How Cybercrime Gets Monetized

Cybercrime has reached an all-time high as the digital age produces more technological advancements across every platform. Integrating workflow with these new technologies has granted cybercriminals the opportunity to formulate their own type of business: obtaining personal information and stealing various types of credentials.

As a result, cybersecurity companies have prioritized goals like email protection, data loss prevention, and other online and email safety measures. Although this has been an ongoing effort for decades, within the last year, over $13 billion has been utilized while combating cybercrime, and the number of active data breach has risen from 11% to 15%. 

Cyberattacks can damage organizations in various ways, through financial and productivity losses and damage to reputation, raising stakeholders’ concerns. Understanding the impact of a successful attack is critical so you can learn the best way to ensure cyber threat protection. This article will explore how cybercrime is monetized and the measures you can take to avoid being a victim.

What Are the Key Cyber and Email Security Risks Businesses Face? 

Phishing

Phishing typically takes the type of threat to business emails where a criminal impersonates a company or individual. Phishing email attacks seem very detailed and have a sense of urgency, encouraging victims to act quickly to avoid data loss. Any attachment or link within the email could have a virus, a spear phishing website, or offer a phone number where victims will have to fork over money or account credentials. Phishing campaigns hide in plain sight. Anyone can become a victim, making internet safety and email protection important to any business. 

Business Email Compromise 

Business Email Compromise (BEC) threats are similar to phishing email attacks in that they impersonate a high-ranking company member through an email in hopes of tricking a victim. BEC appears to be an internal email and can be very effective. If small indicators of compromise are overlooked, the victim’s job, the corporate ladder, and the business as a whole can be at risk.

Malware Ransomware

Malware consists of viruses that leak private information, gain unauthorized access to systems, or shut down a system entirely. A type of malware, ransomware, attacks deploy operations that lock down a system or specific files. The only way to retrieve the locked data is by paying a (usually) hefty ransom fee, and there is never a guarantee that the cybercriminal will return the data to you upon receiving the payment.

Viruses

Viruses can spread through opening spear phishing emails (a type of phishing attack where a link leads you to a malicious server), running an executable file posing to be a program, visiting an infected website with harmful popups, or utilizing an infected USB drive. These actions could trigger malware attacks, shutting down systems and stopping a business’ workflow.

What Are the Economic Drivers of Cybercrime?

Hacked Laptop. Cyber Security Virus Attack And BreachCybercrime continues to increase as time progresses, with threat types evolving as previously successful email attack types of the past become too easy to track down. The main motive for attacking is the predicted financial and economic outcomes of email security breaches.

Threat actors only become an issue as they continue to obtain valuable information following the basics, like a name and email address. Intel, such as a full name, email, home address, and financial information, can help a cybercriminal perform a perfect malware or phishing email attack. Compiling stolen data on employees or consumers can create a gap in a company's safety, allowing more significant attacks and their resulting setbacks. When threat actors do not have the means to attack themselves, they will sell the data to someone else who can, profiting from the trade and permitting cybercriminals to persist. 

There are many ways money is made from these types of email attacks. Online retail fraud uses stolen information to cause refund and gift card fraud. The SIM card in a phone can be swapped, allowing the cybercriminal to access mobile accounts. Tax returns and bank fraud are common tactics that utilize stolen information for financial gain. Personal information from compromised networks is sold to the highest bidder, often in the black market, or used to trigger attacks like malware ransomware. 

Tips & Best Practices to Protect Against Cyberattacks & Data Breaches

Cyber security systems for business networkTo avoid potential attacks and stay on top of cyber security, there are a few essential best practices for email security that users and companies should engage in. Most of these attacks revolve around the pitfalls of email and human error, as over 90% of cyberattacks begin with a phishing email, so ensuring proper email security is a must. Outsourcing email security adds a go-between, slowing down potential email threats. The more challenging it is to break through, the quicker it will deter malicious hackers. Once proper email security is established, a business can invest in employee education and general digital security practices. Here are some other methods to use: 

  • Use strong passwords: Implement robust password policies that require users to use unique, complex passwords and update them regularly. Encourage multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to avoid compromised email addresses.
  • Keep software up-to-date: Regularly update the operating system, installed applications, and email security software to fix vulnerabilities and prevent exploits. Ensure that anti-malware software is enabled and up-to-date.
  • Use firewalls: Enable the built-in firewall or install a third-party firewall to block unauthorized network access and prevent malware from spreading.
  • Practice safe browsing: Educate employees about the dangers of phishing campaigns and scams, malware, and other email threats. Encourage them to be cautious when opening attachments or clicking on email links. Use browser extensions, such as uBlock Origin or NoScript, to block unwanted scripts and advertisements that could be malicious.
  • Back up data regularly: Regularly back up important data to prevent data loss in an attack. Store backups off-site or use cloud-based backup solutions for data loss prevention, even if the primary location is compromised.
  • Monitor and respond to security incidents: Monitor email security logs and other security-related data to identify potential email threats. Develop an incident response plan that outlines steps to be taken during a security incident, such as email security breaches.

These best practices and appropriate cloud email security software can help reduce the risk of cyberattacks and data breach, protect sensitive data, and ensure the confidentiality and privacy of email communications.

Keep Learning About How Cybercrime Gets Monetized

The digital age continues to grow, and every advancement and change is a new tactic for cyber criminals to obtain personal information. This data can be stolen in numerous ways, including phishing, Business Email Compromise, malware or ransomware, and viruses. Stealing this information is helpful for monetary gain through frauds, scams, or selling data for a reward. Many email security best practices for staying safe include outsourcing email security to educate employees, keeping up with current trends, and staying aware of the changing landscape, all of which will go a long way to ensuring stability and safety. 

  • By following best practices for email security, you can improve your email posture to protect against phishing email attacks and email security breaches.
  • Adding comprehensive cloud email protection is the best way to apply a defense-in-depth approach to protecting against the most advanced persistent email threats.
  • Keeping the integrity of your email safe requires securing the cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
  • Get the latest updates on how to stay safe online.

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