Today’s Hackers Are Way More Sophisticated Than You Think

Guest author Lance Cottrell is the chief scientist at Ntrepid.

While the modern always-on, data-fueled environment spells opportunity for the enterprise, it also makes an attractive target for hackers. And the proliferation of such environments has turned hacking into a profession.

Today’s serious hackers are no longer attention-seeking geeks trying to make a statement—instead, they’re calculated criminals focused on acquiring information in a data-laden marketplace.

What does this mean to the technology user? Hackers have a growing and constantly evolving arsenal of attack methods, putting everyone with a connection to the Internet at risk. Everyone has something that hackers are interested in, whether bank account information, personal identification or credentials into corporate email accounts.

Users need to evolve in step. Malware and antivirus tools alone are not the solution. Organizations need to embrace robust ways of dealing with security breaches that can minimize their impact. In practice, this means automating rapid recovery of the IT infrastructure to a known good state.

Defining Today’s Hacker

Today’s breed of hacker did not just appear. Instead, the skilled professionals behind the latest security threats are the result of long-term evolution. When most people think about hackers and security, they are clinging to an outdated vision.

Hackers are now part of a highly specialized and distributed criminal ecology. The most basic layer is filled with individuals focused on finding exploits in software. Instead of using the exploits, these professionals often sell discoveries to groups specializing in packaging exploits and running them through botnets. Those individuals, in turn, rent their botnets to anyone who aims to gain unauthorized access to other computer systems.

See also: How To Build A Botnet In 15 Minutes

Bottom line, hacking is no longer about bragging rights. While less sophisticated hacktivists still exist, today’s new hackers are doing this for money—and so aren’t talking about their exploits.

It’s hard to tie an accurate dollar amount to the costs associated with hacking. However, the sophistication of today’s hacker is quite clear in the Ponemon Cost of Cyber Crime Study, which shows a 20 percent increase in successful attack rates year over year, even as organizations continue to invest in security tools.

How Do They Do It?

Part of hackers’ growing sophistication is a direct result of the vast number of attack methodologies at their disposal. They can pick and choose among denial of service attacks, viruses, worms, trojans, malicious code, phishing, malware, botnets and ransomware, any of — For more information read the original article here.      

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