Hacker Tricks: How to Identify and Protect Against Attacks

Friday, April 15, 2016 by under Safety

There are 80 to 90 million cyber security threats each year in the United States. Hackers can be sneaky when attacking your business, but you can be smarter.

Below, we outline four hacker tricks that allow intruders to gain access to business networks and systems, and how to provide proper protection to secure company and customer data.

1. Fake Wireless Access Points

If you or your employees work remotely via hotels, airports or coffee shops, you may encounter false Wireless Access Points (WAP). Fraudulent WAPs are created by hackers and are promoted as a “free Wi-Fi” connection at your remote location to trick users into thinking the company is authorizing the connection.

To avoid compromising critical data when working at a location other than your business, remote employees should only access data through your company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). They must also secure their end devices with password-protection, remote wipe, antivirus software and firewalls to protect data at rest.

2. Cookie Theft

Browser cookies are text stored within your computer, smartphone or tablet web browser that makes it easier to track your visits. If you use an unsecured network, hackers may be able to access your browser cookies, copy your activity and present a false identity. Via cookies, hackers can obtain information, such as passwords, credit card numbers and website history.

If on an unsecure network, individuals can experience cookie theft even when accessing trusted sites. To combat, only access sensitive information through secure, password-protected networks, and do not utilize “remember me” functionality to log in to sites containing sensitive information.

3. Eye-Catching File Names

Hackers will often name malicious files with enticing names (i.e. CutePuppyPicture.jpg) to gain access to company systems. They can also add an extension to an original name to make it appear at a glance like it is the correct file (i.e. CutePuppyPicture.jpg-ext). Clicking on malicious files can warrant viruses that can infect your company’s system and weaken networks.

As such, do not open unknown files or attachments for any reason. If employees are unsure whether a file is legitimate, encourage them to speak with your IT team.

4. Suspicious Emails

If an email offers a promotion that seems too good to be true, such as “Win $1,000,000 today,” it probably is. If you or your employees click links on fraudulent emails, hackers can gain entryway to your networks within minutes.

Keep an eye out for red flags, such as popular company names with misspelled URLs, or suspicious or unrequested downloads. If employees happen to click a link or open an email that may be considered fraudulent, encourage them to speak with your IT team immediately. Also educate employees on warning signs, such as slow systems or change in passwords that may mean your systems have been compromised.

If you are concerned your company’s systems may be at risk for an attack, work with your IT team to run a cyber threat assessment to uncover malware, botnets or malicious activity.

How do you ensure your business is preventing hacker attacks? Share in the comments.

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