Online Hacks Are Inevitable, So Why Aren’t We Better Protecting Our Data?

According to data from IBM, the total number of cyber attacks in 2021 went up by 27% compared to 2020. The cost of cyber attacks within companies and organizations is severe, so why aren’t we better protecting our data?

Take, for example, the Twitter hack that occurred in July 2020. Hackers were able to compromise login credentials for some of the most influential users on Twitter including Elon Musk and Barack Obama. After gaining control of the accounts, they began drafting and posting fake tweets that asked followers to send Bitcoin to an anonymous URL in order to get the amount sent doubled. As the tweets were coming from verified accounts, many Twitter users were under the impression that the request was legitimate. The hackers were able to access the Twitter login credentials using “vishing,” a term used when hackers make phone calls disguised as reputable sources to obtain information for individuals or organizations. In this case, they were able to obtain login credentials for many high profile celebrities and world leaders. As a result of poor data security measures, hackers were able to get away with securing important Twitter user information. 

We’ve also experienced a record-breaking year when it comes to zero-day hacking attacks. Zero-day attacks occur when a hacker launches a cyberattack on a previously unknown vulnerability. Sophisticated hackers possess the tools needed to aggressively attack and exploit a vulnerability in an app or software which leaves very little opportunity for detection when first executed. 

Cybersecurity hacks are on the rise and getting more sophisticated, appearing to be legitimate data requests but oftentimes our data protection strategies do not go far enough. So the question is, what is keeping larger companies and organizations from putting a greater emphasis on data security and what does the “ideal” security protocol look like? 

What Does Data Protection Look Like Today? 

Despite the damage caused by hackers and cybersecurity attacks, many companies today are operating without basic cybersecurity protocols in place, leaving their data and their employees in an extremely vulnerable position. Many organizations have adopted an “it’s good enough” mindset when it comes to protecting data. Rather than trying to improve strategies, they are running old operating systems and trying to secure them using the cheapest approach which usually meets the bare minimum in terms of industry standard requirements. 

For those that are taking initiatives to protect data, the challenge is that these practices are not extensive enough. Most cybersecurity methods are reactive, they work to identify the hacker and the stolen data after the hack has been completed rather than protecting the data from the start. Protocols are in place to attempt to keep hackers out but once they are in, an endless amount of data is available for them to access. 

For example, the average consumer houses all of their personal information on their cell phone. Apps are available for banking, shopping, and even storing of medical records. If a hacker gains access to a mobile device, they have a variety of different passwords available at their fingertips. Recently, Squid Game apps have been popping up on the Google Play store but when downloaded, these apps infect users’ devices with Joker malware allowing hackers to sign the user up for premium services they can profit from. App developers need a better system for data protection for all applications to protect the app user’s internal data. 

What Does Data Protection Need to Look Like in the Future? 

Many current cybersecurity organizations offer data backup and recovery as a reactive strategy when information is compromised. Measures are implemented to protect data within the internal networks but there is no method in place for protecting data in transit. If an Apple ID and password is compromised, the data within the account is compromised as well. 

An ideal data security solution takes a proactive approach to cybersecurity. The data protection solutions in place should not impact the customer experience, they should be seamless and secure while protecting data from its inception all the way through to the intended recipient. This approach to cybersecurity fills holes in most current approaches by securing data at the application level. When data is transferred, it should be verified at each endpoint in the connection and should remain secure while inside the application. Cyber protection protocols that generate random strings of values to replace data are the future of cybersecurity. In the event that data is compromised, the data secured by the hacker will be useless to them as it is coded and protected. This approach to security adds an additional layer beyond keeping hackers out, it protects the data within adding the protection needed to put an end to zero-day attacks. 

Barriers to Adoption

Why aren’t app developers and large organizations implementing proactive and secure data protection protocols? One major barrier to adoption is budget. Companies are cautious of the ways allocated budgets are spent and cybersecurity is not at the top of the list. Companies and app developers also struggle to find a solution that is plug and play and does not impact the consumer experience. With a heavy focus on reacting to cybersecurity attacks after they’ve already happened and keeping hackers out rather than focusing on the data within, developers and organizations are not focusing on safeguarding data at the user level. 

With more transactions and exchanges happening online than ever before, cyber attacks are inevitable and will continue to increase. App developers and organizations need to take a step back and make proper cybersecurity practices a priority. New technology developments will continue to provide application level security, protecting data from man-in-the-middle attacks and keeping data secure from inception rather than reacting to attacks after they have already been executed.

To learn how Eclypses MTE technology can strengthen your security, contact us here.