Mimecast: How Cybercriminals Choose Targets


Mimecast: Cybercriminals choose their targets based on vulnerability and the ability to implement their attack of choice—like a ransomware attack.

It's no secret that cybercrime is on the rise, with thousands of malicious cyberattacks occurring every day. As technology continues to evolve and enmesh in people's lives, so do the tactics of bad actors looking to victimize innocent people. The best way to avoid becoming a target is to understand how attackers choose their victims.

Here's a breakdown of how cybercriminals select their targets:

Vulnerability Analysis 

The first step in the process of selecting a target is analyzing the potential vulnerabilities of their system. 

Exploitable weaknesses in software, hardware, networks, or even employees allow cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data or networks.  

By understanding security gaps, attackers may be able to find ways to bypass protections that victims have in place. 

Target Selection 

Once an attacker has identified potential weaknesses in a system or network, they'll begin the process of selecting their target. 

In many cases, this involves researching the victim's online presence and gathering information about their habits, interests, and activities. This research helps attackers determine which attack will be most effective against the victim's system or network. 

For example, if an attacker knows that a victim uses an outdated operating system, they may decide to use malicious software designed for that operating system. Or, if an attacker knows that the target has weak email filters in place, they may opt for a phishing attack. 

Attack Implementation 

Once a target has been selected and the attacker has determined which attack they'll use, plan implementation will commence.

This could involve sending phishing emails with malicious attachments or links to steal personal information from unsuspecting victims or taking control of a vulnerable device remotely through malware infections. 

Regardless of the method used, attackers are looking for ways to gain access to data without detection so they can carry out their attacks without consequences. 

Common Cybersecurity Attacks 

Understanding common cybersecurity attacks is vital in protecting an organization or individual from cybercrime threats. 

Common examples include: 

  • Ransomware Attacks encrypt files on infected computers until a ransom is paid to decrypt them.
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks (DDoS) overwhelm web servers with traffic, making the system unavailable to users by disrupting the host connection. 
  • Credential Stuffing is an attack that enables cybercriminals to attempt to log into accounts using stolen usernames and passwords. 

How to Prevent Becoming a Target for Cybercrime 

Organizations and individuals can protect themselves from becoming cybercrime targets by securing their digital information. 

These steps include creating strong passwords, regularly updating security measures on all devices that access digital information, installing anti-virus and anti-spyware software on all computers, and regularly educating users about the dangers of cybercrime. 

Keeping software up-to-date is also crucial so that organizations can avoid potential threats. It's also helpful to have an emergency plan should a breach occur. 

Additionally, regularly reviewing user activity logs and monitoring user behavior may ensure the early detection of suspicious activity or unauthorized access attempts. 

Ultimately if people follow these best practices, they can help protect against becoming a target of cybercriminals.

Final Thoughts

Both individuals and businesses need to understand how attackers choose their targets. 

By understanding what makes a target attractive, an organization can better protect itself from threats like ransomware attacks, DDoS, and credential stuffing, among others. 

Taking steps such as patching software regularly, keeping backups, and enabling two-factor authentication are all critical measures organizations and daily internet users should take to defend against cyberattacks.

About Mimecast 

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Mimecast is the company solving the top cyberattack vector - email. We deliver relentless protection for tens of thousands of customers around the globe, always putting them first, and never giving up on tackling their biggest security challenges.

Contact Information:
Keyonda Goosby
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
(201) 633-2125

Original Source: Mimecast: How Cybercriminals Choose Targets

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