Halloween is one of the most beloved holidays celebrated across the world. The haunted houses, creepy costumes, spooky pranks, masquerade balls, and spine-chilling horror stories show that Halloween is full of fun and surprises as there is always a new scare waiting for you next.
Halloween is celebrated on 31st October annually, which also marks the end of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Moreover, there are numerous reasons why Halloween and cyber threats are quite alike. Except for the fun part, cyber threats, too, are scary and intimidating. And just like people dress up in costumes, hiding behind masks, cybercriminals too stay hidden and anonymous, but the only difference is that they can know everything about you. What’s even more frightening is that cyberattacks are increasing rapidly. All thanks to this pandemic, ever since a vast majority of businesses have gone online and people started working from home, cyber threats have boomed!
In this blog, we will discuss the five scariest cyber threats this Halloween that you need to beware of and a few tips to keep these attackers away from you.
This year, ransomware attacks have attained an unparalleled high. The situation has become so bad that in a few cases, companies paying a ransom to the attackers will face civil fines because ransom payments are considered as an act of encouragement for these cybercriminals. So, now the businesses have double worries as if ransomware attacks and the damages they bring along weren’t frightening enough on their own that civil fines are here too.
One of the main reasons why the attacks have increased suddenly is this pandemic. Attackers are taking advantage of the people’s need to take regular updates about Covid-19 and the happenings around the world, like what’s reopening what isn’t. These hackers are ‘tricking’ the users into opening fishy emails containing infected links or attachments that install the ransomware on their devices without their knowledge.
The increase in hands-on hacking is proving to be one of the scariest and affecting cyber threats trends this year. In this form of hacking, hackers take part in malicious activities themselves instead of performing script-based automated attacks. Typically, nation-state cyber actors used to employ this level of sophistication, but now cybercriminal gangs are repeatedly exhibiting it.
This increase in the practice of hands-on hacking can be largely attributed to the sudden outburst in the number of people working remotely, thanks to the pandemic once again. Attackers are exploiting this WFH (work-from-home) environment to access systems and accounts.
Deepfake technology is turning out to be a significant cyber threat too. It is expanding in frequency, and its potential to cause harm. Hackers can create entirely fake images and videos using this technology and then use them to harass and frighten the victims. Now this gives rise to a threat to both the private and public sectors.
For instance, deepfakes can be used as a political tool for distributing false or misleading information in the public sector. On the other hand, deepfakes can be used to defame or downgrade the CEOs by making it look like they did something shocking or scandalous that could impact the company’s stock in the private sector.
Phishing attacks are not new but still fearsome, and they have grown exponentially this year, accounting for a vast majority of the reported cybersecurity happenings. Their sophistication and complexity of payloads have also increased. The current remote working environment is worsening this issue further. Attackers are exploiting the intensified focus on the pandemic and weaker remote work security to launch cyberattacks. Phishing attacks have become the most common source of data breaches while working remotely.
This devious malware uses the victim’s computer power to mine cryptocurrencies without their consent. This is different from other forms of malware as it is after the processing power of the user’s computer instead of their data. Since mining requires massive computer power, hackers try to hijack other computers too to use their power to aid in the mining process.
Hackers are exploiting the expanded remote work employees to target and compromise work from home tools like Google Hangouts and Zoom and using them to install the cryptojacking malware into the victim’s computer. Once the malware is installed, cryptojackers can extremely decrease computer performance, compromise devices, and networks, and cause severe financial loss.
Fighting Cyber Monsters This Halloween
Despite the increasing number of spine-chilling cyber threats, businesses and individuals can defend themselves against these online attacks by employing these cybersecurity measures:
- Start by installing an antivirus. Antivirus software is like your digital safeguard or precaution. Just like you take medicines to prevent specific diseases, similarly, you should have a reliable antivirus in place to prevent specific cyberattacks. Endpoint antivirus is the best choice for organizations using multiple devices as endpoint solutions ensure that software fixes and security updates containing bug fixes are applied evenly to all devices once these updates and fixes are released.
- Offer cybersecurity awareness training to all your employees. It is not only important for businesses and their workforce, but also for individual users. Most cyberattacks start with a phishing email; therefore, all employees need to know how to identify these attacks and respond once they suspect one.
- Use multi-factor authentication. It requires people to provide at least two pieces of evidence that prove their identity before they can access the account, device, or resource. MFA is a highly effective and authentic way of blocking unauthorized users from accessing your accounts or devices.
- Beware of attachments and downloads. This simply can’t be exaggerated. You should never download anything from an unknown or unreliable source and never ever open suspicious emails or attachments or links sent to you from strangers.
This year’s cyberattacks have been menacing, fierce, and really scary, and they continue to pose a threat to our online security. To be capable of fighting these attackers, you first need to know what they are and what harm they can cause to your data and devices. Now that you know the five scariest cyber threats, you can start implementing ways to steer clear of them. Organizations and individuals can still defend their data, devices, and networks against cybersecurity risks by employing the few measures mentioned in this blog. These are simple yet very powerful and effective in keeping creepy hackers and dangerous attacks away from you.