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Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023: Unveiling the Top Threats

Oct 2, 2023 Personal , Small Business
deepfake image of man outdoors

As we kick off Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October 2023, it’s crucial to take a moment to understand the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats and fraud. In this blog, we’ll delve into the most common fraud trends that individuals and businesses should be aware of to protect themselves in the digital age. Cybersecurity isn’t just a matter of IT departments; it’s a shared responsibility for everyone who uses technology.

Ransomware on the Rise

Ransomware attacks have been on the rise in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue into 2024. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting businesses and organizations, encrypting their data and demanding hefty ransoms for its release. Having robust backup systems and a solid incident response plan is critical to mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks on businesses and their customer’s personal data.

image of scam text messagePhishing Attacks: The Continuing Threat

Phishing remains a prevalent and highly effective method for cybercriminals. These attacks often involve convincing emails or messages that trick recipients into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial details. In 2023, phishing attacks continued to become even more sophisticated, with cybercriminals leveraging AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning to craft convincing, personalized messages.

Most common attempts against bank customers, were wire transfer requests made through email from criminals posing as people you would normally send a wire to. For best protection, confirm everything through a secure phone call.

Deepfake Scams

Deepfake technology, which uses AI to create convincing fake videos and audio recordings, is becoming more accessible to cybercriminals. Expect to see an increase in deepfake scams, such as fake CEO video messages requesting urgent wire transfers. Verifying the authenticity of digital communications will be essential.

Here is an example of how real deepfake technology can look:

Supply Chain Attacks

Cybercriminals are shifting their focus from attacking individual organizations to targeting their supply chains. By compromising a trusted vendor or partner, attackers can gain access to multiple targets. Businesses need to assess the cybersecurity practices of their suppliers and implement strict security protocols in their supply chain management. In other words, look beyond the bottom line and into how they conduct business and keep your business’s assets secure.

Remote Work Threatswoman working remote on a secure network

As remote work continues to become more normalized even after the pandemic, remote work has exposed vulnerabilities that were unforeseen. From employees working from insecure or public networks, criminals found many ways to hijack business systems and access private data. The use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), multi-factor authentication, and continuously training your employees on cybersecurity can help decrease any compromises on your business systems.

Vulnerabilities

As more devices become interconnected through the Internet of Things (IoT), they also become potential entry points for cybercriminals. Weak or default passwords and unpatched vulnerabilities in IoT devices pose a significant risk. Keeping IoT devices updated and secure is vital. To keep your device up to date, here are some helpful links to help ensure you are protected:

Social Engineering Exploits

Social engineering remains a potent tool in the fraudster’s arsenal. Cybercriminals manipulate human psychology to trick individuals into divulging confidential information. Whether it’s via phone, email, or social media, staying vigilant and educating yourself and your employees about social engineering tactics is essential.

As we embark into Cybersecurity Month in October 2023, it’s clear that cyber threats and fraud are continually evolving. To protect yourself, your business, and your data, it’s crucial to stay informed and take proactive measures. Regularly update your cybersecurity practices, educate your friends, family, and colleagues about the latest threats, and consider seeking expert advice to ensure you’re well-prepared to navigate the digital landscape safely. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and by staying vigilant, we can all contribute to a safer online environment.

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