How Easy is it to Get Hacked?

Contrary to what the movies would have you believe, hacking is not done as you chase virtual rabbits across a screen through a graphic interface.

Nor is it something you can simply defend yourself from with a piece of software that comes with your computer.

You can be fully compliant with PCI DSS, EI3PA, and employ the latest known security tactics, but how easy will it be for someone to break through that security?

Are You At Risk?

A few years back, The National Cyber Security Alliance estimated the odds of any small being hacked in a year are about 20%.

That means if you run a small business, and four of your friends also have small businesses, one of you is statically likely to be hacked in the next 12 months.

In Britain, in 2014, there were 2.5 million reported cybercrimes.

That adds up to about 10% of the population being hit in a 12 month period.

Noted accounting firm KPMG, however, believes that because so few of these crimes are actually reported, the statistics are in reality much higher.

They place the odds closer to 1 in 3 of being hacked on an annual basis.

So why are so many organizations vulnerable to hacks?

1. Weak Passwords

One of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to secure accounts is through cracking a password.

Because it’s so hard to remember different passwords for different accounts, many people use the same password for almost all their accounts.

So, if a hacker gets access to one, the hacker has access to them all.

It comes down to a numbers game for hackers.

A simple five-character password such as 12345, or even a basic word can be cracked in under 10 seconds, just by trying combinations and common passwords.

A seven-character password, meanwhile, takes an entire day to get through.

Jumping to nine characters means it takes about a week to crack, but a ten-character password will take several months to get through.

If you really want to be secure, adding just two more characters to your password will make it so difficult that a hacker will take nearly 200 years to crack into it.

Now these numbers are, of course, an average.

The list of the top 10, most commonly used passwords does contain some nine, and ten character passwords, but any reasonable hacker will try them first and get into your account.

These top 10 passwords are:

  • 123456
  • 123456789
  • qwerty
  • 12345678
  • 111111
  • 1234567890
  • 1234567
  • password
  • 123123
  • 987654321

If you’re using one of these passwords yourself, it’s time to change to something more secure.

2. Viruses

Viruses are not as common as they used to be but are still prevalent.

While we no longer live in a world where one emailed virus goes viral seemingly every six months disabling major networks, they are a threat.

According to the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, 16 million American households have experienced a viral infection on one of their machines at some point over the last two years.

That same study found that 95% of American households said they use antivirus software.

But with an estimated 126 million American households in existence, 16 million is actually closer to 13% of the total.

What this means is that people who use antiviruses are sometimes still vulnerable – that, or they were lying about using an antivirus.

Modern antivirus software, along with automatic account lockouts after two or three wrong passwords are responsible for much of the decline in popularity in viruses, but occasionally, a new powerful one proves effective and sneaks through.

3. Phishing

Part of the decline in viruses is due to the rise in phishing scams.

It’s now generally more profitable for a hacker to send out an email to an unsuspecting mark, telling them that they have either come into an inheritance, or are needed to help abandon an abandoned fortune, or pay a fee to accept an inheritance, or pay to help a Nigerian prince recover a fortune.

These are generally written in broken English, but people fall for them, and often wire thousands of dollars to the hacker/scammer.

Sometimes they come from fake email addresses that seem as if they are tied to legitimate clients, or businesses, until you read the actual email address.

For more on how to recognize a phishing scam, see one of our previous articles on the subject

Contact 1ST Secure IT

If that prediction from KPMG is accurate, you have a one in three chance of being hacked this year.

Spread that out over a long enough timeline, and you’ve got a 100% chance of being hacked sooner or later.

You don’t want that to happen.

1st Secure IT can help.

Call us today and speak with one of our experienced and knowledgeable IT security consultants.

They will take the time to better understand your business and your needs, and from there help you understand what you need to keep things running smoothly and, more importantly, securely.

Contact 1st Secure IT today and keep your business safe and secure in an uncertain digital world.

1st Secure IT

4613 N. University Drive #323
Coral Springs Florida
(866) 735-3369

Cyber Security Risk Management and Consulting Services | 1st Secure IT | When Compliance Is Not Enough

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Monday, 19 August 2019

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