The usual methods of a breach — from phishing to malware — have enabled criminals to creatively extract confidential information from businesses. Yet, the target is most often vulnerable sites, especially government agencies or high-profile organizations. Malicious attacks are crimes of opportunity. Therefore, businesses fortified with a sophisticated cybersecurity strategy are less at risk. 

Verizon’s2020 Data Breach Investigations Report” (DBIR) unveiled how the cost and risk associated with cybercrime is usually much higher than most predictions. Cybercrime is, despite its perception, a growing risk for those with layers of protection and those without it. Record-breaking fines, plummeting share prices, and sky-high legal fees — these are a few of the financial risks that can harm the reputation and integrity of any business.

Awareness continues to be key in cybercrime prevention, especially for businesses building resilience from the inside. Yet, unknown to many, there are a variety of tools available when it comes to fortifying your business against costly data breaches.

Email Phishing Targets Inboxes

In 2020, the majority of breaches happened via email phishing attacks. Cybercriminals still rely on this older method of deceit to exploit employee inboxes for confidential information — by intercepting, stealing, and even altering critical business information unavailable to the public. Employee inboxes provide external crime with the easiest route to intercept business information. This ranges from stolen credentials (including passwords) and financial information to fraudulent invoices.

Password attacks, amongst inbox fraud, are some of one of the most common forms of crime. Most crime is external to businesses — even if internal threats are rising. Old passwords and inboxes are reliable for criminals who want to exploit a business.

A security strategy should start by identifying weak points, or vulnerabilities, and then begin to fortify them using methods, such as routine password requests.

Patching Is Important

Throughout 2020, there were recorded dips in crime using malware, including ransomware. Businesses should inspire their security with more layers of protection, including antimalware solutions. According to Verizon’s findings, this dip in malware attacks shows a growing resilience in businesses, but also acts as a demonstration on the importance of a patch process. This simply describes a concentrated effort to treat and secure system vulnerabilities.

Layered levels of protection means that firms can focus on a wider variety of threats. Simple deterrent software can form part of an early strategy, preventing basic crime, so security professionals can focus on greater risk.

Films with greater sensitivity to patching are more safeguarded against emerging vulnerabilities and breaches. An attack is less likely when a hacker can gain access in three steps or fewer. Anything more sophisticated, where a system shows signs of greater security, then threats will be discouraged.

Is Artificial Hacking Intelligence A Worry?

Some predict highly intelligent artificial threats, which are easily over a decade away from advancing, as an emerging threat or risk. This is partly motivated by technophobia and the reliance of business progression on technologies, including AI and machine learning (ML). Artificial hacking intelligence describes a scenario where these could be hacked to exploit a business.

The emergence of fake events, media and footage, known as deepfakes, relies on gaming a troubling similarity between fiction and fact, which often puzzles reality.

ML applications have already been highly manipulative online and can mutate to rot our current security protocols. Authenticating users and devices, for example, could become more complicated than ever before.

Yet, businesses should still embrace tech to more easily and creatively identify and manage system breaches and failures. New tech seems to encourage innovation in security programs, so strategies can better ally with software as a deterrent. This can potentially help security outpace crime through technology that adds sophistication to existing security protocols.

What Matters in 2021 and Beyond

The annual Verizon report reads far greater than a prediction. It is, instead, a credible and measured assessment on the changing landscape of security threats for many industries. The uncertainty of the moment, with new remote measures, has a greater capacity to innovate security than it does to undermine it.