How to Fight Cyber Threats Like A Pro

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“Threat is a mirror of security gaps. Cyber-threat is mainly the reflection of our weaknesses. An accurate vision of digital and behavioral gaps is crucial for a consistent cyber-resilience.” ― Stephane Nappo

The principal security agency of Russia – the Federal Security Service (FSB) – faced “the largest data leak in the history of the work of Russian special services on the Internet” after hackers breached one of their IT contractors and stole and leaked 7.5 terabytes of data to the journalists. In another case, the credit bureau Equifax is penalized to pay $650 million to compensate for the information loss caused by a 2017 data breach, resulting in the exposure of information belonging to 145 million people.

Cyberattacks have become the biggest threat to organizations worldwide. The risk associated with cyber crimes have doubled in the last six years, with the total damages cost being projected to reach $6 trillion annually by 2021.

We are living in a digitally connected world where the bandwidth and scope will further expand as we progress into the future. IoT devices are on a continual rise, while cyber breach incidents are increasing at an alarming rate. In order to fulfill the vision of a wholly-connected world, the IoT proliferation is favorable. Thus, it is essential to control and address the security concerns that it is bringing along. As per a report, about 61% of the organizations have experienced an IoT security incident.

Data is the new asset that drives revenues for an organization in this digitally evolving ecosystem. This shift in the value from physical to digital assets has caused the increase in the number of cyber crimes. Data protection and cyber security have taken the maximum priority for the organizational leaders as they are now realizing the associated value as well as threats of this data-driven world.

It is time that organizations start considering cyber attacks as a risk and establish the necessary risk prevention and management mechanism. They need to devise a sustainable cyber defense strategy that can protect the organizational data as well as shield it against the future attacks. Let us try to understand how leaders should approach data and cyber threats to establish a robust and flexible cybersecurity strategy that will effectively fortify their organization’s digital walls.

Intospect – Perform a thorough analysis

In a most recent cybercrime incident, a hacker broke into Bulgaria’s tax system and stole the social security, bank, and salary information of 5 million tax-paying adults in the country. The same hacker had also penetrated the Bulgarian Education Ministry’s website in 2017, citing the act as his ‘civic duty’. Such hacks into the government databases raise questions on the reliability, integrity and security of personal information in this digital age.

Cybersecurity is no longer just the concern of IT department. The criticality and impact of cyber resilience are mandating involvement of the entire organization to ensure that no information is leaked out. If businesses wish to attract and retain their customers, they must build a credible and trustworthy environment in which their prospects are comfortable with sharing their personal data. For doing so, the first step would require creation of a thorough organizational profile. Such a profile will help gain visibility into the strengths and weaknesses of the organization and allow them to mark the potential targets, risks, and vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

Daniel Wagner, Risk Consultant and Author, rightly says, “Some risks that are thought to be unknown, are not unknown. With some foresight and critical thought, some risks that at first glance may seem unforeseen, can in fact be foreseen. Armed with the right set of tools, procedures, knowledge and insight, light can be shed on variables that lead to risk, allowing us to manage them.”

By performing a detailed analysis of organization’s infrastructural and network structure, it becomes easier to identify those network footprint and components, and configuration settings and techniques that might compromise the confidential information to the hackers.

This recceing is although the first step while devising a cybersecurity strategy, it is also required that such analysis is performed on a regular basis to make sure that the strategy is aligned with any update made to the organization’s structure.

Visualize the threats and stage an attack

Once the organization profiling is completed, the next step involves identification of those nodes, elements, and vectors that face the risk of penetration. These vectors should then be arranged and prioritized based on their ease of exploitation and the value of information that they contain.

As per Demitrios ‘Laz’ Lazarikos, Founder and CEO, Blue Lava, Inc., at SecureWorld Philadelphia, “A modern cybersecurity program must have Board and Executive level visibility, funding, and support. The modern cybersecurity program also includes reporting on multiple topics: understanding how threats impact revenues and the company brand, sales enablement, brand protection, IP protection, and understanding cyber risk.”

A cyberattack simulation should be carried out to understand how strong the existing systems really are. Performing security testing and website vulnerability testing yield insightful results regarding the cybersecurity solutions’ effectiveness. The findings of this simulated attack will further aid the decision makers to formulate a better-suited strategy that efficiently takes care of the identified vulnerabilities and threat risks.

An effective dealing of cyber threats requires a proactive approach from the organization’s part, making mature prevention, detection, and recovery measures absolutely critical. This means establishment of an Incident Response Service to deal with a breach crisis on an immediate basis.

An incident response service typically involves:

  1. Discovery: It takes an average of 191 days for organization to discover a breach. This statistic clearly reflects the robustness of existing cybersecurity strategies. Without even knowing that the security has been compromised, it is impossible to react and respond.
  2. Response: Once the breach is discovered, immediate actions should be deployed to minimize the impact as much as possible.
  3. Investigate: After taking the necessary measures to contain the data breach’s impact, it is time to investigate the cause of the breach and to identify the weakness in the system that allowed the breach.
  4. Remediate and prevent: Remediation involves taking the steps required to seal the compromised nodes while prevention involves ascertaining that such breach does not happen again in the future.

An incident response service takes a holistic approach and is sustainably aligned with an organization’s goals.

Conclusion

A cyber defense strategy requires commitment of three critical aspects – people, processes, and tools. A foolproof cybersecurity solution takes all three of these aspects into picture and takes care of potential risks proactively.

Cigniti’s on-point cybersecurity assessment capabilities support the businesses worldwide in their fight against cyber crimes. We have immense experience in serving clients across different industry verticals and organization sizes. Our Web application penetration testing uncovers vulnerabilities in applications and ensures the application risks are minimized. With a proprietary cybersecurity framework, our Security TCoE consists of dedicated teams of security testing specialists with deep expertise spanning multiple domains/industries, cutting-edge technological resources/tools. Connect with us today.