Hollywood movies portray hackers as either superheroes or supervillains, wielding ungodly power over the world of technology. Capable of extraordinary feats that bear no relation to the real world, they can hack into government mainframes and guess passwords instantly. At least that’s how things are in the realm of fantasy.
Real-life hackers aren’t quite as super as the movies portray them. However, while they might not sit in front of screens of digital green rain, they present a major threat to businesses of all sizes. Understanding the digital threats facing businesses starts with the ability to distinguish fact from fiction.
#1. Hackers Can Guess Passwords Instantly
In the movies, it’s usually easy to hack into a highly secured system. All you need to do is find an expert capable of instantly guessing a password, adept at using some exotic hacking software. In reality, the chances of guessing a password are usually vanishingly small unless you have some hints to go by.
In fact, the only way to ‘guess’ a password is to get the password hashes and then use brute-force hacking software to run through all possible combinations. If you’re using strong alphanumeric passwords that don’t just consist of words from the dictionary, a brute-force attack would be practically useless, since it would take longer than the age of the universe to carry out.
#2. Hacking Works Across All Platforms
In the movie ‘Independence Day,’ our planet was saved from an alien invasion by uploading a virus onto the alien mothership, consequently, destroying the pesky intruders. Conveniently, the aliens in the movie were using the same platforms and programming languages as the movie’s humans. Otherwise, the attack wouldn't have worked!
In the real world, malware targets specific systems and platforms, just like any other kind of software. For example, if malware is designed to exploit vulnerabilities in Windows, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work with Linux or Mac. That means that in case of a real-life alien invasion, aliens may be able to blast Earth into smithereens, but they won’t be able to hack into human-designed systems easily.
#3. Only Big Businesses Are a Target
This is perhaps one of the most dangerous misconceptions of all. While the movies tend to portray hackers as well-equipped geniuses capable of bringing down entire governments and megacorporations, most real-world attacks actually target smaller businesses.
Hackers often assume that SMBs don’t have adequate cybersecurity measures in place, therefore making them easier and, potentially, more lucrative targets. The fact that many small organizations don’t even see themselves as targets either is a prime example of misplaced confidence -- the kind that leaves you open to severe data breaches and phishing scams.
#4. All Hackers Are IT Professionals
Popular culture tends to portray hackers as technology geniuses with lightning-fast reactions and the superhuman ability to read through many lines of code in seconds. However, although there are some very talented hackers out there, most attacks are carried out by novices using software developed by others.
Just like most criminals, they’re opportunists relying on tried-and-tested methods to steal digital data and hold people to ransom. For example, ransomware is often distributed by people with very little technological knowledge themselves. Similarly, a lot of phishing scams, such as those emails purporting to be from some Nigerian prince, are just laughable, but they rely on targeting vast numbers to profit from just a few who fall for it.
As technology evolves, so does the world of cybercrime. That’s why you need to stay one step ahead to ensure that your data is always in the safest hands. Here at Level 5 Mgmt, our comprehensive security solutions offer round-the-clock protection that you can always count on. Chat with one of our representatives today to see how we can help.