Increase of Ransomware and Malware attacks in 2021

We tend to think of ransom attacks, where data can be either be destroyed or published if the ransom isn't paid, as the scourge of the corporate world, but it can hit a company of any size - no company too small. 

A report by Proofpoint  a leading Cybersecurity company, released last week, took an in-depth look at security breaches in 2021.

The commissioned report involved over 4000 workers across France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. Across the board significant increases of all kinds of cyber attack were seen in 2021. These attacks were sent to businesses of all sizes as well as individuals.

This deep dive report runs to a whopping door-jam weight of 60 pages. You can download it here  It’s fascinating, but I appreciate that might just be me, so here are the main points which I think may be of interest.

Key take-aways

Know what you're looking for -

The term phishing is a blanket term that covers any hacking practices that have a payload attached to them which seek to take your money or your data for less than laudable purposes. They come as emails, telephone calls, text messages and can be levelled at whole organisations or individuals.

Probably because there was a lot more working from home last year, but there were data breeches cased by employees using employer supplied laptops/smart phones/tablets for personal use which inadvertently caused data breeches.

It's probably best to have a 'work stuff only' on any working apparatus and to ensure everyone knows what to look out for either by email, phone or text.

Don’t believe the logo

Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Zoom were worldwide amongst the most abused brands. The fraudsters are using trusted logos to lure people into giving up their credentials.
There was a famous scam in the UK a couple of years ago with HMRC branding. Fraudsters have also used a telephone campaigns as HMRC to attempt to access people's bank details.

Most of us have been on the receiving end of the post office scam; you’re parcel is here, please follow this link to pay £5.99 for it to be delivered. That’s never going to end well.

I've received emails that are formatted convincingly enough to get through our firewall – They always have a remittance advice attached to them, from people I’ve never heard of. These are easy to spot, but it still pays to be wary.

Scams are trending

Attackers have been following the trends for years, but they are quicker with their strategy outputs so that now so that the scam follows the trend almost in real time. 2021 was the year of COVID scams. I won’t be surprised if we see a scam under the guise of international aid with your hard-earned cash lining some disreputable oaf’s pocket rather than anyone fleeing Ukraine.

Protecting yourself in a mad, bad world

Up-to date hardware and software is the place to start (I know, I keep banging on about it), but there is truth in the fact that the latest operating systems have the latest in protection to at least stall the modern hacker.

Invest in a solid internet security package such as McAfee, Norton or Avast. They give an extra layer of protection so will catch a lot of the more dubious emails before they ever hit your inbox.

The rest is just you and your staff remaining vigilant and knowing how to spot a scam.

Give us a call if you need help updating any hardware of software operating systems.

Posted: 03-03-2022


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