How Hackers Use Employees to Access Your Network


Computer hackers are located throughout the entire world. Most hackers work around the clock looking for vulnerable systems. What exactly is a hacker’s goal? A computer hacker’s motivation varies. A common motive is holding sensitive data hostage or exploiting customer data on the internet, such as credit card or social security numbers. How do hackers access said data? For starters hackers can use sneaky methods in email message attachments or bad code when downloading a software. Let’s discuss how hackers use business employees to gain access to the company network.

Hackers use Email to access sensitive data

Phishing emails have become an issue since the genesis of email. Scammers use tactics to convey trust through email communication. For example, a malicious individual can pose as a business contact and ask for payment on an invoice. Not knowing the email in question is fake at first glance, you may be inclined to pay the invoice without thinking twice. Hackers use methods like these to gain access to a customer’s network. Another example consist of downloading software. An employee could have administrative rights. This provides the ability to download software without anyone’s permission. When an employee downloads a game or application the code in the software may be bad. Therefore, the code will create a mechanism for the hacker to penetrate the network and begin to gather valuable data.

Employees provide data to hackers without even knowing data has been stolen. Today’s hackers focus on company employees to extract customer data through nefarious means. How can a business owner reduce such attempts? One solution is to keep staff informed on the latest cybersecurity threats. Second solution is to schedule a managed IT service provider to come onsite and provide training on best email and cybersecurity practices. Lastly, a business owner can review the present email and see if there’s an opportunity to upgrade to a different email system. In short, staying informed with today’s methods of how hackers access data will help an organization keep vital information locked away from malicious individuals.

hackers gaining access to employees sensitive data

Hackers “Guess” Passwords

The importance with secure and high character count passwords is a must for all small and large organizations. We understand saving a lot of mental passwords is a pain. As technology evolves we anticipate passwords will become a thing of the past. Focusing on the present, passwords remain relevant. The average individual maintains an assortment of passwords for a variety of channels. Everything from banking to social media. Password recycling is another trend that is becoming popular among individuals. For example, most people use the same password for multiple websites despite best practices. The best method for securing your online accounts is to use different passwords for different channels. Similarly, we encourage customers to use a variety of password orientations. For instance, use a song lyric with minimum 14 characters. The longer the password the harder to guess.

Best practice is to implement and enforce strong password security throughout the company. Managing passwords is a task, at the moment, people will deal with for the time being. There are a couple of methods of maintaining passwords without having to write down on a post it note. Not to dive deep into password management, we recommend two applications that manage passwords. First is LastPass and second is 1Password. Hammer the concept of password security into employees. The concept will help maintain a secure network.

Hackers Hold Data Ransom

Let’s discuss how hackers access an employees PC. For instance, a warning message appears out of nowhere when browsing a website. We’re sure you’ve seen these before. These are “warning messages” that convey immediate action on behalf of the individual. First you’re approached with a full screen window warning to call Microsoft support with a phone number. Second if you do not call Microsoft support chances are high the data saved to your computer will be erased. Lastly, “Microsoft support” informed if you do not pay for their anti-virus or other digital virus solution, the technician cannot move forward. Even worse, the technician gets on the computer and encrypts or steals all the data.

The scenario provided has happened dozens of times to unknowing people. Sadly customers are unaware of these types of scams. Specifically the older work force generation. No need to fear though. Although employees are being targeted by these scammers, there are tried and true methods to reduce these attempts. In particular, providing cyber security training to employees is always a great starting point. Cyber security training is especially helpful to non-technical individuals. In short, don’t let hackers hold your data ransom. Become an educated computer user about these types of scams.

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Andrew Lopez

Project Manager at Zuma Technology
A project manager for Zuma Technology who specializes in managed services and web development. Zuma Technology is a managed service provider that specializes in ​technology solutions for small and medium businesses. We proactively manage the customer’s computer​ and network​ infrastructure to maintain a​ secure​, functional​ and efficient​ environment.
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