How Cyber Attacks Can Cripple Economy’s From the Outside

Mar 08, 2016 • Business, Data
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As technology advances and systems become increasingly automated, the threat of cyber attacks becomes ever more serious. This is equally true for governments, large corporations and even smaller businesses. While hackers and cyber criminals have been around since the birth of the internet, society’s increasing dependence on technology has raised the stakes.

The potential dangers of cyber attacks

In the past, a nation’s security depended on physically securing borders, buildings and people. This type of security, which can be accomplished with gates, walls, locks and armed soldiers or security personnel, is still important. However, as more and more systems are run by software, it is now more tempting to attack a nation via cyber attack than by traditional means.

A cyber attack by a terrorist group or foreign government could now pose a serious threat to a nation’s infrastructure. This includes public and private utilities, transportation and financial institutions. A cyber attack requires a certain amount of sophistication. Yet, compared to a traditional type of attack, it requires a relatively low budget and only a small number of people. Even a single person with ill intentions can theoretically wreak havoc on an economy today. A determined group can be even more deadly.

What businesses can do to prevent cyber attacks

The average business or IT professional is not in a position to safeguard national security. However, the same principles apply on a smaller scale. Hackers and cyber criminals commonly target eCommerce sites, WordPress blogs and any type of business that handles financial transactions.

Customers and even people who log into your website to seek information have a right to expect a certain level of security. At the very least, they should be able to avoid having their financial data or identities stolen. That’s why it’s so important for business owners and IT professionals to take every possible precaution to prevent such problems. The following are some precautions that should be taken.

  • Train employees on the importance of cyber security. Many security breaches are the result of careless actions by employees, such as using weak passwords or clicking on phishing links sent in emails.
  • Use an effective network monitoring system. This is software that monitors your system around the clock and will instantly detect any irregularity. There are free network monitoring solutions that can be quite effective (see a list here). In addition to spotting security threats, this type of system will alert you in case your system is overloaded or about to crash for any reason.
  • Keep your software and technology updated. When you use out-of-date technology, it’s far easier for someone to break into your network. This includes operating systems, web browsers, firewalls and any software your business uses. Don’t neglect to update everything as often as possible.

The future of cyber attacks and network security

Many of the conflicts of the future are likely to be technological in nature. Governments and industry leaders will have to invest more and more resources into developing effective measures to stop cyber criminals, terrorists and others who could do serious damage to the nation’s infrastructure. In the future, security experts may develop more effective security measures. At the same time, hackers and cyber criminals are also likely to get even more sophisticated.

Those who are responsible for maintaining the security of smaller businesses and websites also have a part to play in this scenario. You can prevent many attacks by taking some common sense steps, such as keeping your systems updated and making employees aware of the many ways cyber attacks can occur. There’s no way to be completely safe from cyber attacks. You can, however, at least make yourself a difficult target.

Alex Espenson

Alex Espenson is a technology writer with a passion for home automation, tech security, and wearable smart devices.

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