Ransomware and phishing schemes are two of the biggest cybersecurity threats for companies around the world. These deliberate attacks are used to gain power, data, leverage, and — ultimately — money.
But direct attacks are not the only threats that your company has to protect itself against. There is a growing demand for bandwidth, and that demand is at a bursting point. Your company computers are running more programs than ever before. You have more computers than ever before full-stop. You also have servers, access control systems, smart devices, and an endless array of devices. Bit by bit, these perfectly legitimate business tools are using up the capacity for reliable Internet access in your building. Your data security and IT support systems have probably already accounted for the increase and a sensible margin for error for peak usage.
None of this is the problem.
The problem is that malicious actors outside of your organization are also feeling the strain on their personal and public networks. That means their turning to other large networks that are easy to infect and harness for their own purposes. Here are three ways that could be happening to your network:
1. Zombie bots.
DDOS attacks take more ‘manpower’ than ever before. It used to be that a couple of highly motivated malicious actors could bring down even relatively large websites with their own tools. But as security systems got stronger, DDOS attacks required more power and more attacks from hundreds and thousands (now hundreds of thousands) of distinct sources.
Malicious actors try to harness everything from university systems to business networks. If your network lets people connect with unsecured devices through a guest network, for example, those devices can accidentally introduce a sleeper virus into your network. The virus is invisible until the creators are ready to use your devices’ processing power and your network to be part of a large-scale attack.
In this type of threat, you aren’t the direct target. It’s just people using you to take down others. But that still compromises your data security and can threaten to bring down your own network.
2. Bitcoin mining.
The Bitcoin craze has mostly died away, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still trying to get as much value out of the concept as possible. Bitcoins aren’t just pieces of currency to be bought, sold, or traded. People can ‘mine for,’ or create, Bitcoin through hefty amounts of computer processing.
Even gaining a single coin takes massive amounts of power and time. Individual people don’t have the electronic resources to mine Bitcoin. So some people have created malware that slips through the cracks of larger networks to tap into their processing power and more powerful network.
Most of the time, this process is invisible. Only a small percentage of power is taken from any one device or network, and the malicious actors know that the system works best if you don’t notice a problem. But these programs are still inserting themselves into your network. That’s bad for your security, your speed, and your company’s bottom line.
3. Unsecured smart devices.
The Internet of Things is everywhere. It’s on your wrist or in your pocket. If you’re in a modern office, it’s hanging from the ceiling and attached to the walls. You’re looking at it right now.
Most of the devices that make up the Internet of Things don’t have standard operating systems. They don’t have Windows, Apple, or Linux. They have basic, unsecured code that can connect to the network and a control program. That means they can easily pick up viruses. While a smart light bulb with a Trojan Horse might seem ridiculous, don’t think of it as just a light bulb. Think of it as a device that has been accepted fully into your network that no one thinks twice about. And there are hundreds in your office.
Protecting against indirect cybersecurity threats isn’t easy. But when they’re crowding into your company’s network and posing even tangential threats to your security, you need to make a plan. Go to IT Networks Australia Pty Ltd to get started.