From multimillion dollar companies as Uber to smaller local businesses, the nature of certain attacks conceals the fact that the form, scale, and intent of attacks tend to vary and differ. Not only do the attacks vary on size and scale, many hacking organizations and corporations also vary of every size and stripe fluctuate in every corner of the globe, whether private organizations or public corporations. To name a few, many universities and colleges have fallen prey to costly ransomware attacks, including attacks on tuition funds or even in the admissions office of few colleges throughout the globe. Many personal savings accounts have been attacked on banks in Italy, Canada, and Bangladesh. Not only have private institutions gone through havoc, yet Russian hackers have even managed to hijack the 2016 federal election, according to several rumors and arguments. Many of these attacks and threats are surprisingly tremendously easy to construct and deploy. Phishing, for example, requires only a single distracted click on a link in an email or text. Once the automated malware has gained a toehold, systems and networks can be crippled in a matter of minutes.
Cyber Attacks by Shadow Brokers
For instance, the mysterious and inexplicable hacking organization known as the “Shadow Brokers” were first initiated in August of 2016, claiming to have ruptured through the spy tools of the elite NSA-linked operation known as the “Equation Group”. To prove the organization’s existence, the Shadow Brokers offered a sample of alleged stolen NSA data and attempted to auction off a bigger trove, following up on late November of 2016.
This April, though, marked the most impactful release of group yet. It included a trove of particularly significant alleged NSA tools, including a Windows exploit known as EternalBlue, which hackers have since used to infect targets in two high-profile ransomware attacks.
The identity of the Shadow Brokers is still unknown, but the leaks of group have revived debates about the danger of using bugs in commercial products for intelligence-gathering. Agencies keep these flaws to themselves, instead of notifying the company that makes the software so the vendor can patch the vulnerabilities and protect its customers. If these tools get out, they potentially endanger billions of software users.
Motives Behind Cyber Attacks
The crisis is as widespread as it is confounding to combat. Perpetrators not only employ an ever-expanding suite of tools and tactics, and target bounties ranging from consumer data to proprietary assets, but they are driven by mercurial motives. Some hackers espouse anti-corporatist ideologies, some are astutely transactional, and others still – Anonymous for example – are first and foremost retaliatory. Add to these slippery intentions a lack of territorial affiliation, and one can see how present-day cyber-foes are diabolically tricky to identify, much less apprehend and prosecute.
Summary and Further Notes
Moving forward, a chief concern must be not only how CFOs can participate in the design and implementation of cost-effective cyber-security systems and protocols, but more importantly how they can take the lead in fostering company-wide cultures of cyber-awareness, vigilance, and preparedness. Clearly cybersecurity is everybody’s problem. High time this truth was recognized starting with the executive suite on down.
By now you have a better understanding of what are cyber attacks and why cybersecurity is very important. The good news is that anyone regardless of their coding or technology background can pursue cybersecurity career. There are lots of online support communities for cybersecurity professionals. The only thing is that there are many job titles and career options available to cybersecurity candidates; therefore, it is advisable to consult with an IT career counselor to understand what career options best fits your skills. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.