Is your company really prepared for a cyber attack?
The rise of smart devices and shifting customer preferences have driven the global digital transformation at full steam. As a result, companies are discovering more and more opportunities and cutting-edge resources for competitive advantage and growth.
Moreover, the pandemic has forced many organizations to switch to remote work, which has spurred an increase in the adoption of new technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning, internet of things (IoT), big data, and social media. That’s when digital transformation shifted from a long-term goal to reality.
However, the rise of digital transformation initiatives in companies of all sizes is revealing specific vulnerabilities for most organizations. With the emergence of these new technologies, the threat is continually increasing.
This has made it critical for businesses and security teams to manage the risks of digital transformation, increasing and enhancing IT and cyber risk management capabilities to support this new paradigm.
Let’s move on and see how the digital transformation is changing IT and cybersecurity programs.
What Are Cyberattacks Types And Trends?
The future of cybersecurity brings with it many changes, some of which we can predict today. Companies tend to be unprepared for the fastest-spreading threats, including ransomware. Ransomware prevalence increased 365% between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019 and then grew another 148% during the COVID-19 crisis, according to research by Osterman Research.
Attackers’ strategies and techniques change quickly. According to IBM Security X-Force Incident Response, which saw an explosive increase in ransomware attacks especially in Q2 2020, today’s attackers are very agile. Ransom demands are steadily increasing as attackers narrow their focus to victims, such as manufacturers who can incur millions of dollars in losses for a day of downtime and therefore have little tolerance for it.
Threat agents are also combining new extortion tactics based on data theft into ransomware attacks, stealing confidential company information and threatening to make it public if their victims do not pay for the decryption key. These tactics require a review of incident response and crisis recovery plans, but many security teams are not keeping pace.
Learn about the most common types of cyberattacks in companies below.
Malware is a term used to describe malicious software, including spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms. Malware breaches a network through a vulnerability, typically when a user clicks a dangerous link or email attachment that installs dangerous software. Once inside a system, malware can do the following:
- Block access to key network components.
- Install additional malware or harmful software.
- Secretly obtain information by transmitting data from the hard drive.
- Stop certain components and make the system inoperable.
Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent communications that appear to come from a trusted source, usually via email. The purpose is to steal sensitive data such as credit card and login information or install malware on the victim’s machine. Phishing is an increasingly common cyber threat.
Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, also known as spy attacks, occur when attackers enter into a two-party transaction. Once attackers disrupt traffic, they can filter and steal data.
Two common entry points for MitM attacks are:
- In insecure public Wi-Fi, attackers can insert themselves between a visitor’s device and the network. Without knowing it, the visitor passes all information through the attacker.
- After a malware has breached a device, an attacker can install software to process all of the victim’s information.
A denial-of-service attack floods systems, servers, or networks with traffic to exhaust resources and bandwidth. As a result, the system is unable to fulfill legitimate requests. Attackers can also use multiple compromised devices to launch this attack. This is known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection occurs when an attacker inserts malicious code into a server that uses SQL and forces the server to reveal information it normally would not. An attacker could perform a SQL injection simply by sending malicious code to a vulnerable website search box.
A zero-day exploit occurs after a network vulnerability is announced, but before a patch or solution is implemented. Attackers target the vulnerability disclosed during this period. Detecting zero-day vulnerability threats requires constant awareness.
DNS Tunneling uses the DNS protocol to communicate DNS traffic over port 53. It sends HTTP and other protocol traffic through DNS. There are several legitimate reasons to use DNS Tunneling. However, there are also malicious reasons to use DNS tunneling via VPN services. They can be used to mask outbound traffic such as DNS, hiding data that is normally shared over an Internet connection. For malicious use, DNS requests are manipulated to extract data from a compromised system into the attacker’s infrastructure. It can also be used to command and control callbacks from the attacker’s infrastructure to a compromised system.
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What Are the Risks of a Cyberattack for Companies?
The PWC 2020 Annual CEO Survey has found that North America’s top executives reported cybersecurity as their number-one concern, with half of the respondents describing “extreme concern” regarding their cyber vulnerabilities. As data breaches and attacks become more ubiquitous, with estimates reaching 1 every 5 minutes since the GDPR laws went into effect, organizations are bracing themselves for these cybersecurity threats.
While cybercriminals rarely discriminate, some industries are more vulnerable than others. So, here are some of the industries and sectors most at risk for cyberattacks and breaches.
Healthcare organizations continue to be the ones most exposed to cyberattacks this year. Data breaches and ransomware attacks in the past year alone have cost the industry an estimated $4 billion, with the industry accounting for more than four out of ten breaches as well.
With the launch of 5G, it is expected that more devices and sensors will be connected to supply chains, communities, organizations, and locations. Although this kicks off a new wave of the communications revolution, experts note this poses new risks for consumers and businesses. As it is a move to all-software networks and wider bandwidth, high-level hackers can exploit these emerging vulnerabilities and have a larger attack surface to work with. Meanwhile, the ubiquity of sensors and devices will require a newer and more rigid framework for endpoint security across all industries.
It is no surprise that cybercriminals are targeting financial data from the banking and finance industry. In fact, a Clearswift survey in the UK has found that over 70% of financial institutions were victims of cyberattacks in the past year. But as institutions and organizations implement stricter protections and protocols, some sectors of the industry remain vulnerable. While relatively small in scale, attacks on retirement accounts carry enormous risks.
The losses are not just monetary: according to a McAfee survey, 92% of companies felt other damages rather than just monetary losses. These losses include reduced efficiency and downtime, operational costs for incident response, and reputational damage. Nowadays, more and more people are considering trust as an aspect when relating to companies. In times of digital transformation and greater competition in the market, this makes all the difference.
Loss of customer and stakeholder trust can be the most damaging impact of cybercrime, as the vast majority of people would not do business with a company that has been breached, especially if it did not protect its customers’ data. This can translate directly into business loss as well as the devaluation of the brand you have worked so hard to build. Accepting a reputation scam can also affect your ability to attract top talent, vendors, and investors.
So far, how do you assess your company’s cybersecurity posture?
Now we will talk a little bit about what are the most common cyberattacks on businesses today and what a weak cybersecurity posture can do to your business, particularly in the healthcare, technology, and payment industries.
See below why the loss of privileged credentials poses serious business risks and how your company can initiate a cyberattack response plan.
What Are Privileged Credentials?
It is becoming more common to hear about cyberattacks developed by people inside an organization than by outside hackers. This happens because its users, and particularly its most privileged users, are the biggest threat to its cybersecurity. After all, privileged credentials are also called keys to the kingdom, as they provide access to critical actions, such as modifying domain controller settings or transferring financial resources from an organization’s accounts.
These users already have keys to your kingdom and therefore it can be incredibly difficult to identify them and prevent them from abusing their privileges. An unsatisfied employee or someone who should never have had access to sensitive data can financially harm an organization and easily destroy its reputation.
Knowing this, everyone (not just IT and security teams) must understand what it means to be a privileged user and what you can do to help mitigate the threats they pose. Thus, in times of increased regulatory requirements, including new data protection legislation such as LGPD and GDPR, ensuring the protection of privileged credentials is more than reducing cyber risks and avoiding multi-million-dollar sanctions, it is ensuring business continuity.
What Are Cyber Threats Involving Privileged Credentials?
Because your privileged user accounts have higher access levels than other users, they need to be monitored more closely. The threats privileged user accounts pose can generally be summarized into three main categories.
Accidental Insider Threat
A significant proportion of insider threats are unintentionally caused. All users make mistakes, including those with privileged access. Due to the types of data they have access to, the mistakes privileged users make have far more serious consequences.
A careless user can make a change to critical business data without thinking about the consequences. Or they can grant unnecessary access to a file share when there is no need for such access. All of these actions unnecessarily put data at risk.
Malicious Insider Threat
Because your privileged user accounts already have access to sensitive data, intentional misuse can be harder to detect than a stranger trying to gain illegitimate access. These people sometimes use the fact that they are not monitored as closely as other users to intentionally abuse their privileges. Their attacks can be opportunistic or premeditated, but they can be devastating anyway.
External attackers often target your privileged user accounts as they can use the elevated privileges to move around the network undetected. They might try to trick your privileged users into providing them with credentials through phishing attacks, or might try to gain access through brute force.
What Are the Strategies That Can Be Used to Respond to Cyberattacks?
When an incident happens, time is crucial. The longer it takes to respond, the more likely the risks will increase. That’s why it is essential to have an incident response plan. By preparing yourself in advance, you can act quickly to identify and mitigate damage.
Here are five important activities for developing an effective incident response plan.
Understand Cybersecurity Incidents
What is crucial here is that organizations understand what is normal in their environment and what the potential risks are. If an organization does not know what a normal scenario looks like, how would it detect the abnormal or malicious one?
An information security risk assessment conducted annually or whenever you make significant changes to your organization will help you answer these questions as you analyze how your confidential information is used and how issues can arise.
Make Sure Your Scope Is Appropriate
The number of risks you identify will be incredibly huge, and realistically you won’t be able to deal with all of them.
You must therefore decide which risks to prioritize. Your decision should be based on an assessment of each threat’s potential damage and the likelihood of its occurrence.
Create An Incident Response Plan
With your most important threats identified, it is time to create an incident response plan to deal with them. This is a six-step process:
Preparation: The policies, procedures, governance, communication plans, and technology controls you will need to detect a security incident and continue operations once it occurs.
- Identification: Organizations need to be able to detect a potential incident. They must understand what information is available and in what location. Logs also need integrity. Can you trust that an attacker has not changed the logs?
- Containment: How you will isolate the problem and prevent it from causing further damage.
- Eradication: You should confirm what happened and answer any other questions the organization has.
- Recovery: The process of returning to business as usual.
- Lessons Learned: The processes of evaluating the implications of procedures and policies, collecting metrics, meeting reporting and compliance requirements, and identifying lessons that need to be learned.
Train Your Team
The success of your incident response plan depends on how well your team executes it. This includes not just the people responsible for creating and executing the plan, but everyone in your organization.
After all, their work can be interrupted when the plan goes into effect, so you need to make sure they are prepared. This means informing them of the plan, explaining why it is in place, and providing the necessary training to enable them to follow it.
Roles, responsibilities, dependencies, and authorization are also critical. Is the incident team empowered to make difficult and important decisions that could impact the organization’s operations?
Cybersecurity is an important topic for every business in today’s hyperconnected world. With fast-growing technologies like cloud, mobility, and virtualization, the security boundaries are a bit blurred and not every organization adequately protects its valuable and confidential information.
As a result, cyberattacks and data leaks occur more frequently and that is why they are no surprise in the field of Information Security. With the increasing sophistication of attacks on organizations of all sizes, the question is not whether a company will suffer a cyberattack, but when that attack will occur and what the consequences will be.
Controlling privileged actions in an organization’s infrastructure enables IT systems to be protected from any attempt to perform malicious actions such as theft or improper modifications to the environment – both inside and outside the company.
In this context, a Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution can be considered an important tool to speed up the deployment of a cybersecurity infrastructure. Privileged Access Management is an area of identity security that helps organizations maintain full control and visibility over their most critical systems and data.
A robust PAM solution ensures that all user actions, including those taken by privileged users, are monitored and can be audited in the event of a security breach. Privileged access control not only reduces the impact of a breach but also builds resilience against other causes of disruption, including insider threats, misconfigured automation, and accidental operator error in production environments.
Schedule a demo and find out why senhasegura is the best-rated PAM solution (4.9/5) among competitors in Gartner Peer-insights.