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By: Marketing Team on December 8th, 2020

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How Do Hackers Think? Protect your Business Online


We all have some image that we think of when we hear the word "hacker." It can conjure images of a man in a dark room with a hoodie on clambering away on their keyboard. In this article, learn how hackers think so you can protect your business.

Modern-day hacking might not be happening the way that you imagine.

To understand why modern cybersecurity is so important, especially for businesses, you need to understand how hackers think and how they can attack you.

Attack the Vulnerabilities

Believe it or not, hackers are not usually picking a target and working at any cost to take them down. It is usually not as directed of an attack as shows like Mr. Robot would have you believe.

Mr. Robot lead actor

Instead, hackers are usually going the path of least resistance. They want to exploit the vulnerabilities in an IT system to get access and start causing trouble.

These vulnerabilities can come in the form of open firewall ports, or unsafe mobile portals from not using a VPN, but those are usually not how someone gets in.

The most common way people get into your system is through a phishing attempt, usually on someone not well versed in IT.

"There is some research that says that about 90% of attacks start with a phishing attack," says Intelligent Technical Solutions Director of Operations Peter Swarowski. "It wouldn’t be to go after the IT. It would be to send something to someone like the receptionist. Someone who won’t think through opening a link and not thinking too much about security. 'That’s not my problem, that’s what IT is for.'"

Hackers are well aware that this kind of "not my problem" thought process happens across every business across the country. They know that eventually, someone will click on something they shouldn't have, and that will let them get in.

How the staff acts online is one of the biggest ways to help secure an IT network. Providing staff IT training can be one of the easiest, and most cost-efficient ways to help reduce IT breaches in the future.

Buy Better Tools than your Competition

Many people are not aware of just how big the ransomware and the hacking black market actually are. There are businesses that are fully dedicated to creating and selling ransomware and malware software to clients who will use them to attack businesses.

This creates an ecosystem where there are levels of attackers and levels of defenders. A small hacker in his college apartment may not be able to afford the software to unleash a sophisticated attack on a huge company like Amazon. However, he may be able to quickly unleash a five-figure ransomware attack on a local law firm that they never saw coming.

Hacker trying to guess passwordThe trick is that most businesses are not able to keep up with the skill, and the technology that the attacks can.

Think of it like this. A business has so many things to worry about. They have to keep their actual business running which means buying and selling goods or services. They have to hire people to work within that business to fulfill roles and pay their salaries. They also have to pay for the infrastructure and everything else just to keep the business running.

On the other hand, the hacker just has to pay for the software. As long as they have a computer that is pretty much their only expense when buying off the black market.

This leaves a disparity in what businesses are able to spend on their IT and security, versus what the attackers can spend on their technology and attacks.

"Typically the good guys are so outmatched with skills and resources because they have to deal with the confines of their organization. They can’t pay for the most expensive and best tools," Swarowski says. "You need the process and the people and those come at a cost and a business need to operate effectively. Their focus is not how do I spend more money on IT so my business runs better. It’s always either, I have no problems so why do I pay you, OR I have all these problems so why am I paying you?"

Hackers are well aware of this mentality and use it against companies to get a quick payout.

What Can We Do?

There is no 100% fix to make sure that you won't be attacked. Attacks are always changing and no fix is a certainty. But that doesn't mean that it's just a waiting game until your business is compromised.

A great place to start is to go for the human side. Providing staff training and teaching people about attacks that might come their way is essential. If you can make the barrier of entry harder for attackers then you can ward off most attacks.

Always remember that attackers are looking for low-hanging fruit.

Another good fix is to make sure that your security network is up to snuff. A great way to do this is to work with a managed IT service provider to help you identify gaps and keep you updated on changes in the security landscape.

Managed IT services can supply a business with a team of people who are knowledgeable and up-to-date on what's happening in the security world.

Get started with our Free Network Consultation. Together we can work to figure out a solution that can help protect your business from a future attack!The Whys and Hows of an Engaging Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program