December 1, 2020

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How businesses can protect themselves from 6 common cyberattack vectors

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Cybersecurity has become more important than ever, as businesses move to the digital realm.

The 2020 data breaches investigations report by Verizon highlighted that 72% of cyberattack targets were large businesses and that organized criminal gangs were behind 55% of these attacks.

With cyberattacks increasing in sophistication, it’s more important than ever for businesses to evaluate the paths by which they might suffer an attack. In cybersecurity-speak, these paths are called attack vectors. There are six attack vectors you should thoroughly evaluate to secure your business.

Compromised Credentials

Passwords remain a weak point in business cybersecurity frameworks. A report on the state of password use in 2020 indicated that 80% of hacking breaches resulted from weak or overused passwords. A single breached password can expose multiple digital assets to an attack.

Educating employees about security best practices is something companies already do. However, the aim of such education needs to move from awareness to behavioral change. Creating collaborative workshops with security experts and running security fire drills is a great way to install a culture that values cybersecurity.

While multi-factor authentication and password managers offer enhanced protection, consider ditching the password entirely. An increasing number of companies are adopting FIDO authentication protocols aimed at eliminating password dependence. FIDO processes verify a user’s identity using two-factor authentication via biometrics and local device challenges.

Credentials are usually a single point of failure in your cybersecurity protocol. Rethink your dependence on them and build a more robust framework.

Technical Misconfiguration

Businesses these days have adopted continuous delivery models that help them get to market fast. The downside of an agile delivery schedule is that security might be compromised. The traditional Gantt model of project scheduling has security teams check in on development at fixed points.

In this model, developers come to view security as a hurdle to cross. Security teams, for their part, fall out of touch with new developments since intermittent touchpoints cannot give them any insight. Reorganizing the interaction between security and dev teams is essential. Embed security members into each dev team to ensure that code always meets security protocols.

Training and promoting developers to security teams increases cooperation and removes friction. Security teams should create code templates for use across the organization, and also create automated tools that developers can use to test their code without needing security intervention.

Malware

Malware is a constantly evolving threat. Attackers typically exploit configuration or credential vulnerabilities to install malware. According to Verizon, password dumpers are the most common form of malware exploits that organizations suffer. A single vulnerability can be used to capture passwords and credentials across the organization.

Other common malware exploits include ransomware and Trojans that capture app data. The best method of dealing with malware is to use a continuous security validation platform that continuously scans for threats by examining the various vectors you’re vulnerable to.

Malware is often injected at data entry points, and this compromises entire systems. Important data, such as customer information or financial projections, are stolen or held for ransom. Enforcing encryption from within data sources, as opposed to encrypting data once it enters your system, is a great way to shield yourself from this vulnerability. Evaluate your encryption protocols for data-at-rest, in-transit, and processing stages.

Phishing and DoS

Phishing was one of the earliest ways of targeting businesses. Email attachments, links, and app downloads are some of the most common ways in which employees and businesses are targeted. Employee education goes a long way towards mitigating these risks. However, the aim of education must be to change behavior, not just increase awareness.

While businesses are mostly up to speed with regards to phishing, DoS or DDoS attacks are a threat that many are vulnerable to. This is due to the rapid pace at which cybercrime tactics are evolving. Infrastructure is becoming outdated at a faster pace, and this creates vulnerabilities. Adopting a realistic, worst-case scenario approach is the best method of preparing for a DDoS attack.

Create a crisis response team and develop backup protocols. Use tools that conduct secure data backups automatically and monitor for abnormal activity.

Malicious Insiders

An insider attack is the toughest form of malicious behavior to contain. These days, an increasing number of businesses are turning to AI-driven cybersecurity platforms that constantly monitor servers and networks for abnormal activity. It’s best to assume that you will suffer from an attack and prepare for the worst-case scenario. Evaluate your backups and monitor user behavior at all times.

Third-Party Relationships

A supply chain partner or a potential acquisition can open your business up to a cyberattack. Pertinent information about your business is stored in your partners’ networks, and this means you’re vulnerable if they’re compromised.

While you might not be able to enforce your protocols on them, you can use continuous security monitoring platforms to scan for potential vulnerabilities. These platforms can monitor for supplier information present on the darknet or any other area that might leave you vulnerable.

Monitor Your Vectors

The best cybersecurity protocols scan and emulate possible attacks against your organization. Develop robust protocols, and you’ll manage to stay a step ahead of malicious actors.

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How businesses can protect themselves from 6 common cyberattack vectors



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