What Hackers Can Do with Your Companies DataDigital data can prove a treasure trove for hacker’s who know what to look for and how best to utilise sensitive information to their advantage

What hackers can do with your firm’s data depends on their motive or reason for breaching system security. Except for ethical hackers, confidential data in the hands of a hacker most likely will result in costly damages affecting business operations, integrity and brand image as well, apart from direct financial losses. Most often, email IDs and login credentials in the wrong hands serve as a starting point for such hacks. Business firms, especially those offering financial services, must first carefully assess the potential security risks in their IT infrastructure and do the needful to suitably address them.

Hacked Data – Potential Sources

Armed with login credentials and passwords, hackers can easily access proprietary business data without getting noticed. As they continue to pose as authorised users, they will be able to literally mine unlimited data as long as the passwords and login details remain unchanged. Re-use of same password for several systems makes their task even easier.

Getting into the mailbox of an employee in higher ranks or those in charge of financial transactions enable hackers to monitor, control and impersonate communications to extract more details or even effect a fund transfer to a specific account. In fact, they can silently move through the mail network of the entire firm, gathering details at every step.

Business firms are responsible and morally bound to safeguard customer information that they use for regular operations. Hacking into the IT system, cybercriminals can easily skim customer-related data, including their personal details. Similarly, financial records of the firm, details of business contracts and deals, partnerships, mergers, acquisitions, intellectual property, personnel details, and just about any data held in the digital format are freely accessible.

Hacked Data – Valuable Pieces of Information

Information continues to be a valuable commodity throughout ages as it offers a distinct competitive edge to those who possess it. There is a lucrative market for information where people are willing to pay for that piece(s) of relevant information that prove game-changers.

Most hackers are out there to cash in on this demand for data. Monetary rewards, however, are bound to vary based on the significance/importance of data that they get their hands on. Even a list of email IDs sold to a marketing firm can fetch money.

Customer, contract, sales forecasts, marketing strategies and other business details are quite valuable when sold to competitors. Potential business prospects and business continuity take a heavy blow when sensitive business data gets stolen.

Hackers with access to financial information of the firm, its customers and/or employees may try to siphon off funds from their bank accounts quite innovatively. Any details of fraudulent activities, violation of regulations, or unfair practices on the part of the firm itself can be used to either mar the image of the firm or exhort money.

Hackers may use valuable insider details in a timely manner to trade stocks and shares or tip off the markets at the right time to cause a devastating impact.

Personalities and motives of hackers are quite varied, right from the technology freak who wishes to prove his proficiency and disgruntled ex-employees venting their anguish to the more malicious and serious hackers focused on financial rewards.

Irrespective of motives, it is the threat that needs careful attention. It is an arduous task for financial firms to keep pace with emerging cyber security threats and tackle them effectively on an ongoing basis. Signing up IT managed services from a reputed and reliable managed service provider can prove quite beneficial in locating any weak points in the current system and suitably strengthen them to combat likely security threats. Unearthing potential vulnerabilities with the help of a trustworthy MSP and getting them to bridge any glaring gaps can go a long way in securing valuable business and personal data.

By Kieran Fallon IT Force.