When the world became exposed to the novel coronavirus it changed everything. From social to business interaction, everything had to adapt to the new normal. With most companies opting to use remote working employees, it required the data used in our everyday interactions – business or otherwise – more important.
Since the data has moved online, it is now more accessible. The pandemic has forced employers to move online in a bid to conduct business. Yet, while safer than face-to-face contact, online remote work brings risks of its own, such as corporate account takeovers.
Account takeovers and how it works
Account fraud is a type of cyber attack, involving identity theft and fraud. The perpetrator gains unauthorized access to corporate (and personal) accounts by using stolen credentials. According to account takeover statistics, identity theft has been sharply on the rise.
By moving work online people and businesses risk their data becoming exposed. Emphasizing the way in which your personal details can influence access to accounts.
What Leads to Corporate Takeovers?
Corporate cyber hacking is a form of business identity theft where the perpetrator gains access to accounts by using employee credentials and passwords.
The following factors contribute to this cybercrime:
1. New scams and techniques:
People have become wise to the typical scams and techniques, such as spam phone calls, email links, and dodgy invoices. To combat this, cybercriminals are constantly changing the tricks that they use. As a result, more people are being conned into divulging their private information.
2. Inexperienced workers:
A large majority of employees are now working from home. Most of the employees are not familiar with how the online platforms work. As a result, these employees usually pick a less secure password, making credential identification systems easier to hack. The accounts are simply not as secure as they should be.
3. Fluidity in Job Roles:
The economic impact of covid19 has led to many retrenchments. Many people have lost their jobs. As a result, there has been a reimagining of job roles within companies. With employees now expected to be more flexible, employees are now taking on new and different responsibilities.
As employees get used to their added responsibilities, they become vulnerable. These employees are unsure of their position and are more likely to fall for phishing schemes.
Businesses are in a rush to move their company online. They are implementing new policies and the use of new software in shorter periods of time. This leads to mistakes happening since these policies and systems are unfamiliar. Cybercriminals use the period in which adjustments are being made to strike: looking for weaknesses in the system to exploit before the system is in place.
5. The Strain on IT staff:
With the workforce increasingly using office systems, IT staff spend fewer efforts on cybersecurity as they help the new users to adjust. This is a perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to attack. IT workers have their attention divided in this change period. Cybercriminals use this period to strike as cybersecurity is not monitored as closely.
6. Exposed data:
Exposed data refers to information that is on unsecured databases. Data exposure occurs when data on publicly available databases is not secured. In the era of remote working, personal computers can typically be less secure than the office IT set up.
Manipulations used to commit account takeovers
During the pandemic, cyber theft has been on the rise. As most people work online hackers have used this period to target the most vulnerable people.
These hackers use the following tricks to get your information:
Social Engineering: Social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people. This usually leads to the disclosure of confidential information. The information that the hacker collected is then used to take over corporate accounts. Hackers use this information to access business, client, and personal accounts, leading to a data breach within the business or company.
Phishing schemes: Phishing schemes, such as phishing emails are online scams where cybercriminals impersonate organizations. These can happen, for example, through emails, text messages, and advertisements.
The different types of phishing schemes are as follows:
- Spear phishing campaigns. These are when specific individuals are targeted to gain access to their accounts. The messages and correspondence are catered specifically to the victim in the hoping of tricking them.
- Password spraying is when cyber criminals gain access to accounts by using common passwords. This is why it is advisable to not use common passwords.
- Credential stuffing is when accounts are accessed by using stolen account credentials.
Preventing and protecting employees from corporate takeovers
Preventing cyber takeovers requires you to do the following:
- Mitigate dangerous employee behavior: identify employees you think could be at risk, such as people not used to working with online databases remotely. Then educate these employees to mitigate the risk they represent: for example, have training on how to detect suspicious calls or emails; how to use competently publicly available databases to lookup the doubtful contact numbers or users before they commit some action.
- Ensure that a multi-factor authentication system is being used, especially with high-value targets. That way data breaches are less likely to occur as there is more than just one wall of security in place.
- Passwords such as “1-2-3-4-5” should be avoided at all costs. This way remote employees will be less likely to experience password spraying.
- Adopt context as the new parameter. In traditional network security protocols, non-authorized users would be isolated from the cloud when there was a security issue. It’s now more ideal to bring more context to bear on the problem finding, which is more suited to the modern computing environment.
Legal ramifications of account takeovers
The perpetrators of corporate account hacking face serious consequences for their crimes. According to the Consumer Protection Act, you could face both a heavy penalty and jail time. This is because hacking of corporate accounts is equal to identity theft and fraud. Therefore, the punishment for corporate account fraud needs to be just as harsh.
Ultimately, you should by all means avoid getting your data breached, and without proper security, this is exactly what is at risk. The exposure of data, loss of privacy, and commission of cyber fraud are increasingly more likely with remote working. Thankfully, following the measures outlined in this article can go a long way in preventing account takeovers.
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