Data security

Cybercriminals, Hackers, and the Damage They Can Cause


There are a few things to know about the cyber world. It is within your best interest to keep yourself updated so that you know what to do if a breach was ever to happen, but also the best methods in how to avoid them.

The below guide can help fill in any gaps.

What is a Cybercriminal?

Cybercriminals hack for monetary gain. Their goal is to either extort money directly or to sell personal information on for a profit. They are also known as “black hat hackers” and once called “crackers.”

Usually, they will hold something at ransom, be it sensitive data or locking down your computer or laptop. They will only return what is stolen once you have paid – or that is the theory, anyway. There is no guarantee that you will get the data back at all, so be wary of this.

What is a Hacker?

Not all hackers are criminals. Some are known as “white hat hackers,” and some use their talents to test the defenses of companies and governments alike. They are hired for the strict purpose to weed out weakness so that the company in question can adequately protect their systems and data. This can be a viable and prosperous career for many, as well as being an exciting job opportunity.

“Black hat” hackers, on the other hand, are cybercriminals, though if you come across a “black hat hacker” convention, it is most likely white hat hackers learning about the newest trends and methods of criminals to help in their own careers. You need to avoid such hackers and if one is to cause you havoc, get the law involved.

What is a “Hacktivist”?

One of the most famous “hacktivist” groups is Anonymous. Like all vigilante justice, their work can be good and bad. Groups like this have in the past leaked out personal information of citizens because they did not agree with a new policy change made by a company.

The Damage That These Criminals Can Cause Your Company

Unless you have specifically hired a professional security analyst, you do not want a data breach of any kind to happen to your company. If you are a business, such a breach can cause issues to your company’s brand as well as finances. You can risk losing a good name and also a profit as you pay for the damages in losing your clients’ data. This cannot happen, and usually, it will bring your business hefty fines. For personal reasons, though, if a hacker was to get hold of your personal information such as card numbers, this can cause you to lose money. You will want to cancel any cards as soon as possible, as well as contact your bank.

If a cybercriminal were to get into your system, either through malware, ransomware or through a weakness in one of your endpoint connections, you could risk:

1. Monetary Theft

One of the biggest issues with hacking is when payment details are stolen. Ticketmaster and British Airways alike have been victim to this, and hundreds of thousands of people around the world have had their credit card numbers, expiry date, and CVV codes stolen.

2. Ransomed Data

What is ransomware virus? In essence, it is malware that is downloaded to your system. It will hijack your company’s data and make it impossible to work. The hacker will then contact you and you will need to pay their demands, or else risk having your entire company deleted in an instant.

3. Leaked Information

Leaked information that is later sold on is not the only leak you have to worry about. In some cases your sensitive data might be published online, in others, you could suffer like how MyHeritagedid when over 92 million records (including passwords) were published online.

4. Total Deletion

Sometimes, hackers have no interest in squeezing money out of your data or your bank account. In some cases, they might just entirely eradicate your data – a possibility that can occur if they gain access to your cloud account.

Every company, person, and even the government is at risk of a breach. The cause of the breach might not be immediately obvious, either, like when 4000 governmental websites were hacked for their CPU power to be mined for cryptocurrency. It is up to you to learn more about the threat, invest in protecting against it, train your employees and even your users on how to stay safer online.

If you have any questions, please ask below!