Cybersecurity Basics: 6 Ways Cybercriminals Target Your Workers

Cybercriminals, such as hackers, can cost a business to lose its reputation and thousands of dollars in losses. A report from CNBC revealed that cyberattacks cost companies approximately $200,000 on average. What’s more, six out of ten businesses shut down within six months of an attack.

When cybercriminals attack a company, they sometimes prey on internal actors, also known as the employees of the organization. These criminals zero in on workers in key positions, as well as employees representing the vulnerable areas of the company.

Wondering just how these criminals target your workers? They use one or more of the following tactics to infiltrate the data of your organization and wreak havoc on your business:

  1. Phishing

This highly common hacking method involves sending official-looking emails to employees asking for persona and sensitive information, such as name, phone number, email address and account password. Unobservant workers may mistake a carefully designed phishing email for the real thing.

  1. Approaching the Disgruntled Worker

A cybercriminal who wants to destroy a business is unlikely to target individuals who love their job. Instead, they often approach disgruntled, former employees to obtain the information they want.

Why would cybercriminals target these unhappy workers? The reason is that these bitter individuals are more likely to spill the beans without much effort. They, for instance, may inadvertently rant about stuff that should remain confidential, such as sensitive financial data and details on the company’s access control security system and IT infrastructure.

If the organization didn’t update the door codes, change passwords or deactivate inactive credentials, the information divulged by the worker may be more than enough to take down a company.

  1. Social Engineering on Social Media

Apart from targeting unsatisfied workers, these criminals prey on employees who aren’t careful on social media. These cybercriminals start by searching an office worker’s contact information on social networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. They also take the time to study the employee’s personal life, so that they can use this vital info to gain the worker’s trust. This is social engineering.

Hackers who perform social engineering typically use manipulative or impersonation tactics to get through an employee’s business contact circle. They also use the same strategies to encourage employees to unconsciously divulge corporate information.

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  1. USB Stick Hacks

Something as tiny as a thumb drive can cause a mighty business to fall. This kind of attack involves the use of a flash drive containing a keystroke logging program or a virus. Once plugged in, the program will auto-install and provide the hacker access to the company’s files.

Getting employees to use the flash drive is simple. The hacker, for instance, can simply drop an innocent-looking thumb in a parking lot. Then, they’ll wait for a curious office worker to take the bait.

  1. Company Information on a Website

Many businesses proudly display details about their employees to introduce everyone to the amazing people behind the organization. Although this is an excellent method for engaging clients or customers, it serves as an opportunity for cybercriminals to get through a company’s security systems. Hackers, for instance, can use the email addresses and photos to start creating a portfolio of information on targeted employees.

  1. Malware Apps

Some hackers develop malicious apps that office employees can download onto their mobile phones. These malware programs may contain keyloggers that sniff out passwords and other vital information.  ;

Employees can become a target of one or more of these methods. Although stopping hackers in their tracks is impossible, your business can take steps to minimize your risk of a cyberattack. Conducting cybersecurity awareness training and beefing up your IT security infrastructure can go a long way in protecting your organization from cunning cybercriminals.

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Steve Jobs
co-founder of Apple Inc. and founder of NeXT
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