Security: The Lethal Truth About Hackers

Companies can sometimes take the view that they are more sophisticated than hackers. After all, they are official, above-board and successful in their own right. How could a hacker operating out of their bedroom possibly go up against such a formidable foe? 

Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of the hacking ecosystem. It turns out that many cybercriminals are highly adept at what they do and able to capitalize on virtually any weakness in your network’s defences. Even highly complex companies are extremely vulnerable. 

In this post, we take a look at some of the lethal truths about hackers and how you can protect yourself. 

Hackers Are After Your Data

Hackers’ primary goal is to gain access to and control your data. However, motivations tend to vary from one hacker to another. 

For some, it is just to prove that they can do it. Often, they will steal data from a big company to earn bragging rights with their friends. 

For others, the motivations are less palatable. Currently, a major reason for hacking is to hold company data to ransom. Cybercriminals find ways to block access to the data and then charge the company a fee to return it. 

In light of this, firms need to do whatever it takes to protect their data. Options include: 

  • Installing anti-virus, anti-malware and firewall software on the network
  • Training employees not to respond to phishing emails
  • Backing up all data regularly on servers at a secondary, unconnected site
  • Monitoring networks for suspicious activity

Hackers Are Adept At Finding Vulnerabilities

Hackers are also extremely good at finding loopholes in virtually any system. For instance, they take advantage of zero-day exploits, discovering weaknesses in your software before you and your team can correct them. 

Programmers usually cannot detect exploits ahead of time. That’s because it is hard for them to identify inadequacies or ambiguities in the system that hackers could circumvent. Often, there is simply too much code to manually check. 

How To Prevent Hackers From Compromising Your IT Network

So what can you do about these threats? 

Use Penetration Testing

Given the threats brands face, it is a good idea to try penetration testing from an IT company you can trust. Such tests simulate a real cyberattack on your company. 

The way it works is simple. First, IT professionals explore your network and systems and check for vulnerabilities. They then see whether they can overcome your defensive measures and cause problems. 

Penetration testing typically involves five stages: 

  1. Planning and reconnaissance to define goals and gather intelligence
  2. Scanning, which involves using tools to understand how your firm will respond to an attack
  3. Gaining access, where the IT company stages various mock attacks
  4. Maintaining access, which is where the IT company finds out whether you can shut them out after you discover their presence
  5. Analysis, which involves figuring out why breaches happened and running the test again. 

Upgrade Your Hardware And Software

Lastly, you can also try upgrading your hardware and software so that you don’t get caught out by old tricks. You can generally protect your data against the vast majority of cyberattacks if you have the latest patches. Patches fix vulnerabilities, making your systems more challenging to exploit.