Many people are aware of terms like phishing and malware, but do you know those are a part of a larger scheme called social engineering? This is not a new kind of fraud; in fact, it’s been used for many years to manipulate a wide range of people into giving up important data about themselves or workplace. A prime example of social engineering goes back to Greek mythology with the Trojan horse. The city of Troy was infiltrated with a “peace offering” filled with soldiers, thus winning the war. With technology at the forefront of our lives, social engineering has entered a new era. Physical human interaction is not necessarily required anymore. These hackers can gain information through emails, pop-ups and public wifi networks, just to name a few. The main objective is to influence, manipulate or trick users into giving up privileged information or access within an organization. They are doing this right under your nose and if you’re not paying attention, you will become a victim of this as well.
Let’s take a quick look at a few of the ways your technology can be compromised…
Viruses: These act very similar to the flu virus. Once it gets into a computer, it propagates by copying itself and becoming part of another program. Then just like the flu at an elementary school, it spreads from computer to computer. However, a virus must be activated by opening or running the file. Viruses also include worms and trojans.
Spyware: This form of malware works just as its name intends. It is a software that usually piggybacks on legitimate downloads. Once it is in your computer, it spies on the information you key in and secretly sends it to another person or place. The first sign of spyware usually is a slow computer since it takes up many resources to run.
Adware: We all know this one all too well. Those pesky pop-ups telling you your computer is infected or that you won a prize. These also piggyback on other applications or downloads, such as free computer wallpaper, widgets or toolbars. Adware is kind of tricky in that inherently it isn’t dangerous to your computer. It’s annoying certainly, but not always dangerous. However, once clicked on an adware link, you’ve basically opened the floodgates.
Ransomware: With the popularity of cryptocurrency, ransomware has become more and more abundant. Often, this type of malware won’t damage your computer… right away. Instead it locks it and holds it hostage. The hacker asks for a ransom and will provide a key only if and when the ransom has been paid. If not, the hacker will usually wipe your device of all of its data.
If you are concerned about staying on top of technology security for your organization, please CONNECT with us today to discuss how we may be of service to you.