Ignorance Is Far From Bliss When It Comes to Cybercrime Awareness

cybercrime awarenessBefore investing in the right tools to protect your sensitive information and defend your computers, tablets, smartphones and other technology, the first line of defense is to understand the most prevalent types of cybercrimes.

PHISHING AND SPEAR PHISHING

Hackers steal sensitive data, such as credit card and login information, by sending fraudulent email messages that appear to come from a reputable source. They are sent in the form of mass emails and often contain poor spelling and grammar, as well as false links that can spread malicious software, allowing the hacker access to an individual’s computer. Spear phishing is a more targeted scheme in which attackers infiltrate an account by using a familiar email address belonging to a person, organization or business known to the victim.

MALWARE

Short for “malicious software,” malware is one of the biggest threats on the internet and disguises itself as a file or code that breaches a network through a vulnerability, such as when a user clicks on a harmful link or email attachment. Once inside a system, the software can act as ransomware that blocks access, spyware that secretly steals information and then grants remote access to predators, and viruses that can severely disrupt your system and render it inoperable.

MAN-IN-THE-MIDDLE-ATTACK (MITM)

Also known as “eavesdropping attacks,” MitM attacks occur when hackers intercept the communications between two systems that are directly communicating with each other. Once they have inserted themselves in the middle unnoticed, they interrupt traffic, filter and steal data. Public Wi-Fi networks present hackers with prime opportunities to access information.

DENIAL-OF-SERVICE ATTACK

This malicious tactic enables the attacker to disrupt the normal access of an online service and render it temporarily or permanently unavailable. It overwhelms the system with traffic so that it cannot respond to standard requests. A larger-scale version of this is a distributed-denial-of-service attack, which attempts to compromise multiple systems by sending simultaneous data requests to a central server.

STRUCTURED QUERY LANGUAGE (SQL) INJECTION

In this cybercrime, a hacker performs a SQL injection by seeking out a vulnerable website and then running destructive SQL queries against the database server, subsequently revealing sensitive information.

ZERO-DAY EXPLOIT

An especially opportunistic form of attack, a zero-day exploit targets a software system when it’s at its weakest point—the day a network vulnerability is announced but has not yet been patched.

SOCIAL ENGINEERING

Social engineering is the act of obtaining personal information, like a mother’s maiden name, first school attended, birth date, address or banking institution of choice, by skimming the individual’s publicly available social media profiles. Once they have access to personal information, cyber criminals can essentially execute a virtual kidnapping scheme.

Cybercrimes evolve over time and vary in threat level, but what remains consistent is the urgency to better understand how they can occur. Therefore, it is equally important to understand what cyber insurance offers your business.

Cyber insurance is a type of business liability insurance that protects your business against cyber security risks and data breaches. Cyber insurance can help restore employee and customer identities, recover compromised data and repair damaged computers and networks. This holds true whether your business is the victim of a data breach, social engineering scheme, ransomware or phishing attack.

Any business storing data on a network is exposed to cyber security risks. Data privacy attacks now occur every 40 seconds in the U.S.

You could be at risk for a cyberattack. A staggering number of small and medium-sized organizations get attacked each year—many without the support of cyber insurance coverage. COVID-19 has upped the stakes, as remote working makes computer systems more vulnerable.

Without cyber insurance, your business could be on the hook for state and federal fines and penalties, a forensic investigation, breach notification costs and even a future class action or third-party lawsuit. If your systems or data are compromised, it can put you out of business or cause a significant financial loss.

There is no standard cyber insurance policy that can be applied to every business, so having an experienced broker is key to making sure you are adequately insured.

For an expert consultation or information on insurance and risk management solutions, please contact Program Brokerage Corporation at 866-300-5405, info@programbrokerage.com, or visit our site at www.programbrokerage.com. Program Brokerage Corporation is the nationally endorsed insurance broker of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). With over 80 years of experience, our experts are able to review your current coverage and identify ways to best protect your pest control business during the dips and peaks of the industry.

BY GARY SHAPIRO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, PROGRAM BROKERAGE CORPORATION

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