New reports confirm what we’ve been seeing in the news; organized criminals have upped the ante. Global web mobs are tearing up corporations’ and financial institutions’ networks. According to a new Verizon report, a staggering 900 million records have been compromised in the past six years. Up to 85% of the breaches were blamed on organized criminals.
The hackers who infiltrate these networks include brilliant teens, 20-somethings, all the way up to clinical psychologists and organized, international cyber criminals. Many are from Russia and Eastern Europe.
Motivated by money and information, they either exploit flaws in applications to find their way inside networks, or they target their victims psychologically, tricking them into disclosing usernames and passwords, or clicking malicious links.
Flawed web applications often make these types of hacks possible. Criminals use “sniffers” to seek out flaws, and when they find them, the attack begins. Malware is generally used to extract usernames and passwords. Once the criminals have full access to a network, they use the breached system as their own, storing the stolen data and eventually turning it into cash.
To protect yourself, update your PC’s basic security, including Windows updates and critical security patches. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date and set to run automatically. Update your web browser to the latest version. An out of date web browser is often riddled with holes worms can crawl through. Run spyware removal software. And set up your wireless network with a “key” or passcode so it’s not open to the public.