How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Attacks
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Organizations spend about 1,075 hours each week monitoring and fixing their systems. Unfortunately, critical fixes can often take more than a year, which is usually the leading cause of the company's losses. After all, when such as the Lazarus Group appears in the world’s arena, any attempt to defend themselves may be in vain - but it seems that the government keeps up, preventing a new series of powerful cyber attacks. So we decided to take a quick run through the facts and understand the basic cyber security strategies to figure out where to go.
By far, the largest cluster of activity of the infiltrations is associated with the Chinese and North Korean state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT). For the most part, they operate in the area of cryptocurrency exchanges, venture capital funds, Defi, NFTs, and play-to-earn cryptocurrency and mobile games. The user quickly becomes a victim of deception because they get hooked through common communication platforms that download the malware while willingly providing essential data for the transaction. It may start very simple: if you are an employee of a cryptocurrency company or have your wallet, you will likely receive a phishing message. For example, you can read about an offer of a high-paying job and download a file describing the requirements, which will subsequently damage your capital. Please read below for how to fight it, what tricks hackers use, and how to protect yourself from cyber-attacks.
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Cybersecurity News and Analysis
To prevent cyber-attacks, it is essential to start from the origins - assess the cyber security market situation, analyze incidents and finally come up with a solution that can ensure your digital environment, even if only for a short period.
The Lazarus Group mentioned earlier is the North Korean leader among hackers. This conglomerate has spawned hundreds of similar companies, including a wide range of operations related to Operation AppleJesus, and SnatchCrypto, and, more recently, using Defi wallet apps to backdoor Windows machines. For example, in the recent list of incidents, there was a high-profile cryptocurrency theft of Axie Infinity's Ronin Network.
Two months ago, GitHub uncovered signs that a malicious actor had leveraged the stolen OAuth user tokens issued to Heroku and Travis CI. Unfortunately, the Chinese LuoYu Hackers also did not stand aside: they created a tool called WinDealer with sophisticated functionality that allows the actor to modify network traffic in transit to insert malicious payloads. And here's another exciting way to make money - to profit from people's grief. For example, in Ukraine, malicious software Jester Stealer appeared, distributed via email with the “chemical attack” subject line.
This surge in hacker activity is related to the Covid-19 impact on digitalization - many people have lost touch and become more susceptible to such threats. In addition, many businesses affected by cyber-attacks were not initially prepared for them, as they made the wrong decision to save money on the budget.
How well do your security practices stack up in today's operating environment?
Ransomware attacks have grown significantly in recent years and remain the preferred method of attackers seeking to maximize profits. To avoid disrupting regular operations and damaging sensitive data, many companies apply key principles of cybersecurity:
- Govern: risks management;
- Protect: implement a control system;
- Detect timely detection of threats to protect against them in the future.
These three pillars hold the security system of almost every organization and are well known to hackers who constantly find new loopholes. To avoid being found, you should incorporate the following practices into your business strategies:
- Turn your dependence on cloud platforms into a secure privilege: conduct adequate due diligence when choosing cloud vendors to work with, devise and implement a unified access management strategy, and control uploaded data scanning and proactive threat defense.
- Be aware of protected data you come into contact with: keep high-level protected data, securely delete private files, and use encryption.
- Do not spare money for antivirus/anti-malware protection: Yes, in the 2000s, it was one of the leading cybersecurity trends, but apparently, the fashion for them is back. Now it is not an empty promise but a worthwhile and effective mechanism.
- Try to make sense of your online activities. Here's the best advice from the programmer in our MPS editorial board - don't poke around! Be more thoughtful about the buttons you press, the files you download, and the code of the commands you run through Powershell.
A cyber attack prevention plan is first and foremost about your prudence and desire to protect yourself. Ultimately, even the most high-profile cryptocurrency thefts happen because of the owner's indiscretion. Physical access to data in any form, even a receipt on which you wrote the password in a cafe, can make sense to your security.
Main areas of cyber attacks
The progress of digital transformation has inevitably led to new cybersecurity threats. Criminals take advantage of the resulting social, economic and political instability, which ultimately affects sectors vital to society. According to the European Union Cyber Security Agency (Enisa), the attacks primarily affected companies working in the areas of digital services, health, the general public, banking, and government.
In this case, the main methods of digital theft are ransomware, when an attacker encrypts data and then extorts payment in exchange for granting access. Companies can also become victims that neglect the importance of tech support - the so-called cryptojacking can secretly use the victims' computing power to generate cryptocurrency. Spreading misinformation is also standard on the Internet - we have already mentioned this. Still, it is worth saying that sometimes an unintentional human factor can become the cause of the attack. For example, since email marketing is still alive, phishing emails continue to be sent. And to do even more damage to the competition, dishonest people in business can use the heavy artillery - attacks related to access to the data provider to get their customers. Yes, it all sounds creepy, but there would be no modern technology and no protection. So let's talk about how cyber attacks affect businesses.
Protect your business from cyber threats
On the websites of different governments, you can see a list of actions that need to be taken for cybersecurity for small businesses or corporations. In most cases, they advise the following:
- Make a backup copy of the data. This preventive action is logical and easy to perform through daily incremental back-ups to a portable device and cloud storage or practice at weekly, monthly, or yearly intervals.
- Take care to protect your devices: for instance, update software, set up a firewall, install anti-viruses and turn on spam filters.
- Encrypt the information you need by turning on network encryption in your router settings or setting up a VPN. This reduces the risks of threats.
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to prevent third parties from accessing your data.
- Use strong passwords: a phrase or a set of different words.
So, we looked at how the government advises protecting your business from cybercrimes. But what percentage of happy cases of threat avoidance, and how have they been dealt with?
Known incidents of cyberattacks that have been successfully eliminated
In the U.S., 85% of critical infrastructure is privately owned, making it difficult for federal agencies to intervene during cyber attacks on businesses. So, as of today, the government and the entrepreneur must come up with a new shared responsibility agreement to secure cyberspace. And since each side is so far apart, the number of cyber incidents only increases. Such critical sectors related to water supply, electrification, medicine, and financial systems will be better protected by the state since factors that could potentially harm the functioning of these structures will be considered compromising.
For example, Microsoft blocks Iran-linked Lebanese hackers targeting Israeli companies, stopping more than 20 malicious OneDrive applications. They advise their customers to enable multi-factor authentication and to check and verify relationships with partners to minimize any unnecessary permissions.
Small and medium-sized businesses need to find security gateways in the areas of email, eliminate malware attacks, take care of access passwords, etc. For instance, threat intelligence and incident response company Mandiant advises protecting your business from a cyber attack by carefully reviewing emails that can be disguised as administrative notices using legitimate diplomatic addresses. In addition, it is worth taking care of a reliable supplier of legitimate software because even through system updates, you are likely to become a victim of intruders.
In today's unstable world, you must always stay alert to stay safe. The pressures we have experienced over the past two years have made us more vulnerable to cyber threats that disrupt critical structures and change our way of life. So, why is cybersecurity important in business? How to protect yourself and what the state advises - we told you about all this in this article.