Are fraudsters using automation to execute mass cyber-attacks?

June 9, 2021  |  Theodoros Karasavvas

This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.

As our digital world turns toward advances in automated technology to increase efficiency and productivity, cybercriminals are also learning how to execute mass automated cyber-attacks. 

According to the 2021 AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report, most people are concerned about the security of various applications and 52% believe that these threats challenge the integrity of networks. With the increase in remote work and more tasks taking place online, there are more opportunities than ever before to become a victim of a cyber scam. 

Digitisation is pushing forward at a rapid pace which means leaving outdated security measures behind. Using automated security protocols can greatly improve your chances of recovering from a malicious attack. Detecting attacks is becoming more tedious and it requires a more advanced understanding of how cyber criminals and fraudsters execute mass cyber-attacks. 

Learning how to protect yourself from this kind of attack and use automated technology to your advantage is critical for personal networks, small businesses and large enterprises as more scammers are beginning to use new tactics.

Why basic security may leave you vulnerable

Bare minimum security efforts are often not enough to protect against a cyber-attack. It is common to take a reactive approach to cybersecurity, but mistakes like this only leave the door wide open for a major attack. Many people also believe that smartphones and other devices are not as susceptible to being attacked, but the reality is quite the opposite. Protecting all of your devices and not just your computer or network can make you less vulnerable to an attack. 

Small businesses and large corporations are both susceptible to being victims of a cyber-attack. And with remote work becoming somewhat the norm, more people are using their devices that could potentially put proprietary data at risk. 

There are many ways that small businesses can prepare themselves for a potential attack, and that starts with actively enforcing cybersecurity practices. Things as seemingly unimportant as strong passwords can have a big impact on the strength of your security efforts. 

If your company still uses on-premise hardware and software to back up important files instead of using the cloud, then that customer data could be more vulnerable to major malicious attacks. And with the rise in ecommerce, more personal payment data is being stored by companies. If this kind of information gets into the wrong hands, then not only are customers affected, but the reputation of your business could be ruined. 

It is also imperative that companies test their security protocols. Many businesses lack a proactive approach to cybersecurity.  One quick and efficient solution to get around this is to rely on Dynamic Application Security Testing, or DAST testing, which is designed to scan your applications for vulnerabilities while they are running. 

Detecting attacks

Cybercriminals and fraudsters use automated attacks similar to how legitimate businesses use automation to increase productivity. In order to make the most money and scam the highest number of people, automated technology is used to send out mass attacks that cast a wide net across many demographics and types of internet users. 

Detecting malicious activity was much easier in the past when there were less devices connected to the internet and computing was still very much about manual input. Now, hackers and scammers are better at covering their tracks, and better at using automation for harmful purposes. 

Unfortunately, fraudsters are also very good at manipulating people against their better judgement. Phishing attacks with spoofed email addresses, compressed contents, and strange formatting can be very believable when coupled with threats or other fear-inducing messages. People need to stay informed about how scammers are able to gain access so that human errors can be taken out of the equation. 

Because many attackers are let in by humans who are afraid or don’t know any better, automated technology can be a great help for authenticating websites, incoming email and other security measures. 

The use of AI in cybersecurity also helps to identify threats even faster so that scammers can do as little damage as possible. So although fraudsters are able to use automation in their attack strategies, that does not mean that automated security efforts are more vulnerable. It just means that automated technologies present us with a new approach to protecting data. 

How to protect from automated attacks

1 - Make mobility a security focus

Covid-19 has changed the way that we work and mobility is becoming a hotspot for cyberattacks. More company data is moved to the cloud so that remote workers have ease of access. 

Since small businesses can be attacked just as often as larger ones, everyone can benefit from using the best mobility plans for their business operations. Enterprise-grade mobility is a must for all businesses that want to ensure they can control how their business and customer data is kept secure. Ensure that your employees are all trained in cyber hygiene and that they don't use personal devices for work. 

2 - Don’t be manipulated

Scammers will often use fear-mongering tactics to get people to open malicious files or run certain scripts that can eliminate your privacy. It is important to use logical thinking when you get an email saying that a prince has passed away and you have an inheritance that you must claim, or that you will be locked out of your account unless you provide them with money or security access. 

Right now, cybercriminals are even using the pandemic as a way of executing phishing scams and manipulating people into giving up their information. So if you own a business, teach your employees how to avoid getting scammed and let them know how they will receive important updates.

3 - Use the right technology

For any task, you need to have the right tools to complete it efficiently. Make sure that your network is up to date and that you are utilizing automation in certain areas. Upgrade your IT system regularly and do regular cybersecurity audits (such as with DAST tools as discussed previously) so that everyone is on the same page when an attack occurs. 


Scammers and cybercriminals are becoming better at using widespread automated attacks to collect large amounts of data in a short amount of time. Choosing the right providers for your security and mobility needs is crucial as the digital age continues to progress. 

Use automation where necessary to protect yourself from malicious attacks, and don’t allow yourself to be manipulated - stay educated and informed on the newest fraudster trends.

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