You only need to look at the news today to understand that cyberattacks are on the rise. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, cybercrime has increased dramatically. And specific kinds of cyberattacks, such as ransomware, have become particularly problematic. Some estimates have ransomware attacks increasing by up to 500% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies large and small and their IT departments need to start talking about this growing threat and get prepared. You need to know how these cyberattacks commonly happen and how to protect yourself, your business, and your customers. Because attackers don’t discriminate – you’re going to be affected whether you’re the CEO, an office manager, or admin staff.
To help get you prepared, here are the five most common attack types and some steps that your company can start taking to mitigate the risk.
The top 5 data breaches
- Phishing attacks
Phishing weaponizes your email against you in an effort to trick you into believing a message is something it’s not. In a phishing attack, users are sent a message from a seemingly trusted source, such as someone in their office or a trusted external partner. The message will include a link or an attachment that, once clicked on, will allow malware into your network. It's one of the oldest types of cyberattacks, dating back to the 1990s, and it's still one of the most widespread and successful.
- Software vulnerabilities attacks
Legitimate third-party software that is already on your system can provide its own vector of attack if not properly maintained. Failing to run frequent updates and install security patches delivered by the software vendor can leave persistent vulnerabilities on your system that can be exploited by increasingly sophisticated hackers.
The big, growing threat in cybersecurity over the last several years. Ransomware is a variety of malware that captures an organization’s data and systems, encrypting them until a substantial ransom is paid (usually in cryptocurrency) to the hackers responsible. In addition, ransomware also leaves companies vulnerable to data exfiltration and further exploitation for ransom if they don’t want data released publicly.
- Credential stuffing attacks
Credential stuffing attacks use compromised username and password pairs (“credentials”) obtained through database breaches or phishing attacks to autofill website login forms and gain fraudulent access to legitimate user accounts. These attacks succeed in large part because of the tendency of most users to recycle the same password and username across various platforms and accounts.
- Insecure cloud attacks
With the rapid switch of many companies to remote work during the pandemic, businesses have become increasingly reliant on the cloud to operate their business. While the cloud provides increased flexibility, it also increases the potential attack surface for cyber criminals. Sensitive data sitting in cloud storage can be vulnerable if the cloud provider’s monitoring is lax, or if there are exposed servers, exposed ports, or exposed cloud instances on their servers. And hackers can discover all those vulnerabilities over the internet.
How to prevent data breaches
With those five hacks in mind, what are strategies you can use to prevent data breaches, either with these or other types of attacks?
- Enable multi-factor identification (MFA) to secure services only accessible by authorized users
- Monitor privileged access activity using centralized log management
- Implement principle of least privilege policies to restrict access to confidential information
- Establish data loss prevention policies for data-at-rest, data-in-transit
- Ensure critical business applications and software are up to date with the latest patches
- Conduct security awareness training for employees
- Establish/fine-tune incident management program to address incidents revolving around data breaches/loss of data
- Look into third-party risk management vendors to assist with implementing strong policies for business, such as managed detection and response (MDR)
How Managed Detection and Response works
Ultimately, the expert, 24/7 assistance offered by Managed Detection Response (MDR) offers the highest level of protection for your business systems.
MDR uses artificial intelligence and machine learning models to automatically detect unusual patterns. In addition, human threat hunters analyze potential threats, blocking them immediately and protecting your systems. This two-pronged approach to cybersecurity helps mitigate all types of security breaches and prevent attacks that can lead to breaches.
With MDR you can sleep well at night knowing that your environment’s safe.
ActZero is here to help
It’s too late to talk about data breaches after they happen – get prepared now to defend against them and start to harden your systems.
ActZero has resources that can help you start your planning. For more information about advanced threat detection click here. For steps you can take to harden your Microsoft Cloud, watch our video guide here. And to download your step-by-step incident response guide, click here now.