses, regardless of size, industry, or annual revenues.

Truth is, humans “SUCK” at security … and hackers know it!

Much of the success of current cybercrimes stems from the hacking community exploiting known weaknesses in human nature. In general: we don’t like conflict, we want to help, and we like to trust people.

Cybercriminals have studied this closely for many years and have finely tuned their methods to exploit these weaknesses. This is called social engineering and is very successful in getting people to make the wrong decision when it comes to their cybersecurity!

What should a business do when it is breached?

All users in an organization should know exactly what to do if they feel like their network or system has been compromised, or they feel like they may have” clicked” on something that they shouldn’t have. Many employees will try to resolve the situation themselves because they are embarrassed and do not want to get in trouble. Often these actions do nothing but make the situation worse and more difficult to unravel.

Users need to understand that cybercriminals are extremely clever, and breaches are likely to happen. All employees need to understand the importance of handling the problem quickly and understand that honest mistakes have been made.

As a company, your responsibility is to make sure your employees or anyone else using the network is trained and clearly understands what to do if they think they made a mistake or were hacked. Employees need to know that mistakes happen, and rather than hide the mistake, come clean immediately so the problem can be minimized.

What is a balanced, layered cybersecurity solution?

A layered cybersecurity solution protects the hardware infrastructure for a business, as well as the software and applications that reside on the infrastructure … but, a balanced, layered security solution goes well beyond this.

Cybersecurity needs to address human weaknesses by identifying known behaviors that cause cybersecurity issues. Some of these behaviors can be addressed and blocked through technology, while others need to be part of an active and effective training program. End-users are the first line of defense and have typically been the weakest part of any cybersecurity program.

Continual monitoring and vulnerability testing also need to be part of the cybersecurity solution. Cybersecurity testing needs to happen from the outside in, but just as important, it needs to be tested from the inside out.

The Imagine IT Security Shield

How can I defend my business?

The engineers and security professionals at Imagine IT have been assisting our client partners with cybersecurity for over 20 years. Several years ago, we realized that our approach to cybersecurity may be a little vulnerable. We were trying to approach cybersecurity using an à la carte methodology. Our client partners choose three or four or five security items to implement each quarter … but unfortunately, this would leave loopholes in their security program.

Now, instead of using an à la carte methodology, we developed the Security Shield which fully addresses security on a global perspective as soon as it is approved and implemented. (?) By leveraging strong partnerships with cybersecurity leaders, we have been able to develop the Security Shield and offer it at a very reasonable price.