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Posts Tagged ‘ransom’


Which Industries Are Most Likely to be Targeted with Cyber Security Threats?

Monday, May 21st, 2018

To understand why some industries are targeted in cyber attacks more often than others, it’s important to understand what drives hackers and what makes a target appealing. Of the two, hackers are easier to understand:

According to a Verizon data security report, roughly 70 percent of attacks are financially motivated, and around a quarter of attacks are for espionage purposes. The rest tend to fall under the categories of personal grudges, ideological attacks, and “just for fun.”

A prime target for an attack will have some of, if not all of, the following qualities:

  • Works with important, confidential data
  • Possesses valuable information (not just financially)
  • Service disruptions require urgent action to restore access or information security
  • Target has substantial financial assets
  • Target has the financial means to pay a ransom

Businesses in the following industries often find themselves on the receiving end of a security attack because they are considered high-value targets.

1. Finance

As the financial industry works with money, it should come as no surprise that it is the most popular target for hackers. This industry is the target in 24 percent of all attacks, which are almost exclusively financially motivated. These attacks often try to compromise credentials so hackers can steal money through a second-step. Businesses in the finance space should make IT security a priority because attacks are less a matter of if and more a matter of when.

2. Healthcare

Hackers often look to exploit the urgency in the healthcare industry for a financial payout: This industry receives 15 percent of all attacks. In particular, ransomware accounts for 72 percent of all malware attacks on hospitals. The healthcare industry is singled out because disruptions to data access could put patient lives at risk, and hackers could be looking to exploit legal penalties for underprepared businesses losing data.

3. Public Sector

The public sector is a popular target because of the information it stores: Around 12 percent of all attacks are on this industry. Financial motivation only accounts for 20 percent of attacks on the public administration segment of the industry; instead, espionage is the motive in 64 percent of cases. Hackers are often trying to steal confidential information from government operations, but they still may try to go after schools with ransomware to earn a quick payout. Criminals may also target public sector operations because they believe the organization is under-resourced in IT security.

4. Retail and Accommodations

When combined, the retail and accommodations industries comprise another 15 percent of cyber attacks. In particular, 96 percent of retail attacks are financially motivated. These attacks often target payment and personal information that can be used to either directly steal money or play a role in identity theft.

5. Everyone Else

Just because your business isn’t in the four largest targeted industries, you shouldn’t fall victim to a false sense of security. Other businesses still account for 34 percent of attacks. In fact, overconfidence in existing security practices can make the difference between a failed or successful breach.

The IT experts at MPA Networks can help your Bay-Area business secure its internet-facing operations to help keep your information safe. Whether you’re in finance, healthcare, or another industry, MPA’s experience can improve your defenses. Contact us today to learn more.

Addressing the Unique IT Management Needs at Law Firms

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Law firms face many unique IT management challenges that stem from the confidential nature of the information they work with. And that confidential data is why law firms must make the protection of information a key IT priority. Threats can come from outside (such as hackers using pressure to extort money from the firm) as well as inside (from technology failure). In order to adapt as threats change, it is important to understand both why law firms are prone to specific IT management challenges and how to address those challenges.

Why Are Law Firms a Prime Target for Ransomware?

As with other businesses, law firms must be ready for the growing number and scope of ransomware threats.

Hackers see law firms as ideal targets because lawyers may opt to pay the ransom to recover information for a case with an immediate court date.

Additionally, hackers may seek to exploit a larger law firm’s substantial financial backing to get an easy payday: A $300 ransom is worth much more to an individual than it is to a large firm. The 2017 ransomware attack against prominent global law firm DLA Piper demonstrates how serious these attacks can be.

Law Firms Are Vulnerable to Data Theft

While technology automates a great deal of law firms’ work, it also brings additional risks for information theft. The 2017 Equifax hack demonstrates exactly how far-reaching damage can be when hackers steal personal information.

Law firms also need to be concerned about keeping confidential client information confidential. Hackers may try to steal information stored on servers or personal computers through malware attacks and software exploits.

What’s less obvious is how criminals can use social engineering — such as posing as a client via email or during a phone conversation — to get law firms to give up confidential information.

External and Internal Data Loss

Law firms work with a substantial amount of information that can go missing due to both external and internal factors. For example, a firm’s server or an employee’s laptop may fail and lose all the data stored on the device. Additionally, employees may not always properly manage their documents and information, which makes them difficult to find. In fact, poor document management can cost a firm hours of productivity every week. IT management can help organize information through platforms such as a document management system to help minimize data loss related to human error.

Law Firm IT Management Solutions

While law firms face many unique IT challenges, businesses can take several steps to minimize risk and mitigate damage:

  • Implement a three-copy backup policy to safeguard against data loss related to ransomware, malware, device failure and human error.
  • Make sure that all software on all devices is up to date and running the latest version. Hackers tend to exploit user laziness by attacking security holes that could have been patched had the user not skipped an update.
  • Confirm that all information exchanges are secure. Don’t fall for social engineering schemes or use compromised public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Use document management systems to prevent losing data from mismanagement. These also serve as a type of backup.

If you would like to learn more about how your law firm can better manage its IT assets and protect itself from online threats, contact the IT experts at MPA Networks today.