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Simplified Cyberattacks Fuel Rise in High-Profile Incidents

Taylor Maguire
March 11, 2024
Learn more about the recent increase in cyberattacks and how businesses can protect themselves.
Simplified Cyberattacks Fuel Rise in High-Profile Incidents

So far this year, we’ve witnessed several concerning high-profile cyber incidents.

In January, Global Affairs Canada experienced a system compromise in a data breach, followed by a cyberattack targeting the RCMP in February. More recently, Canada’s financial intelligence unit (FINTRAC) faced a cyber incident this month.

However, criminals aren’t solely focused on high-profile targets; they are indiscriminate in their attacks. Some other recent incidents include:

  • Late last year, KPMG conducted a survey revealing that over half of the businesses surveyed in British Columbia (approximately 700 SMBs) had fallen victim to a cyberattack within the year.
  • Last October, a cyberattack resulted in the shutdown of the Toronto Public Library’s website, potentially exposing sensitive employee information.
  • In January of this year, the Toronto Zoo reported a ransomware attack resulting in the theft of personal information belonging to its current, former, and retired employees.
  • This February, the City of Hamilton experienced a ransomware attack, leading to the shutdown of almost all city phone lines, paralyzing their city council, and impacting dozens of city services.

Why the sudden rise in cyber incidents?

It's anticipated that we will witness a surge in cyberattacks as our society becomes increasingly reliant on technology. With the widespread use of technology for communication, data storage, work assistance, financial transactions, entertainment, and more, it has become an indispensable tool in our daily lives. As a result, the technologies we rely on have become prime targets for cybercriminals seeking to profit or obtain data for malicious purposes.

Additionally, committing cyberattacks has become more accessible for criminals. The affordability of tools for executing illicit activities, combined with organizations' inadequate cyber defenses, has contributed to successful attacks.

Moreover, advancements in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have made it even easier for hackers to carry out attacks. Tactics like crafting a phishing email or creating a fake story previously required significant effort, but now, AI tools like ChatGPT have simplified the process for them. Plus, there are malicious AI tools available that can generate malicious code, further streamlining the creation of viruses.

As a business what can you do about this?

The main thing any business can do to prevent a cyber incident from happening to them would be to have a strong cybersecurity stance in place. Having a strong cybersecurity stance involves a combination of various strategies, practices, and technologies aimed at protecting an organization's digital assets from cyber threats.

Here are some key components:

  • Risk Assessment: Conducting regular risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and threats to the organization's digital infrastructure.
  • Policies and Procedures: Establishing clear cybersecurity policies and procedures outlining best practices for employees, contractors, and partners regarding data protection, password management, use of company devices, etc.
  • Employee Training: Providing comprehensive cybersecurity training to employees to raise awareness about common threats like phishing attacks, social engineering, and malware, and to educate them on how to recognize and respond to these threats.
  • Access Control: Implementing robust access control measures to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive data and systems. This may include multi-factor authentication, least privilege access, and regular access reviews.
  • Patch Management: Maintaining up-to-date software and system patches to address known vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of exploitation by cyber attackers.
  • Network Security: Deploying firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and other network security measures to monitor and protect the organization's network infrastructure from unauthorized access and malicious activities.
  • Incident Response Plan: Developing and regularly testing an incident response plan to effectively respond to and mitigate the impact of cybersecurity incidents when they occur.

These components merely scratch the surface of what's entailed in establishing a robust cybersecurity posture. Given the wealth of information and strategies involved, it's understandable that it can feel overwhelming. However, it doesn't have to be daunting.

Empyrion Technologies offers invaluable assistance in navigating your IT challenges and fortifying your cybersecurity stance. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping your organization achieve its IT objectives while alleviating the associated stresses.

Our primary goal is to handle your IT issues for you, so you can refocus on your business's core tasks.

Find out more about how we can help you achieve a strong cybersecurity stance.

Book A Discovery Call Today!

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