Cyber Security Threats Posed by International Cyber Criminals


International Cyber Criminal Threats to be Aware of

A host of emergent and dynamic cybersecurity threats, mostly initiated by international cybercriminals, have the ICT and digitization fields on high alert. Progressive, high-tech, and multifaceted cyber-attacks involve phishing, malware, Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and more. These cybersecurity threats pose a constant risk to data and infrastructural assets of many organizations.

Due to the considerable concern surrounding cyberespionage and cyberwarfare, a host of countries and corporations have set up dedicated security agencies to improve their ability to investigate global cybercrime.

A study by Information Security Forum warns that cyber threats have enhanced potential for:

  • Distortion – International cybercriminals can spread misinformation through automated sources and bots, compromising public trust in information integrity.
  • Disruption – Over-dependence on fragile cyberspace connectivity creates possibilities for a premeditated internet outage, and this downtime can affect global trade—while cybercriminals can deploy ransomware intending to hijack IoT devices.
  • Deterioration – The rapid developments in ICT, together with conflicting demands from changing individual privacy and national security regulations, adversely affect an organization’s ability to manage their data.

With the damage caused by cyber-attacks projected to surpass $6 trillion by 2021, here are some of the critical cyber security threats posed by international cybercriminals.

Sophisticated Phishing Attacks

Phishing involves an exercise where criminals transmit carefully designed and targeted messages to deceive victims into clicking links that expose sensitive personal data, or else, install malware. These phishing attacks are fast becoming increasingly sophisticated now that most people know more about this security risk.

Hackers are now using unique machine learning technologies to efficiently create and share more convincing false messages to compromise government and organization systems and networks. Through these attacks, hackers can steal critical personal information, including user logins, credit card details, and thus successfully gain entry into private databases.

State-Sponsored Cyber Threats

Besides hackers seeking to earn money from stealing corporate data, entire countries are now leveraging cyber skills and knowledge to attack other governments and disrupt critical infrastructure. According to a Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, over 95% of data breaches related to espionage involved state-sponsored bad actors.

Most of these attacks target both government-run infrastructure and private sector companies that offer high potential for settling international geopolitical grievances. These attacks have proven to be a relatively low risk and high reward strategy of carrying out military operations and espionage. Moreover, the likelihood of clearly attributing these cyber-attacks back to specific countries with enough proof is slim.

Targeted IoT Attacks

IoT has slowly permeated most parts of modern life like healthcare, business, and education, particularly in product development, marketing, and data storage. However, IoT is under increasingly efficient, effective, and sophisticated cyber-attacks.

An F-Secure Report noted a 300% increase in IoT attacks in 2019

The highly connected nature of the Internet of Things means greater information security risk, with IoT networks being more susceptible to cyber infections and invasions by criminals. Once the bad actors control IoT devices, they can create havoc by overloading systems or locking down critical equipment for monetary gain.

Physical Cyber-attacks

The same advanced technology that has supported digitization and modernization of critical infrastructure also carries considerable information security risks. For instance, there’s increasing cyber security threats involving the targeting of transportation systems, electrical grids, and water treatment centers, representing a significant vulnerability. America’s billion-dollar high-tech military systems are also in danger of physical cyber-attacks.

Besides using technology to hack into government and private sector entities, hackers are also using human psychology to target people. Using various media tools, from phone calls to social media, international attackers use social engineering methods to trick unsuspecting people into helping them access sensitive information.

The Risk from Contractors, Partners, and Vendors

Third parties, including contractors and vendors, pose a massive risk to organizations and government/public sector agencies since most do not have secure or dedicated systems for managing their supply chain. A study on the security risk associated with using third-party vendors found that most data breaches involved third party companies. At the same time, only 51% of organizations had robust information security standards for those vendors.

How SCA Can Help You Mitigate Cyber Security Threats Posed by International Cyber Criminals

Critical information security services like risk assessments and penetration testing  are essential to avoid the expensive costs relating to managing cyber security attacks. SCA will implement these tools to help ensure your security systems are always up to date given upcoming threats. Reach out to SCA for a no-cost consultation and learn how you can effectively deal with cyber threats. Browse our Breach notification Guide to learn how to maintain your company’s information security compliance and protect your critical assets. Call us at (727) 571-1141 today!