Real World Cybersecurity Threats and How To Prevent Them
With cybersecurity, one statement always holds; it’s not a question of IF, but WHEN your business or organization may be attacked. Cyber threat actors are always looking for vulnerable companies to intrude into their systems to steal or compromise their sensitive data. So if you don’t implement the appropriate security measures to seal all the loopholes that criminals may capitalize on, we’re afraid your business may remain an easy target.
We’ve prepared this in-depth post to discuss the steps every organization needs to undertake to bolster its cybersecurity posture. But first, what are the real-world cyber threats that most businesses are vulnerable to?
The Biggest Real-World Cyber Threats Today
Before we get into the actual cybersecurity threats, it’s worth noting that the game or the technique of attack execution has changed massively over the years. For instance, threat actors nowadays have become more hostile and aggressive because they now move as criminal organizations that are well funded and informed. And in some cases, these cartels have the full support of their respective governments, plus untouchable status from law enforcement.
Cyber threat actors have also changed their game in the sense that now they’re not just interested in compromising your intellectual property, stealing your money, and damaging your reputation. Instead, they’ve gone a notch higher. They also want to assume control of your infrastructure and corporate environment, then use these resources to extend their attacks to companies that trust you. Further, they don’t just pick a random company to target; they ensure reconnaissance for at least 2-3 weeks before they come guns blazing for your most valuable assets.
That being said, let’s now switch focus to the biggest real-world cyber threats facing businesses today!
Ransomware is, by far, the most rampant type of cybersecurity threat, with 2020 alone seeing more than 65,000 successful breaches, according to estimates. The trend seems to worsen in 2021 because threat actors have already managed to compromise several high-profile companies, including Colonial Pipeline, JBS S.A., CNA Financial Corp, Houston Rockets, and more.
In a ransomware attack, the attacker targets your business by holding your sensitive info hostage, locking you out of the system, and demanding a hefty ransom to restore everything. Perhaps one of the primary reasons for ransomware attack popularity is its ease of execution. Some common tactics usually used by threat actors involve leveraging sophisticated software to bypass security loopholes or duping users into downloading malware by posing as a trusted figure.
These attacks often bring far-reaching losses to the affected companies. For instance, besides shutting down their operations to limit the attack’s spread, Colonial Pipeline had to part ways with a whopping $4.4 million ransoms just to regain access to their systems and resume operations. On the other hand, JBS also had to pay $11 million to stop the ransomware attack.
2. Insider Threats
It’s hard to imagine that your most trusted employees, business partners, associates, or former employees could turn out to be your downfall by instigating insider attacks. In an insider threat, these actors often access your company’s most critical data and use it to launch an attack against you.
In most instances, these attacks result from companies giving their employees access to accounts and information they shouldn’t reveal. However, sometimes, it’s usually due to the ignorance or carelessness of the IT personnel or other stakeholders who may unknowingly provide sensitive info to ill-intended insiders to use and access the company systems illegitimately. In fact, according to recent research, 62% of employees have reported having accessed accounts they probably shouldn’t.
3. Business Email Compromise
Business Email Compromise (BEC) has been a real-world cyber threat lately, thanks to its sophisticated nature. A BEC attack involves the threat actor impersonating a trusted figure, say a C-suite executive, to steal their business email account logins then use these accounts to request payments from employees fraudulently.
Well-executed BEC attacks are usually challenging to detect because the cybercriminals don’t use malicious software or URLs that are effortless to unmask through standard cyber defences. Instead, they thrive on impersonation and other social engineering hacks that aim to dupe unsuspecting users.
Tips to Prevent Real-World Cyber Threats
One of the most effective ways of reducing cybersecurity breaches is bridging the supply-demand gap currently being experienced globally. As it stands, there are over 3.5 million cybersecurity positions that are open worldwide. And the limited talents available are being absorbed by big tech companies, government agencies, and multinationals, leaving small and mid-size businesses without experts to help them bolster their cybersecurity infrastructure. But that’s no cause for alarm, as there are several reliable managed security service providers (MSSP) like Tektonic that can fill that gap at a budget.
All the same, here are a few tips that businesses and organizations can implement to prevent cybersecurity breaches:
Every organization should have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
And not only that, the CISO must be reporting directly to the CEO and have veto power over anything that the CIO does that could expose the organization to the real-world threats discussed above. But let’s face it; hiring a full-time CISO can prove costly, especially to small and mid-size businesses trying to establish themselves in the market. Luckily, as mentioned above, an MSSP can assume that role for companies that may not have the funds to hire a permanent CISO.
Every cloud-based business needs workload security
If your business has migrated to the cloud, you also need to implement workload security. There’s always a general assumption that the cloud infrastructure is secure, and once you move your workload there, you’ll forget about cyber risks. But nothing could be further from the truth. Remember, you’re sharing the infrastructure with other businesses and people who may presumably be ill-intended (in the case of a public cloud), hence the need for workload security.
Other cybersecurity strategies to implement include:
- Network segmentation
- Cyber threat hunting
- Endpoint protection solutions like advanced firewalls, vulnerability assessments, and port/device control
- Cloud-based data backup solutions
- Business password management and multi-factor authentication
- Integrating network security with endpoint protection solutions to increase visibility
- Security awareness training
- Frequent updating of business software and network security systems
Conclusion: Tektonic is Your Top-Rated Cybersecurity Solutions Partner
We hate to admit it, but cybersecurity threats aren’t going away any time soon. If anything, threat actors are only becoming more innovative and sophisticated with their attacks. Most of these hackers and data thieves work in groups of well-structured, funded, and State-guarded cartels that may be hard to subdue without a concrete cybersecurity strategy.
Here at Tektonic, we dedicate our immense experience and expertise in cybersecurity to help small and mid-size businesses that may not have the budget to hire a permanent CISO or set up a data centre. We can help manage and monitor your security infrastructure to proactively detect and thwart all threats that may potentially harm your business.
So what are you waiting for? Engage with Tektonic today and protect your business against all cyber threats out there!
Tektonic Managed Services is an IT Support and Computer Services company serving Toronto GTA. We provide services in and around Toronto, including York Region, Durham Region and Peel Region. Businesses like yours need technology support to run highly-effective organizations. Leverage pro-growth technology services for your company now!