Hackers and daring online scams | Cybersecurity

The Most Daring Online Scams 

At Soteria we work around the clock to help companies secure their data and prevent cyberattacks, and we will be the first to say that data security is no laughing matter.

Except when it is.

Hackers may be our sworn enemies, but we have to admit that some of the tactics and tricks they use to fool internet users, including some of the smartest people in the world, can be inspired and hilarious.

In this article, we take a lighter look at the world of cybersecurity and some of the crazy lengths cybercriminals have gone to in their quest to access your crucial private data.

The first hack in history

Hacking may be the scourge of the ultra-connected 21st-century, but illegal interception of communications started over 100 years ago.

Back in 1903, the Royal Institution was getting ready to demonstrate a new telegraph technology invented by Guglielmo Marconi. Just as the demonstration was about to kick off – with the kind of excitement you’d expect from a new iPhone release back when we still cared about them – the telegraph machine suddenly sprung to life with the word “rats” being repeated over and over on the ticker tape.

Before long, a dirty poem mocking Marconi arrived over the telegraph, causing a stir in the press. When the authorities investigated, they discovered that the magician Neville Maskelyne, who had a grudge against Marconi, had managed to intercept the telegraph transmission.

This was a sign of things to come 120 years later in our own time, when hackers routinely attack unpopular public figures or execute denial of service attacks on websites that they dislike.

Ocean’s 11 –  in a fish tank

The Internet of Things has brought about a situation where smart devices are connected in almost every office in the world, and some of them are so obscure that you’d never think to secure them.

Several years ago, a Las Vegas casino suffered a major data breach when hackers took control of the electronic sensors that monitor the water temperature and mineral content of one of its fish tanks. Once they gained access to the casino’s network, they were able to identify some highly sensitive unsecured data which they transmitted to Finland –  a fitting location for such a fishy crime.

X marks the spot for a celebrity bitcoin scam

In 2022, when X was still known as Twitter, the company’s current CEO Elon musk was one of many internet users scammed by a cybercriminal who offered to double any amount of bitcoin that they sent to him.

Needless to say, not one of the countless number of people who fell prey to the scam got even a cent back. Then again, since Elon is estimated to have overpaid by $19 billion when he bought Twitter he probably didn’t let the loss of a few bitcoin get him down.

Jokes aside:  you won’t be laughing if you’re the victim of a cyberattack

The ingenuity that cybercriminals have shown in cheating internet users out of their money is only going to get more impressive in the years to come.

Securing your network, updating your firewall and antivirus, and never responding to communications from anyone you don’t know and haven’t confirmed as the sender are three simple ways to stay safe online – but you these days you will likely need more protection.

Secure cloud storage offers a powerful layer of protection for your crucial data, with automated and encrypted backup ensuring that files are sent to the cloud on a regular basis to prepare your organisation for anything the dark web can throw at it.

Learn more about our range of packages for business and home users and take a powerful step in securing your data in the battle against hackers.

Beware of ChaptGPT False Promises

ChatGPT False Promises – Is AI a Hacker’s Dream Come True?

Artificial intelligence has taken a huge leap forward recently with ChatGPT showing off its ability to write text that resembles human output. Many companies are experimenting with this technology to simplify their business communication processes – and as usual, hackers aren’t far behind.

While ChatGPT attracts new fans and foes around the world, cybercriminals are relying on the hype around the new generation of AI to lure unsuspecting internet users into downloading malware and ransomware promising AI capabilities.

“Chat GPT enabled software” is likely fake  – and dangerous

Next time you’re on social media or browsing the web, you may come across ads for an app claiming to have a “ChatGPT functionality” that can significantly boost your productivity.

At present, the only ways you can use ChatGPT are by visiting the official website of its developer Open AI or by using the Microsoft Bing search engine.

Other apps that claim to be powered by ChatGPT have been found to be malicious software developed by hackers in order to spread malware or steal user data.

Once installed on your smartphone, these apps could start searching your files for personal information including internet banking login details.

Your smartphone operating system could also be hijacked and used to mine cryptocurrency or carry out acts of cybercrime without your knowledge. According to CIS Guy Rosen, “From a bad actor’s perspective, ChatGPT is the new crypto”.

If you notice anything unusual about your phone – including the following – you’ll want to take action right away.

  • Your smart phone is suddenly running a lot slower than before or isn’t responsive.
  • Your phone overheats frequently, or the battery drains extremely quickly despite having been charged recently.
  • Your data usage starts to spike to levels that you’ve never seen before – even though your usage is similar to previous months.

How to safeguard your mobile device against cyberattacks

If you suspect that your device has been hacked or that malicious software is running in the background, there’s no time to lose. Disconnecting your phone from the internet will stop the flow of data that hackers may be using to steal your sensitive information.

Installing updated antivirus software and running a scan immediately should help you detect malware or ransomware. For a 100% privacy sweep, you could also wipe the device and restore factory settings.

Keep your data safe with Soteria

Cloud-based encrypted data storage is your best defence against cybercriminals. To secure your information, browse our range of secure backup solutions today.

Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/cyber-security-smartphone-cell-phone-2765707/

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SA SMES face cyber threats | Cybercrime

Cybercrime: SA companies still at risk

Scores of well-known companies across South Africa from ABSA to Dis-Chem, Shoprite to Transnet and many more, have fallen victim to cybercriminals over the past 12 months – yet businesses remain disturbingly unprepared for a cyberattack.

We take a look at the latest findings from Kaspersky’s annual cybersecurity survey and interpret them in the context of rising online crime threats facing the country to give business owners insights into how to improve their own security.

2022: a marked increase in cyberattacks

Large data leaks and ransomware attacks are becoming commonplace in South Africa, with small to large corporations, credit bureaus, and government departments being targeted.

The recent leaking of President Ramaphosa’s personal details show just how brazen cybercriminals have become, and how even world leaders aren’t safe from their illegal activities.

under attack: South African SMEs face cyber threats

South African small and medium enterprises are increasingly falling victim to the threat of cyberattacks in the form of continuous phishing and ransomware attacks.

  • According to Kaspersky’s annual cyber threat survey, Trojan-PSW attacks (a malware that steals passwords and other data) have increased 69% over the past year, despite a 13% reduction in internet attacks which could reverse at any time.
  • While internet attacks, which target web pages and site exploits, were 13% lower in the first quarter of 2022, the number of attacks still remains concerningly high.
  • The increase in cybercrimes may be linked to the work from home phenomenon that emerged in 2020 and continued into last year, with remote desktop protocols providing cybercriminals with a new avenue of attack.
  • Despite these worrying numbers, local businesses are still lagging behind when it comes to cybersecurity and response measures.
  • Considering the potential for financial and reputational damage that a small business could suffer in the wake of a cyberattack, now is not the time to take a laid-back approach to online security.

Here are some measures that businesses can take to keep their data safe

  • Invest in a comprehensive cybersecurity system. This will allow IT experts to track, monitor, and visualise the state of your company’s data before, during and after an attack.
  • Move away from physical storage. A secure cloud storage solution is a key weapon in the fight against cybercriminals, decentralising your data and encrypting it so that it can’t be used even if it’s compromised.
  • Take cybersecurity training seriously. Every employee is a soldier in the war against data-related crime. By empowering your team with training that will help them identify and report suspicious activities, you’ll be creating a wall of steel around your business.

A successful cybersecurity system that can keep you ahead of the curve against cybercriminals starts with tight data security. Check out our secure cloud storage packages today and choose a solution that suits your business.

Cyber-incident Response Plan | Cybercrime

How to Build a Cyber-incident Response Plan

No matter how hard you work to prevent data leaks or hacking incidents, the sheer number of these events taking place recently means that your business may have to deal with the reality of being the target of cybercrime in the future.

Like any crisis, it’s what you do in the hours and days following the incident that makes all the difference when it comes to mitigating damage.

A rock-solid cyber-incident response plan can help get your business functioning again after a cyberattack. Here’s how to create one.

the growing need for cyber security response

Whenever a crime takes place, a rapid and powerful response is needed – and the same applies to digital crimes.

  • With 98% of companies having been exposed to a cloud data breach in the past 18 months, the need for decisive action in the wake of an online attack has never been greater.
  • Don’t wait until it’s too late to implement an incident response system. By putting a plan together now, your business will be in a strong position to respond in the face of an online security breach.

here’s what a good incident response plan looks like

There are several components that form part of an effective response plan. Here’s what you need to implement in your business to minimise the effects of a cyberattack.

Image: https://powerslides.com/

 

  • Accountability. Assigning senior staff members and executives to the security response team will ensure that the people with the authority to make decisions are available if and when an attack takes place.
  • Roles and contacts. Knowing exactly who will be responsible for each aspect of the response plan ahead of time will allow you to act swiftly in the event of an attack with the help of your IT department or cybersecurity consultant.
  • Communication methods and Plan Bs. It’s worth noting that communication channels like VoIP and email may be down in the wake of a cyberattack. Traditional communication methods like telephone and text messaging will be crucial in this scenario.
  • Recording the incident. Any good investigation needs to establish what happened, when it began, what departments of the business were affected, and who the possible suspect/s might be. Reporting this information with the help of your IT department will be crucial in the minutes and hours following a cyberattack.
  • Containment, eradication, and recovery. Depending on the scale of the damage caused by a cyberattack, your IT department may decide to watch and wait in order to gain important clues about the attackers or take measures to contain the damage -including shutting down the company’s entire IT network.

Minimising the damage that a cyberattack can do to your business starts with your IT infrastructure. To find out how secure cloud storage can protect your data, chat with our team today.

Image courtesy of: https://powerslides.com/powerpoint-business/project-management-templates/incident-response-plan/ 

Security Awareness Programme for Employees | Cybersecurity

The key to building a security awareness programme for employees

The best cyber security system in the world won’t be able to protect your business if your employees leave the door open for cyber criminals – even if they don’t mean to.

Since human error is usually the weak link in every digital security chain, it’s essential to create a culture of security awareness in your organisation. Let’s find out how you can launch a successful program to empower your employees in the fight against hacking and other digital crimes.

don’t leave the back door open

Many people think that cyberattacks are the work of hacking geniuses who go out all out to crack data encryption codes and take down firewalls. But in reality, some of the most successful data breaches are the result of employees and other authorised users clicking on suspicious links or downloading email attachments that give hackers access to the company’s data.

  • Giving your team members the knowledge and skills to prevent cyberattacks is the first step in securing your sensitive data.
  • Creating a culture of online security awareness will help close the holes in your day to day safety net – and initiatives like this have to start at the top.

how executives can help secure company data

A comprehensive data security awareness project requires time, a training budget, and executive leadership to emphasise the importance of securing company information.

  • By spearheading the initiative, executives and senior managers can create a sense of seriousness and urgency around data security that will inspire other employees to comply with the company’s security protocols.
  • In addition, proper synergy with other departments in the company like HR, legal, IT, and compliance will ensure that the organisation moves as a whole to secure its sensitive information.

launching a security awareness programme for employees

The success of any security awareness programme for employees needs the buy in and support from all decision makers, departments and teams. The commitment to security awareness has to happen at every level.

Once a data security awareness program for employees has been launched, it’s a matter of keeping it moving and analysing its results.

Analyse, plan, deploy, measure and optimise your security efforts to keep track of your company’s data security and keep improving it over time.

concerned about your company’s data security? Let’s talk

Every business has unique needs and unique people which requires a programme designed to recognise the who, why, how and where of your organisation. Be sure to develop a people-centric security awareness programme for your employees that talks to them, not at them.

Secure cloud storage is an excellent solution when it comes to keeping your data safe. Contact us today to learn more about our range of packages that are designed to suit the needs of all businesses.

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities | Data Threats

Does your company have cybersecurity vulnerabilities?

As a 21st-century entrepreneur you possibly do a lot of business on the Internet. There’s no doubt it’s a great strategy, but it comes with its own set of risks. From data breaches to ransom ware and your run-of-the-mill viruses, there are a host of dangers out there on the web Continue reading Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities | Data Threats