Internet Security Tips

The Cyber Underworld: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Career

Estimated reading time: 21 minutes

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Career

Cybersecurity is more important than ever because Hackers are a real threat, and they don’t live in a scary dungeon. In fact, hackers can infiltrate your business from anywhere in the world. As a result, cybersecurity is one of the most important issues for businesses today. Criminals don’t just steal credit cards or identities anymore, they steal other people’s lives!

It starts with criminals combing through personal information to find an easy target, like somebody who doesn’t know what to do if their identity gets stolen or lost. A hacker will then play on that person’s fear and vulnerability to trick him or her into giving up personal information like credit card numbers and passwords so that the hacker can then steal money from their bank account and use it for illegal purposes.

People don’t have to be old or infirm to fall victim to a hacker attack. So if you work in any kind of business, such as restaurants, retail shops, accounting firms, and small businesses, today’s cyberattacks are like a time bomb ticking away. The explosions we’re experiencing today will get worse tomorrow because criminals are getting smarter and more sophisticated as they evolve from the past into the future.

And so now is your chance to learn about cybersecurity! You’ll learn about how criminals operate. You’ll unearth the real threat of cybercrime and discover how these criminals are manipulating and exploiting weaknesses in your company’s security to steal money. You’ll also learn what you should do right now to prevent cybercrime and keep your information safe from hackers.

Cybersecurity: What You Need To Know

“A hacker will then play on that person’s fear and vulnerability to trick him or her into giving up personal information like credit card numbers and passwords so that the hacker can then steal money from their bank account and use it for illegal purposes.

While some may see this as old news, the reality is that far too many businesses have been victims of cybercrime. And while most people think that hackers are a scary group of people with their heads down in a dungeon somewhere, what you really need to know is that there are hackers everywhere – online or off – and they’re all out there stealing information from you or your company.

The best way to prevent your information from being stolen is to understand what cybercriminals are trying to achieve when they attempt to gain access to it. Your awareness will help you spot potential dangers and protect yourself against them.

What Can Hackers Steal From Your Company?

When hackers steal information from businesses, they’re looking for the following:

• Credit card numbers

Credit card numbers

Personal or corporate credit card numbers are especially valuable to criminals because it makes it easier for them to make fraudulent purchases online. Chargers end up selling this information for drug trafficking and child pornography, and some even sell entire databases. The list of things that can be done with stolen credit card numbers is endless.

• Banking credentials

Banking credentials

When a hacker breaks into a company’s network, they often take advantage of the fact that most people don’t think about their passwords too carefully. Hackers will use this to gain access to a company’s online banking system. From there they can steal money from the account, change the balance into their own, and then spend it on whatever they like.

• Social security numbers

Social security numbers

Even when you think you’ve made sure that your company is secure, hackers often find a way to break in. They do this by stealing and then using personal information which is known as ‘social security numbers (SSN) or ‘copyright numbers’ (RFC) to create false identities on websites. For example, if hackers steal a person’s SSN to create an account on a social networking site, under that account they’ll be able to access the personal information in his or her inbox.

• Payment card details

Payment card details

Hackers can take your payment card details and use them to purchase items online. They know which carrier to use and are aware of any accepted payment methods for each retailer. They can also use the details of your card and the details of your bank account to transfer money out of your account, so they can then spend it however they want.

• Marketing codes

Marketing codes

Another way that hackers will get information on you is by breaking into your email or office mail system. They will try to get your marketing codes to create fake emails which they can send out and then gather information from your contacts. This is a way for them to steal information about you or your company and use it against you in the future so that you can never trust them again.

• Intellectual property

Marketing codes

The second most valuable thing that hackers will steal from businesses is their intellectual property. This refers to the processes, methods, or ideas that are kept confidential by the company. When hackers take this information for themselves, they can either sell it back to the company or publish it on websites without permission, as they know how valuable this type of information is – especially if no one has ever heard of it before.

• Personal information

Personal information

If all else fails, hackers will resort to stealing personal information like your name, address, and social security number. They might also set up an account in your name online and try to steal money from you or someone in your business. Your information can then be used for identity theft, which can lead to you not being able to do things with your credit cards or bank accounts – you won’t even know it’s happening until it’s too late.

• Agreement

If your company has signed an agreement that involves trade secrets or proprietary information you might be at risk of losing intellectual property when it comes to your trade secrets or design documents for products that you have developed yourself in-house.

• Confidential information

If a hacker has access to confidential information, they will use it to reduce your company’s credibility. For example, if an employee is found out to be stealing documents or ideas from the company, then that person can lose their job and possibly be asked to pay a large fine as well. This hopefully means that this type of behavior doesn’t happen again in the future as you might not want people in your business again if they can’t keep their mouth shut.

It’s important to be aware of what type of information hackers might steal from your company. This will help you spot any potentially damaging incidents as early as possible and also help you keep your business safe from any cybercriminals who might try to take advantage of what you already hold dear, information that could otherwise lose its value if published online.

How Do Hackers Steal Information?

Firstly, they’re going to try and steal your company’s information by attacking one of your employees. This could be through a phishing email that tricks him or her into clicking on a link which will allow hackers to take control of the computer. If they have access to this, then they can then steal anything they like from the system or worst-case scenario, delete it altogether.

Another way that hackers will take control of your business is if they have already gained access to a computer and want to take their attack further. They might get around this by using what’s known as ‘social engineering. This is when hackers manipulate your employees into giving up information that will allow them to make another attack.

They’ll also use employee mistakes as their way in. For example, if they know that an employee has entered the wrong password a good number of times, then they’ll attempt to log in as that person by pretending to be them. Sometimes, you can even be attacked in your own home. Hackers will send a phishing email from a seemingly genuine source and tempt you into clicking on a link which will then give them access to all of your personal details – especially if it’s someone you know well.

Types Of Cybercrimes

Cyber Security threats are categorized into new and old types. Old types of cyber security threats have existed for a decade or more while the new ones are still emerging and may present greater challenges in the future. Cyber Security is a worldwide concern, so it affects everyone on a global level. The following are the types of cyber security threats:

1. Scripts and Bots

Virtual security

Scripts and bots are the most commonly used covert methods employed by cybercriminals. Scripts and bots can be used to fool a website’s visitor to do things that they normally would not do. These kinds of attacks are dangerous, especially when they are executed on a big-name website or company like Facebook, Twitter or Google. Spammers use scripts to scan websites for email addresses, which are then harvested by a spam bot to use for sending spam emails.

2. Keylogger:

cyber defense

A keylogger is a computer program that records every single keystroke on a computer and sends them to a remote or local host for malicious purposes. Keyloggers are most commonly software programs installed locally on computers through malicious links or attachments in spam emails or infected websites. They can also be installed remotely by taking advantage of existing security loopholes. The most common type of keyloggers are spyware, which are installed through trojans and other malware.(Wikipedia)

3. Malware:

network security

Malware is software used to perform malicious or criminal actions against the computers or networks it infects. Malware can be software (e.g. Trojans, worms and virus) or malicious hardware (e.g. keyloggers, sniffers, spyware). Malicious software has been changing very quickly over the past few years. It is important to keep up with this fast pace of security threats because they can be difficult to stop.(Wikipedia)

4. Targeted Attacks

computer security
  • Spear phishing is a technique that involves sending specially crafted email messages to gain access to user’s account credentials and information.
  • Back door phishing is impersonating an official email to trick users into revealing their login password by posing as the authentic sender in a supposedly legitimate message, but it is in fact a fake or malicious message pretending to come from a trusted organization or someone they know. It uses misleading background information to trick people into believing the email originated from someone trustworthy (such as their own company).
  • Social Engineering is where the attackers are able to get unauthorized access by using social engineering techniques on employees, customers and business partners of the company they are attacking.

5. Denial-of-service attacks

 information technology
  • A denial-of-service is a cyber attack in which an attacker makes a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services of the target system and related services.
  • A DoS attack is an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users.
  • Technically, any service disruption is a DoS attack. However, in common terms, a DoS attack is often understood to only refer to large-scale and targeted disruptions of services, such as distributed denial-of-service attacks carried out by botnets.
  • In case of DDoS hitting several organizations it could be classified as cyberwarfare.
  • The perpetrator of the DOS may be seeking monetary compensation for the service interruption or may simply wish to disrupt business as usual for the victim organization or may be a cybercriminal who has some other motive for their actions.

6. Smartphone Theft

Protecting Data from cyber crimes
  • A theft of smartphone is when a person steals a phone from their owner, or buys the stolen phone from a thief or “fence” and then resells it to others.
  • Stolen phones can be sold to fences or to other buyers, typically criminals who will use them for fraudulent purposes.
  • This includes selling the device in local classified ads, online boards such as Craigslist, eBay, and Oodle Marketplace, as well as specialized marketplaces on the Dark Web where phones are traded anonymously using virtual currencies such as bitcoin.

7. Phishing scams

  • Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
  • Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.
  • Once the victim’s details have been entered they are often used for fraudulent purposes.
  • Phishing attacks usually target bank accounts such as online banking in which case the fraudster will attempt to steal money.
  • Phishing attacks may also target email accounts, social media accounts, or any other online accounts that hold sensitive information.

8. Corporation Theft

Internet crime
  • A corporation theft is the theft of stolen property from a company
  • This covers things like theft of intellectual property, software or hardware, client lists and other confidential information, as well as physical goods such as laptops or other office products.
  • It can be carried out by insiders or outsiders (or both), and often includes the use of corporate assets to further the criminals interests
  • In some cases this has led to insider fraud where employees systematically steal stock shares from their employer but then sell them on the outside market at a profit.
  • In some companies the company has a system in place for reporting theft or misconduct, and if caught, employees who steal corporate assets are usually terminated.
  • Logically, this could also cover internal theft from within the company, perhaps by an employee who steals hardware to use in their own illegal activities.

(The above is taken from Wikipedia Internet dictionaries

9. Brute Force Attacks (Knowledge-Based Authentication)

Electronic crime

Brute force attacks are a result of the growing use of the Internet and related cybercrimes, especially those using social-engineering techniques to gain access to a system. This type of attack is also known as an “brute force attack.” It is the explicit definition in order to breach password protection for access control or data encryption resources, where all possible combinations are systematically tried until the correct match is found.

10. Lateral movement:

  • It refers to any kind of computer attack that reaches the security perimeter of the victim’s system by going through a vulnerable web application.
  • Once the attacker has gained access to a system, they may attempt to move around in order to find data and devices of interest.

11. Vulnerability Scanning :

  • Vulnerability scanning is the process of actively searching for vulnerabilities in network resources. It can be used to help secure systems from malicious users, fraudsters, and attackers.
  • Vulnerability scans are typically done at regular intervals to identify known vulnerabilities in systems or applications. This helps to keep the system updated with any available patches, and helps ensure that the system remains safe from unauthorized access by unauthorized entities.
  • Server-based vulnerability scanners are available commercially, or may be open source/freely available like OpenVAS (an open source implementation of vulnerability scanning for servers) or Nessus (a commercial vulnerability scanner).

12. Worms

IT security
  • Worm is a self-propagating computer program that can spread from system to system without human intervention or knowledge
  • Worms use Internet Relay Chat and other software applications to find vulnerable computers to transmit themselves to with the aim of exploiting them (vulnerabilities)
  • Worms consist of several specific groups of software that can be used to repeatedly send copies of themselves to random computers around the world, or can spread to other computers once they have been uploaded and exploited
  • Worms are distinguished from viruses in that they do not require a host program (a program that runs on a computer) at all; they commonly spread by uploading themselves directly into a newsgroup message or other public Internet File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site.
  • Worms are organized into programs that attempt to download and run themselves automatically. If some antivirus or other security software prevents the software from running, then it may attempt to restart itself again at a later time.
  • Worms differ from operating system viruses in that worms do not require the computer’s OS to be infected in order to spread (e.g., through an infected file).

13. Rootkit:

computer safety
  • Rootkit is a type of malware installed on a computer system in order for hackers gaining access to it to have elevated privileges on the system without permission or detection by the user of the presence of such malware on their machine
  • A rootkit is a type of malicious software intended to be installed on the “rooting” or administrator account of a computer system, giving hackers behind it administrative control of any computer system running them
  • Rootkits are designed to hide the fact that they are installed on a particular computer system, which makes them particularly hard to detect.
  • The term “rootkit” comes from “root” meaning superuser or administrator, and refers to the capability that this malware gives its possessor.
  • Rootkits use techniques which are difficult to detect by standard antivirus software and other security measures, so they can remain active on an infected machine for extended periods of time before their presence is detected.
  • The vast majority of rootkits are used by malicious hackers to gain access to computers to steal information or cause problems for the victim, whether they be individuals or corporations.

14. Malicious Macro

  • A malicious macro is a computer code written in a macro language, which contains instructions intended to exploit weaknesses in the security mechanisms of an operating system, application, or other software running on it.
    • It is a type of worm that consists of active content whose payload is embedded as an executable module within a document file
    • Malicious macros are usually spread through spam e-mail messages with malicious attachments
    • These attachments are usually Office Documents (doc, ppt, xls etc.) with macros containing malicious scripts or Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
    • Any attacker who managed to get a malicious macro on your machine would be able to control the computer remotely, without your consent.

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Cyber Crimes?

The best thing that you can do to protect yourself against cybercrimes is to establish a safe environment. A safe environment means that there are no loopholes in your network security that could allow a hacker into your company.

If you’re unsure what these are, then you should speak with a professional network security advisor for some expert advice, which will help prevent an attack like this from happening. This might include installing more firewalls and anti-virus software and even hiring someone within your business as a security auditor to look at how prepared you currently are for any type of cyber attack.

Even if a hacker does get into your system, you need to make sure it’s as difficult as possible for them to get what they want from it. This means that you should have up-to-date backups in place. Not only will this allow you to get your business back on track when something goes wrong, but it will also allow you to see if a hacker has indeed tried to steal information from your company without anyone noticing.

Once you know what information a hacker is trying to steal, it then becomes easier for you to protect against future attacks. For example, you might decide not to use a particular type of software anymore if you know that it’s been a target in previous attacks.

You’ll also want to focus on monitoring your network and keeping track of all the information coming in and out of your system. This is something that can be done by using a security monitoring solution which will help you keep track of how your employees are using the network and if they’re doing anything suspicious.

If you plan on storing customer or client information, then it’s also important to go through your current security procedures and make sure that those who handle the data have been properly trained. This will help you to know if a hacker has managed to get into your network and is now searching for what they need. It’ll also help to reduce the chance of another attack in the future.


Finding out more and putting these things into place can put you in a better position to respond when a cyber-attack happens. As I mentioned before, businesses must be proactive when it comes to this type of threat and talk to their security advisors as soon as possible. You never know what information a hacker might get their hands on if you leave it too late. As the world becomes more connected, businesses must be aware of how to prevent cyber attacks from happening.

Armed with the knowledge and expertise needed to keep your business safe, you’ll be in a good position should an attack be successful. Even if it turns out that you were previously unaware of any potential threats, it doesn’t mean that you should sit back and do nothing. Taking action will help to ensure the continued success of your business and will also help to protect your customers from cybercriminals who might try to use their information against you.

“In the underworld, reality itself has elastic properties and is capable of being stretched into different definitions of the truth.” —Roderick Vincent

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