Spade Technology: Blog

Cyber Attacks and Modern Technology: Today’s Biggest Threats

We love our mobile phones and modern technology. So do hackers looking to initiate cyber attacks. Learn what to watch for and how to better protect yourself.  

It is hard to think of a more exciting time in technology. We are beginning to see the promise of AI come to fruition in everything from revolutionizing business processes to helping us order food online. Mobile phones, video, and social media allow people to make connections that would have been difficult even ten years ago. It seems that there is practically nowhere around the globe where we cannot reach out to someone.

And that is part of the problem. Bad actors look to exploit the same devices and software that we rely on in our daily lives. They are looking for every advantage they can find to launch a cyber attack. Hackers are using lax security protocols and mental lapses when it comes to protecting sensitive information.

Where Are We Going Wrong in Protecting Ourselves?

That is a question with a lot of different answers. Let’s start with how we manage our passwords. A study of user password habits conducted by Virginia Tech computer science researchers showed that 38 percent of people use the same password across multiple sites. Facebook was recently in the news for mistakenly stored use passwords in text files that were viewable by their employees.

The company made reassurances that their employees did not take advantage of any of their users and improperly use any passwords. But imagine if they had? If you use the same password for both your Facebook and bank account login, that would have made it much simpler to hack that bank account and access your funds.

What Are Some Other Common Password Mistakes?

Twenty-one percent of online users only made slight modifications to existing passwords when signing up for new services. Here are some other common mistakes made when it comes to handling passwords.

  • Password Walking — Creating passwords from letters that are closest together on the keyboard
  • Overly Used Terms — Many people love creating passwords from the word “love” and various expletives
  • Pop Culture Terms — It is a good idea to stop using the names of Avenger members or other famous figures as the basis of your password
  • Favorite Sports Teams — There is no need to show your devotion to your favorite team by making it part of your password.

Incredibly, quite a few people STILL keep the same password after being warned that hackers might have stolen it. Did you bother to change your Facebook password after reading the recent news?

Does Our Mobile Phone Usage Leave Us Vulnerable?

Yes, yes, and yes. Just ask Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Our phones provide attackers with the ability to find out everything about us. They can track our movements, find out what we like to eat, and how we spend our spare time. That is because most mobile users leave their phones connected to the internet 24/7. Many smartphones come with pre-installed applications with tracking capabilities of which we may not be aware.

Most of us do not have the visibility of a Jeff Bezos, but that does not mean that hackers would not see us as valuable targets. Some ways we could do a better job preventing this from happening include:

  • Keeping passwords updated and not relying on the same one for every application
  • Making sure we install recommended security patches from phone vendors
  • Being careful about lending our phone to anyone
  • Not letting anyone have the passcode to our phone
  • Using two-factor authentication to make it harder for outsiders to break into our phone
  • Avoid clicks on random links in texts, emails, and message apps
  • Installing a trustworthy antivirus application on your phone

Are IoT Devices at Risk for Cyber Attacks?

IoT devices can be just as vulnerable as cell phones and computers to a cyber attack. The networks they use may not be secure or, again, protected with poorly constructed passwords. Here are a few other things that make IoT devices vulnerable.

  1. Poor construction — Developers can neglect important issues like web security, checks for vulnerable points in APIs, or securing mobile interfaces in their rush to get a device to market.
  2. Lack of secure updates — A device may not have a prebuilt method of securely delivering updates to a device without leaving it open to attack.
  3. No privacy protection — Quite a few devices on the market will store a user’s information even without explicit permission.
  4. Unsecured network services — Many devices have services running on the devices that have no security protocols around them.

What Else Makes Us Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks?

There is a lot to be said for the advancements of modern technology. 5G and 6G wireless have the potential to provide high-speed internet access to rural areas in the U.S. and around the world. But providers must still overcome some genuine security issues or risk introducing a new set of problems to overcome.

Security around AI should be the next big area of concern. Most data scientists have not concerned themselves with potential cyber attacks as they expand the capabilities of machine learning to build more advanced AI technology. There should be more effort made to protect the data and AI models used for creating new infrastructure.

Spade Technology makes security a top priority in the services provided to our clients. We understand that even smaller businesses can become targets for a cyber attack. Our team works hard to always use best practices when it comes to protecting information managed by our clients.

Call Spade Technology at (503) 339-5163 to learn more. You can also schedule a complimentary consultation using our online form.