What do Cyber Criminals Look For?
9th October 2019
One of the most important facts you can learn about cybercrime is that no business - no matter how big or small - is immune to an attack. On average, the threat of cybercrime is predicted to cost the global economy approximately 455 billion each year.
The losses from this threat can appear in many different ways, with some businesses claiming a loss of productivity as an expensive result of activity from cybercriminals. Though every business connected to the internet can be vulnerable to a cyber-attack, it's worth considering the factors that might increase your risk. Here, we'll look at three of the things that most cyber criminals appear to look for when targeting victims.
It's probably obvious to say that most cyber criminals are inspired by a desire for money. In fact, according to some studies, approximately 67% of UK hackers admit that money is their main incentive for their crimes. However, the same research finds that the average cyber-criminal in the UK makes around £20,000 a year. That's not really an excessive amount of money for a life of crime, which suggests that cyber-hackers may be more likely to focus their efforts on easy, quick targets that allow for low-risk financial payouts.
In spite of the evidence outlined above, other research suggests that cyber-attacks may be more common among people who manage their own finances, and the very wealthy. According to a report by a security group named "Kroll", there has been an increase in cyber-attacks conducted by people who are using networking sites like LinkedIn to target people with higher-paid jobs.
This information suggests that there has been a shift in technique in the criminal world, with many hackers abandoning their traditional exercises of mass phishing to focus more on specific targets.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, one of the most effective ways that criminals select their targets is by scanning for vulnerabilities. All businesses have public-facing services that can be accessed in an attack, and scanning for vulnerability allows hackers to find potential gaps for an attack.
Some criminals focus on using SSH, FTP, HTTP, and RDP solutions to attack hosts, while others use cross-site scripting techniques and remote file attacks. No matter the technique, most criminals are looking for a business or individual with obvious security vulnerabilities, which is why it's so important for people to be vigilant about protecting themselves, their money, and their data.