An undefended or inadequately monitored network is an Achilles heel criminals are willing and able to exploit. If there are not sufficient defenses, its assets are vulnerable to breaches. Likewise, all of the people who have something invested in the sanctity of the network have something to lose in the event your system is compromised. Cybersecurity prevents hackers from taking everything on your computer and doing whatever they want with it.
What kinds of data are hackers after? Cyber criminals are known for going after access to financial accounts and other direct means of taking money. They are notoriously creative and able to profit off of all manner of assets on your servers. Information on your network such as emails, personnel files, and confidential company documents are chock full of information that can be used for identity theft and other forms of fraud.
Someone hacked into your network, then what? Intruders can gain to access documents, email correspondence, and web assets. Your files can be copied, altered, or destroyed. Depending on what sorts of files you possess and how important they are to your daily operations, not having cybersecurity can result in a range of damage ranging from being inconvenienced to shut down completely.
If the responsible hackers (or their employer) are enemies of your organization, access to your data can be especially devastating. Competitors can gain an advantage by covertly peeking at your developments to benefit their own progress. If you have any damaging secrets, they can be irrevocably made public. This practice is reportedly taking off as a popular tactic even among well respected companies. The FBI reports a 50% increase of economic espionage last year.
Hackers for hire are available to those who themselves lack the resources to breach networks. A global marketplace exists to connect payers to people who will do things like conduct espionage or launch DDoS attacks for a fee.
How do cyber criminals benefit? Criminals have several different ways to profit from data culled from networks lacking cybersecurity. Hackers are available to collect money directly from victims’ own accounts. The viruses used for online fraud create a botnet so wide-reaching that small denominations can be stolen from many victims with little hands-on work. Leveraged altogether, the campaign is very lucrative. To each individual victim these crimes are petty thefts which are difficult to prosecute legally and sometimes go altogether unnoticed.
Other gains are not specifically cash but have other sorts of value. Exploiting personal information can occur on a personal level, such as using a birthday, SSN, etc. for fraud. Privacy invasions can occur on a massive scale when huge batches of sensitive data are compromised and sold to a third party.
Once sold, several things can happen to your personal information. Your contact info can be turned over to spam advertisers or used to create more fraudulent accounts that are difficult to resolve. If you were breached via social engineering or another especially fraudulent tactic, you may be added to specially curated “sucker lists” of individuals known to be easily fooled.
Non-monetary gains are the most personal and devastating. Businesses which use unethical methods to compete can use hacked data to embarrass competitors or sabotage their work. Motivations for terrorizing individuals include spying on them, intimidating them or sabotaging their work.
Without the reassurance of cutting edge defenses, you run a greater risk of an online security crisis. Maintain control over access to your network and minimize your risk of exploitation. Why worry about all of the infinite problems that can arise from a security crisis when powerful cybersecurity defenses are available?
Now that you know what could happen if you do not have a plan in place, learn and understand what it takes to build a threat intelligence program. Download our complimentary guide here!