Human Hacking, Not Automated Attacks, Top Cyber Threat

Human hacking, also known as social engineering, has surpassed hardware and software vulnerabilities and is now the top cybersecurity threat, Computer Weekly reports:

Human hacking, also known as social engineering, has surpassed hardware and software vulnerabilities and is now the top cybersecurity threat.

[A]ttackers shifted away from automated exploits in 2015. Instead, attackers engaged people through email, social media and mobile apps to do the dirty work of infecting systems, stealing credentials and transferring funds.

 Researchers found that machine exploits were replaced by human exploitation, with attackers opting for attachment-based social engineering campaigns rather than purchasing expensive technical exploit kits.

 Across attacks of all sizes, threat actors used social engineering to trick people into doing things that once depended on malicious code.

What is Human Hacking?

Human hacking is a type of con during which, instead of trying to hack into a system, the hacker engages in old-fashioned espionage techniques that involve human interaction and prey on weaknesses in human psychology, such as helpfulness, curiosity—even greed. A human hacker may approach an access-controlled door carrying a number of packages and pretend to fumble for their key or access card; an unsuspecting employee, thinking they are being helpful to a co-worker, opens the door for the hacker. This technique is known in the industry as tailgaiting. Or, using the pretexting technique, the hacker may phone an employee, pose as a help desk worker, and attempt to get the employee to provide their system access credentials.

These simple techniques are surprisingly effective. TechTarget reports that a human hacker recently used pretexting to compromise the U.S. Department of Justice. The hacker phoned the DOJ, pretending to be a new employee who was having difficulty accessing the department’s web portal. The hacker was quickly provided with a token that granted him full access to the DOJ intranet. As a result, information on 20,000 FBI agents and 9,000 Department of Homeland Security employees was publicly leaked.

Other common human hacking techniques include:

  • Baiting takes advantage of human curiosity—or, in some cases, greed. The attacker puts a legitimate-looking and interesting label (such as “Employee Salary Report Q4”) on a malware-infected device, such as a USB drive, then leaves it in a place where someone will find it, such as a bathroom, a hallway, or an elevator. Then, the hacker simply waits for someone to pick up the device and insert it into their computer.
  • Phishing is a technique most Internet users have seen in action. The hacker (or phisher) sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, usually a bank or another business. The email requests that the receiver “verify” information by clicking on a link and warns of dire consequences, such as their account being deactivated, if the receiver does not do so. The link leads to a legitimate-looking but fraudulent website that requests personal information, such as online banking access credentials or even a debit card PIN.
  • Spear phishing is a more targeted form of phishing where a particular individual or organization is phished, as opposed to random mass attacks.
  • A Scareware scheme combines malware and human psychology. The con involves tricking victims into believing they have downloaded illegal content or that their computers have been infected with malware. The human hacker then offers the victim a “fix” in the form of a download – which is actually malware.

How Can Your Organization Prevent Human Hacking?

As with all cyber security issues, the best defense is a good offense. Continuum GRC recommends that organizations take a proactive approach to preventing human hacking, beginning with establishing a comprehensive cyber security policy and employee training program. If employees are aware of the types of cons human hackers run, they can learn to identify and report them before any damage is done. Continuum GRC offers the fastest ticket to policy and governance readiness in the business.

Additionally, organizations that conduct ongoing risk assessments and fix the gaps identified are on average a whopping 96% less likely to suffer a breach by hackers. Continuum GRC recommends organizations of any size implement a risk management program sooner than later when it may be too late.

Continuum GRC offers full-service and in-house risk assessment and risk management subscriptions helping companies all around the world sustain a proactive cyber security program. Continuum GRC is proactive cyber security®. Call 1-888-896-6207 to discuss your organization’s cyber security needs and find out how we can help you prevent human hacking.

Hooray for Hollywood! – Hackers Hold Healthcare Hostage

Hackers Hold Hollywood Healthcare Hostage

Hooray for Hollywood! – Hackers Hold Healthcare Hostage with ransomware.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid a $17,000 ransom in bitcoin to hackers who seized control of the hospital’s computer systems holding them a healthcare hostage. The cyber assault on Hollywood Presbyterian occurred Feb. 5, 2016, when hackers using malware infected the institution’s computers, preventing hospital staff from being able to communicate from those devices.

In 2015 the most cyber crime bloodletting occurred in healthcare and 2016 is already trending to the same trajectory. Cyber security providers out there offer Band-aid solutions but what the healthcare industry needs is a cure. Continuum GRC has the solution that can inoculate your organization against these threats, preventing hackers from holding your patients and your business a healthcare hostage.

2016 data breach trends.

What could Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center have done differently to have avoided being a victim to hackers? For starters, they could have taken a proactive approach and identified where their risks were, but instead they took a reactive approach, and now their business has been damaged. The cyber security experts at Continuum GRC know that when you take a proactive approach to security, compliance, audit and governance, you eliminate the potential for sending your business to the emergency room or worse yet, the morgue!

The following steps are proven to help:

  1. Conduct a systematic standards-based risk assessment of your organization
  2. Complete an internal controls assessment using industry frameworks to guide you through the process
  3. Proactively review all threat vectors eliminating them before criminals exploit them

Sound daunting? We know it is and that is why Continuum GRC takes the guesswork and complexity out of the assessment and certification process. Subscribe to the best tools that are guaranteed to help you avoid becoming a victim to hackers.

Check this out for yourself by contacting us at 1-888-896-6207 or just sign-up for a free trial.

Defeating Cyber Security Deficits with a 1-2 Punch

Defeating Cyber Security Deficits with a 1-2 Punch

Steve Morgan, a professional acquaintance who writes about cyber security for Forbes published One Million Cybersecurity Job Openings In 2016 and revealed some jaw-dropping statistics concerning the growing deficit in hiring qualified cyber security employees. To make matters worse, this chasm is exacerbated by the explosion of corporate breaches impacting and even decimating businesses in financials, education, business, government and especially healthcare.

cyber security one - two punch

In 2015, there were nearly 170,000,000 records exposed and that astronomical figure is just what we have been able to catalog. When cyber criminals run wild on your networks on average for 200 days before you know about it, that number most assuredly falls short of the actual impact. Cyber security breaches are increasing with a magnitude that is overwhelming.

Who is going to help turn the tide against these alarming trends? A recent report revealed that “More than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. are unfilled, and postings are up 74% over the past five years, according to a Peninsula Press (a project of the Stanford University Journalism Program) 2015 analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” It is pretty clear that while there currently is not enough talent to go around; this is only getting exponentially worse!

The upside for people who currently are in the cyber security profession or those who want to get into it means that:

  1. You are going to make about 9% more than other IT workers do at current compensation rates.
  2. There is a 36.5% growth rate in cyber security career fields which is not sustainable for companies and puts existing employees in higher demand to the highest bidder.

Another report included “A report from Cisco puts the global figure at one million cybersecurity job openings. The demand for the (cybersecurity) workforce is expected to rise to 6 million (globally) by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million” stated Michael Brown, CEO at Symantec, the world’s largest security software vendor.” This only turns up the anxiety level on companies who are scrambling to avoid being the “breach du jour”.

Compounding matters are that there is a significant increase in regulatory and compliance requirements across all industries. Every compliance framework out there went through major overhauls in 2015. In some cases as is the case for the SSAE 16; doubled in complexity. The situation just got more expensive and complex.

The only clear answers for businesses who want to remain viable in the global cyber threatscape come in the form of increased efficiencies and leveraged resources. Two of the best solutions that have emerged to address these challenges are:

cyber security one - two left punch

Retain a Cybervisor®

Why should only big business be able to afford world class technology security executive representation? You retain attorneys and accountants to perform complex tasks and represent you; retain technology security executive services and subject matter experts just the same! Even with 7% to 15% average annual increases by cyber security providers it is still less than 50% of the cost increases associated with employees.

Retaining the help from dedicated and verifiable cyber security experts costs less than the expense of hiring just one (1) cyber security employee. And yes, that was a plural not singular expert. With professional Cybervisor services companies get the expertise of many seasoned experts who collaborate and stand together to support their clients.

cyber security one - two right punchAutomation is Your Friend

It’s time to work smarter and not harder! By utilizing automated cyber security and GRC tools, we have discovered that employees are so much more efficient and effective. In fact utilizing a tool like ITAM IT audit software consistently makes the cyber security, GRC assessments and reporting processes a whopping 180% more efficient on average. When time is money, ITAM IT audit software is like getting three (3) dedicated cyber security employees for less than the cost of one (1).

This concept of working smarter not harder applies to all cyber security and GRC service providers world-wide. Why pay for your current third-party provider’s overhead and antiquated assessment processes when you can significantly reduce your expenses and increase your profit margins simply by using a modern, intelligently designed cutting-edge GRC tool like ITAM IT audit software?

ITAM IT audit software is an intelligently designed GRC tool that gets you from zero to compliance in record time by eliminating the audit anarchy you are accustomed to. There is a superior solution to this old-school problem and ITAM IT audit software is keystone to that solution.