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Capstone Works, Inc. has been serving the Cedar Park area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

4 Sneaky Tricks that Cybercriminals are Using Against Texas Businesses

4 Sneaky Tricks that Cybercriminals are Using Against Texas Businesses

We’ve been talking about cybersecurity quite a bit lately, and for good reason. Any organization that doesn’t acknowledge the threat that comes with being ill-prepared in the face of a cyberattack is basically sitting on a ticking time bomb. 

As a business owner, I don’t like sounding dramatic about this stuff. I can’t begin to tell you how I’d much rather be spending my time and energy developing cool ways for businesses like yours to get more done through the use of modern technology. I legitimately enjoy the challenge of looking at a business, looking at its goals, strengths, and weaknesses, and coming up with ways to simplify processes through software, give every employee the computing resources they need, and find innovative ways to do more in the least amount of time possible.

That’s fun to me! But there’s nothing fun about cybersecurity. If you look at what cybersecurity has been over the last couple decades, it has just been a grueling cat-and-mouse game, where the cybercriminals just keep working past everything businesses do to stay secure. 

If your business has been around that long, look back to the mid-90s, where the biggest threats were viruses and spyware. Every computer needed a good antivirus application on it, and you needed to run regular scans. Other than a few other outliers, that was the big thing everyone needed to worry about unless you were a bank or some other major institution with a target painted on your back. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple today.

Cybercriminals are Targeting Your Employees

We talked about the responsibility your employees have when it comes to cybersecurity in the past. Your staff are the Achilles heel of your IT, especially if you are actually putting effort into your cybersecurity. In fact, you can pour an endless supply of money and effort into protecting your IT, and no matter what you do, it can all be unraveled by a single mistake (or a disgruntled employee).

Cybercriminals are aware of this. They know that the best targets have put plenty of time and effort into security, making it much harder to crack through by traditional means. Typical viruses and malware are usually deflected by antivirus. Backdoor, denial-of-service, and remote login attempts are often blocked by firewalls, and modern spam filters and email scanning solutions are stopping the more blatant email attacks out there.

They know that a good number of businesses have invested in these protections, so while businesses still need to contend with all of these “old school” risks, the cybercriminals are focused on the shortest, easiest path—your users.

Hackers are Using AI Tools to Their Advantage

Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence. It’s really amazing how quickly this stuff is blowing up, from AI-generated chat bots to AI tools creating works of art and editing video—everyone has a take on it, but I think we can all agree that this technology is going to have some profound effects on the future.

Hackers are already abusing ChatGPT and other AI tools to develop and improve malware and other harmful threats. While AI tools have built-in restrictions that are supposed to prevent them from being used for malicious purposes, hackers have found ways to work around these restrictions.

Plus, They Have an Entire Marketplace of Tools Already

For a few dollars, wannabe cybercriminals can buy software to crack into your Wi-Fi network or spawn a phishing email and send it out to a few thousand recipients. The cybercriminal world even has its own multi-level marketing pyramid schemes that novice hackers can get roped into where they help deploy ransomware, and only make a percentage of what they demand.

For a few hundred dollars, you can buy yourself a fairly comprehensive set of tools that can hide your identity and allow you to potentially steal credit card numbers, distribute malware, hijack personal information, and more. Of course, there’s risks to simply accessing this software—it is made by cybercriminals, after all.

Cybercriminals Treat Their Trade Like a Business

Hollywood always portrays hackers sitting in a dark room, typing frantically into a black command prompt window. Then, they strike the Enter key with a flare of their pinky finger, lift their sunglasses, and say “I’m in!”

Because of this, we mostly imagine hackers as unshowered lone-wolf types who would probably fit in better as extras from The Matrix.

The reality is that most cybercrime comes from actual organizations that more or less function like businesses. Imagine a call-center, or general office, where people are working to meet quotas, processes are tweaked by management, and methods are always being improved upon. There’s a dark side of this industry too—it’s been revealed that a lot of scammer companies, particularly those that do a lot of phishing and phone scams, tend to be employed by victims of human trafficking. When you receive a scam call trying to trick you into giving away your bank account info, it isn’t a zero-chance that the person on the other line is trying to earn back their freedom. That’s dark… but it’s just another reason why we can’t let ourselves fall victim to these types of scams—it perpetuates something even worse than we experience on the surface.

Is Your Business Protected From Modern Threats?

Cybersecurity isn’t a luxury that only big companies can afford, and it isn’t simply a matter of throwing money at a problem. That being said, all organizations need to invest in some critical protections to ensure that they are compliant with regulatory standards, and doing their best to prevent issues that could otherwise become very expensive and damaging to your reputation.

A good cybersecurity plan includes the standards:

  • Centralized antivirus and antimalware
  • Firewall and content filtering
  • Spam protection
  • Endpoint encryption
  • Secure VPNs for remote or offsite staff
  • Strong password policies and multi-factor authentication
  • Staff cybersecurity training
  • Active event and traffic monitoring
  • Regular cybersecurity audits

It sounds like a lot, but a lot of modern cybersecurity stems around policies that just need to be set up and enforced, as opposed to spending a ton of money on each and every line item. Yes, there is going to be an investment, but it can absolutely pay for itself if it prevents you from the pain that a modern-day cyberattack can bring.

Getting started is easy, give us a call at (512) 343-8891 and set up a consultation.

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