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As User Habits Change, so do Attack Methodologies

Posted by Trevagh Stankard on Tue, Feb 16th, 2021

A new cyberattack methodology has been discovered due to the increase in the digital presence of people around the globe.

Whether we are discussing traditional warfare or cybersecurity strategies, there is a simple truth that is easy to comprehend.  As your attack surface expands, so does your vulnerability.   As a conquering army expands its empire, its supply lines quickly become elongated making them more susceptible to disruptive attacks.  As their borders vastly expand, they must in turn defend them, consuming soldiers and resources that used to be allocated to the front lines. 

It didn’t take long for this principle to become self evident throughout the cybersecurity community last year.  While it is easy to become absorbed in the underlying technical aspects concerning the surge in cyberattacks, it really comes down to two growing patterns for people everywhere.

  • More people transitioned to being online
  • Most people increased their digital presence online

With a greater number of people online than ever before and people spending more of their work and leisure time online than ever, cyberattacks have vastly increased.  While hackers and cybercriminals have certainly taken advantage of what has been referred to as “fearware”, the current state for which people are more susceptible to being scammed due to heightened fear of the global pandemic, there is another greater reality at play.  The everyday habits of people have greatly changed over the past ten months, and hackers have been quick to recognize these new behaviors and create cyberattack methodologies to exploit them.  That’s because hackers today simply bypass firewalls and protected network perimeters and hack humans through their basic understanding of human behavior and mindset.   Hackers don’t hack machines, they hack people.

Users Crave Digital Experiences

Over the past decade we have become an experience driven society.  People have chosen to spend their money on travel and leisure activities rather then buying things.  The quench to experience was not expunged by quarantines however.  There has been a significant increase in digital subscriptions to entertainment sites and news sources.  For instance, rather than go to a concert, music fans now seek out stream performances.  They subscribe to newsletters seeking new cooking techniques and recipes.  In order to feed this insatiable appetite, cybercriminals use spyware to discover a user’s online interests and then target them with emails containing appropriate digital content or subscription opportunities.  Fake newsletter attacks are a popular ploy for hackers. 

Users Share More than Ever

Because many people are unable to share in face-to-face interaction with friends and acquaintances over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, they now share more than ever on social media platforms.   Unfortunately, many people tend to share too much, providing breadcrumbs that identity thieves can piece together to crack passwords or answer security questions.  Due to the isolating nature of quarantines, people are also much more willing to connect with strangers over social media platforms, opening themselves to people of malicious intent.

Rapid Adaption to Virtual Meetings

Business relies on communication, so when employees were sent home, organizations had to find a way to continue personal interaction with a remote workforce. The overnight surge in virtual meetings has resulted in a plethora of increased vulnerabilities.  Due to the newness of these online meeting platforms, cybercriminals have been able capitalize on the confusion and uncertainty of how to operate and secure this technology.  The increased usage of the virtual meeting platform has resulted in a sharp demand for online presentation content and creation sites.  In response, hackers have uploaded many presentations to these sites containing malicious links and payloads, waiting for unsuspecting users to download them.

Increased Reliance on Passwords

The number of secure websites that users interact with has exploded in the past year.  This means that users are juggling more passwords than ever before . . . well maybe not.  Too often, users utilize the same password for multiple sites.  When one of these sites is compromised by a data breach, hackers can then test the stolen credentials on other sites through automated tools.

The Convergence of Work and Home

Through the implementation of remote work strategies, users can now work from wherever they may be, often utilizing public unsecure hotspots or consumer grade equipment that fails to meet even basic enterprise security standards.  In addition, personal digital content now becomes intertwined with the work environment, making work desktops more vulnerable to malware and other cyberattack avenues.


Security that Changes in Sync with Societal Changes

While online habits and user behaviors may have changed over the past year, the necessity for email and internet security filtering is needed more than ever.  Cloud based solutions such as SpamTitan and WebTitan offer highly scalable security protection to your users and devices regardless of location.   In order to adapt to new cyberattack methodologies, these advanced 5-star solutions have changed as well.  Find out how SpamTitan is protecting its customers through these fast changing times. 

Get in touch with us today to discover how TitanHQ can protect your organization and employees. Contact TitanHQ today.

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