Hacking is often called the biggest danger to the economic security of the United States. Ex-president Obama had gone on record as calling the cyber threat “one of the most serious and economic and national security challenges we face as a nation”. What was once a series of isolated incidents has now become almost common place in Corporate America. By attacking business networks, hackers are accessing company secrets and confidential strategies and creating huge losses for the overall economy.
“This is stealing American wealth,” Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, told CNBC. “It’s stealing American jobs. It’s stealing American competitive advantage.”
Every company is at risk. Even big names are not immune. LinkedIn was the victim of hackers and Google was attacked in 2011, when hackers gained access to hundreds of user accounts.
Operation Aurora, which was an attack on Google, I think, was a watershed moment where we suddenly realized that even the best companies with tremendously smart people, great security, are vulnerable to the threat
Email Social Engineering/Spear Phishing
Cyber spies can get into a network by sending an email or instant message to a targeted victim that will have an attachment or perhaps a link to a website. It will also be customized for the recipient. Once you open the attachment or click on the link, a vulnerability in the system’s application such as a word processor or browser will be exploited. Malicious software, known as malware, will then start executing on the machine and open up a communication channel to the hacker to allow them to browse and control the system.
Hackers can also use the infected computer as a beachhead to get into other machines within that network. That is how cyber spies were able to hack into Google last year.
Infection Via a Drive-By Web Download
If cyber spies are interested in a lot of people within a larger group, they can target a website that is used by the group or company. The hackers will look for a vulnerability on the website to get in or access it through spear phishing. It is a tactic that is growing in popularity and is a common way to target dissidents, he said. However, it can also affect company or government websites.
USB Key Malware
Malware can also get onto a computer through a USB key. For instance, someone can slide infected USB keys into packets given out at a conference, Once the unsuspecting person plugs the key into his or her machine, malware is installed. It can also be surreptitiously inserted into a computer by a spy on the inside of a company.
Scanning Networks for Vulnerabilities and Exploitation
Hackers can remotely scan servers to determine vulnerabilities within that system. Once they find vulnerability, they exploit it by sending a command or data to the server that will cause the application to crash and will then start executing code. Typically, it is the smaller companies that get hit this way,
Hackers can remotely scan servers to determine vulnerabilities within that system. Once they find a vulnerability, they exploit it by sending a command or data to the server that will cause the application to crash and will then start executing code.
Hackers can invade a system by exploiting an open wireless network, or one with easy security. They can literally sit outside a business firm’s physical location and get into the system through the unsecured or poorly secured Wi-Fi. knows all too well about these dangers.
Hackers can invade a system by exploiting an open wireless network, or one with easy security. They can literally sit outside a business firm’s physical location and get into the system through the unsecured or poorly secured Wi-Fi.
Stolen Credentials from Third-Party Sites
Some cyber spies like to troll for victims on third-party sites, like LinkedIn. When they find someone working for a company they want to infiltrate, they attempt to hack into the third-party website and steal the employee’s credentials. Since some people tend use the same username and password for both work and other websites, the hacker can now log onto the company website and compromise the system.
This is why IT security experts recommend using different user names and passwords for different websites.
Compromising Web-Based Databases
When a person enters information on a website, like an email or credit card, it gets stored in that company’s data base. Those web-based forms are a simple tool for users, but they are also another way hacker can exploit a company’s system. Instead of inputting a name into the website, cyber spies can put in a specially crafted text that may cause the database to execute the code instead of simply storing it.
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