If you think “cyber attack” only means “data theft,” think again. Your company should be prepared to defend itself against many different kinds of cyber attacks—and, honestly, these things are creepy enough to keep you awake at night:
- Data theft. Theft of data is, of course, a major concern. Boards should know which types of information could be valuable to an attacker—including personally identifiable information, intellectual property, customer lists, strategies, and M&A information—and how the company is protecting them.
- Denial of service. Hackers may launch a “denial of service” attack that stops your company from operating its business. Not only are these attacks on the rise, but early this year, the BBC was the victim of what is now suggested as the largest denial of service attack in history. Beyond the embarrassment, a DoS attack can be costly in terms of lost business. These attacks may be sponsored by a competitor or national government, or be launched by hackers seeking glory or even ransom.
- Ransoms. A new favourite attack is for hackers to infiltrate a system and install code that causes the business to grind to a halt. This can take the form of a DoS attack or the encryption of company data. The attackers then notify the victimised company that they will give back control of the business in exchange for a small fee, perhaps as little as $3,000. This isn’t very much money, but hackers can do this thousands of times a week and walk away with a big score.
- Zombification. Millions of computers across the world are, right now, serving as “zombies” or “bots” that hackers are using to launch other attacks, host stolen information, and otherwise support their illegal activities. An attacker may be using your company’s systems without your even knowing it, creating reputational risks even if they don’t or can’t steal data or deny service.
These four are just a handful of common attacks; new ones are being created every day. Check out this post to learn about questions you and your board should ask you CISO so they can keep vigilant on your behalf!
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