Cyber ​​attacks: the hacker with the toolbox – digital


Many companies have just put a lot of effort into strengthening their protection against typical cyber attacks: mass emails with Trojans that infected an entire system as soon as they were opened. The companies installed new firewalls, trained their employees and updated their operating systems. But now it turns out that the cyber criminals are undermining all of this with new methods in their attacks.

“We are seeing a clear change in cyber attacks,” says Stefan Schmutterer, cyber expert at the Wiesbaden insurer R + V. Instead of relying on Trojans in mass emails, hackers are increasingly targeting individual vulnerabilities in companies.

For this they use collections of programs, in the jargon these are called tool kits. The hackers can put together the toolboxes in the Darknet as they wish. A virus is looking for holes in the company’s firewall. Once it has been overcome, the next program is used and looks for further weak points until the hacker can take over or paralyze the system.

For the criminals, this procedure is more complex than a simple virus in a mass mail, says Schmutterer. “However, the cyberattacks tailored precisely to a victim are very effective.” Once the cybercriminals have hacked the system, they cripple it until a ransom is paid. Or they can access sensitive data such as credit card numbers and customer contacts. They also use it to blackmail the companies or sell the data directly. Small and medium-sized companies such as online companies, medical practices or car repair shops are particularly affected because they lack specialist knowledge, says Schmutterer. “Then there is a risk of major financial damage.”

Cyber ​​attacks on companies have increased overall in the pandemic

R + V statistics show that the proportion of these individual hacker attacks in cyber attacks has increased significantly since the beginning of 2020. “At the beginning of 2020, the proportion of individual attacks was still five percent; today they account for around 40 percent of the damage reported to us,” said Schmutterer.

Cyber ​​attacks on companies have increased overall. One reason for this is the pandemic. Because significantly more people work from home, there are more points of attack for cyber criminals. The damage cost of R + V for cyber attacks was almost as high in the first three months of 2021 as in the whole of 2020. Due to the increasing networking of all possible devices with the Internet, hacker attacks can not only cause costs for ransom or IT restoration, but also ensure business interruptions and property damage to the devices.

R + V deals with the topic because it wants to sell cyber policies. Many insurers are currently experiencing a boom here, but have become very cautious when it comes to insuring large companies. Smaller companies are more likely to find a suitable policy. Many insurers combine financial protection with services: Customers receive technical help in the event of a claim or training for employees to prevent claims. The offer often includes a check of the IT systems in advance.

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