Cyberattacks on businesses, agencies mounting

December 19, 2014

The widespread use of the internet has brought with it a raft of traditional and new crimes that can now be committed in cyberspace.Such crimes ranges from fraud, hacking, money laundering and theft, through to cyberstalking, cyberbullying, identity theft, child sexual exploitation and child grooming. The extent of cybercrime is difficult to quantify as it is generally underreported all over the World.So if you think you’re safe online and has taken all the necessary steps to protect your information, then think again. Contador Harrison can inform that your details may not be as private as you think.More people than ever are falling victim to identity crime and the victims aren’t signing up to dodgy scams and being careless either.They’re using internet banking, shopping online and sending email, actions that millions of people worldwide do each day without a second thought.You could’ve been hacked and you don’t even know it.Hackers stole Australia Spy Agency Blueprints.

In fact, while I don’t want to alarm anyone, you’re probably being hacked right now, at this very moment according to recent studies.One of those studies was published few months back by US-based cybersecurity company CyberArk which reiterated the growing threat of hacking.It’s no longer big corporations and financial institutions that need to worry, everyone is a target including Contador Harrison’s of this World, from small businesses to increasingly consumers themselves.Worryingly, due to the sophisticated techniques now used by online criminals, they can stay undetected for months and in some cases even years. Most people will never even know they’ve been compromised, and if they do, it will be far too late.Every company and individual has something of value to protect, something that online attackers want. And the fact is that the more technology invades people’s lives, the greater risk we all face from having our information stolen and in some cases systems compromised.Many people are also not aware that hackers also attack organizations and agencies to steal people’s personal data and get to their funds.Retailers, corporate and agencies like tax office or immigration office are other sites storing a high amount of people’s personal details that are susceptible to cybercrime.

The studies conducted over the last couple of years have all pointed that online banks will become a big target for hackers and the number of attacks are expected to increase in coming years.Threats targeting financial institutions have been on the rise and it comes as no surprise because most hackers are financially motivated.With the higher adoption of smartphones, people are more likely to do their daily transactions from an app on their phone instead of logging in on their desktop or laptop.The popularity and mass adoption of Android devices is one of the main causes that a lot of malicious code are targeting the Android operating system and the trend is likely to continue in the future. At the very least, ensure that you are downloading apps from reputable app stores like Google Play instead of third-party stores.But be warned that even on Google Play malicious apps can masquerade as genuine apps.The problem is that most users do not install security software on their phone or tablet as they would on their desktop computers. As a computer Programmer, I know that once a phone is compromised by a malicious app, it is highly likely the attacker can remotely control the phone without the user even knowing about it.

Even worse, some apps can hop between different platforms so an infected phone can even infect a desktop computer that it is connected to it.There is a general lack of awareness on what to look out for when installing apps, especially when granting them permission to access location, text messages, WiFi, camera and such. In one confidential study I came across recently, researchers predicts that threats targeting banks will continue to become more severe next year especially in leading online banking markets.Cybercriminals are leveraging on Deep Web and dark-net services using untraceable and anonymous peer-to-peer networks to sell tools and services. It does not help that the price of malicious apps are decreasing due to the overabundance in supply.There is a greater need for collaboration between international agencies to combat the crime. International agencies like FBI, Interpol can advise and instruct companies on how to prevent and fight cybercrime, taking advantage of both their strengths and resources.

Contador Harrison