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HBO Game of Thrones Hack—Cybercrime in the Attention Era

If we could delve inside the mind of a hacker what would we learn? Would we discover why hackers do what they do or how they pull it off? Cyber attacks are nothing new, but they seem to be growing in intensity and frequency. What are the motives behind cybercrime and what are the reasons for these attacks? Living in the attention era, are cyber attacks financially motivated or are they motivated by the attention they receive? Let’s take a look at cybercrime and see if we can uncover the reasons why they are happening.

Attention Era

Cyber thieves are very proud of their work, and they want nothing more than to be recognized for it. Thus, the cybersecurity industry is seeing an increasing number of attacks motived by the desire for recognition or attention. In fact, even when hackers seek financial gain from their dirty work they also want to get as much attention as they can at the same time.

Game of Thrones Hack

The recent hacking of HBO and the leaking of Game of Thrones scripts is a perfect example of this. Everybody on the planet is glued to the last season of this extremely popular series. Can you think of a better way to grab attention than to acquire, and leak, portions of the script? That is exactly the kind of huge attention payday that cyber thieves thrive on.

Hackers Seeking Public Attention

In fact, according to The Independent, HBO has confirmed the hack but would not give a lot of details. However, if the hackers are to be believed, then this cybercrime was very large. They claim to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of data from the cable network and they want people to know about it. According to the same report, the hackers sent an email to reporters offering an interview to anyone who would spread the word regarding the attack.

Financial Gain Still a Motivation

Thus, in this new attention era, it seems cyber criminals are looking for recognition and financial gain. The more attention they can get the more leverage they have in an attempt to obtain a ransom. Furthermore, the entertainment industry is becoming an increasingly popular target as cyber criminals realize the potential for both attention-grabbing headlines and financial gain.

Cybercrime Statistics Paint a Bleak Picture

Cybercrime isn’t going anywhere, in fact, according to statistics from CyberSecurity Ventures’ 2016 Cybercrime Report, over the past year, it’s easy to see what’s coming in the next five years. Global spending on cybersecurity is expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2021 and cybercrime damage will reach $6 trillion. Fighting cyber attacks is an uphill battle, as well, as cybercrime will more than triple the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs, which is predicted to reach 3.5 million by 2021.

Protecting Yourself from Cybercrime

So how do you stop cybercrime and protect not just your data, but also yourself from one of these attacks? If you’re looking for ways to prevent cybercrime, these are some of the most useful cybersecurity tips you can implement.

Offer your staff basic information – security training. It’s imperative to train your staff on the basic principles of cyber-risky behavior. This includes clicking on unsafe or unknown links or purchasing products from unknown stores.

Keep credentials private. While many employees often share credentials, this is another risky move that can open the door to hackers. Every employee should have his or her own credentials, which also helps track each individual’s activity.

Backup regularly and spread your data. You should back up your data as often as you can, and it’s also a good idea to spread your data out over several servers, including using a hybrid cloud of both public and private servers.

Encrypt your data. It’s always best to store any critical data in encrypted format. Always lean on the side of caution when it comes to encryption.

Keep Password Policies Updated. You should keep your password policies up to date and implement them throughout the company. It’s also a good idea to change your passwords regularly.

Security software. You should use sufficient security software to protect all computers, servers, phones, hard drives, or any other devices used to store sensitive information.

Hire an outside source to help. If possible it’s a good idea to hire a professional to help design, implement and even manage your approach to cybersecurity. The level of protection you receive will likely far outweigh the cost.

Make Sure You’re Safe

Cybercrime today is a never-ending battle and the best methods to fight it are constantly evolving. Hackers want to disrupt and grab attention just as much as they want to steal data, and they’re using every means possible to get to it. Thus, you need to be prepared to combat them to protect your information and yourself from harm. New Era provides all the security tools you need to keep you and your organization safe from cyber threats. Please contact us today to learn how we can help protect you from a cyber attack.

Additional Resources on this Topic:
The Interview: A Guide to the Cyber Attack on Hollywood
Bots and IoT Devices Raise Hacking Risks: Here’s How to Protect Yourself
5 Ways to Prevent Cyber Crimes from Derailing Your Business

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