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Decoding Digital Dangers 1

Decoding Digital Dangers: Common Cybersecurity Threats Explained – Part 1

Have you heard the phrase “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight”? Well, this phrase holds the same truth within the realms of modern cybersecurity. There are a wide range of dangers in our industry and one must know what they are, to properly prepare for the battle against these. The sheer volume of these risks alone should emphasize how critical it is to comprehend them while also developing mitigation solutions.

One might ask, well what are a few common threats that we as cybersecurity professionals should look out for in this constantly changing digital environment? This series was created to highlight just that. In this first installment, we will cover Phishing (BEC Attacks), Malware Attacks, and Insider Threats.

  1. Phishing Attacks:

Phishing attacks are the most common form of cybersecurity threats. This is where an attacker masquerades as a legitimate entity to “reel” victims into revealing sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card information. Phishing attacks often take the form of emails, website pop-ups, or text messages. Which stresses the importance of always verifying that you are communicating with whom the entity states they are.

Once a successful Phishing Attack has occurred this can lead to a Business Email Compromise or BEC for short. As Cybersecurity professionals we must empower ourselves against BECs. Implementing the following recommended strategies can assist in strengthening your cybersecurity posture:

Motions to Mitigate:

A few ways to stay proactive against Phishing attempts are:

  • User Education and Training: Provide regular cybersecurity training and awareness programs to educate users about the risks of phishing.
    • The SecurIT360 SOC Team can assist with this through our KnowBe4 managed services. Through this service, we can set up Phishing Simulations along with Awareness Training.
  • Email Filtering and Authentication: Implement email filtering solutions to block or flag potential phishing emails before they reach users. Configure email authentication protocols like DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) to verify the authenticity of incoming emails.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enforce MFA for email and other critical accounts. Even if a phishing attack results in stolen credentials, MFA can provide an additional layer of security.
    • SIEM and MDR services can even help to identify and respond to suspicious MFA activity. These services can collect and analyze logs from a variety of sources, including MFA devices, applications, and servers. This data can be used to identify patterns of behavior that may indicate an attack, such as MFA Bombing, logins sourced from known malicious IPs, and logins originating from non-approved countries.
    •  As a SecurIT360 SOC MDR client, we can add this particular log source type in our SIEM solution to best accommodate your environment’s real-time monitoring.
  • Phishing Simulations: Conduct phishing simulations and tests within your organization to assess user awareness and response. Use the results to tailor training and awareness efforts.

Additional helpful articles for improving awareness of BEC attacks/Phishing:

  1. Malware Attacks: 

Malware, short for malicious software, refers to any software designed to damage or disrupt a computer system. Types of malware include viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and adware. Malware attacks typically involve the installation of this malicious software onto a victim’s device without their knowledge, leading to data loss or theft. Another way Malware can be downloaded unknowingly is by clicking unfamiliar links such as from a Phishing email. This illustrates how some of these attacks can be combined to get what the Threat Actor is after.

Motions to Mitigate:

Malware can be a pest but implementing the following can assist in reducing the appearance in your environment:

  • Application Whitelisting: Implement application whitelisting, which allows only authorized and known applications to run on endpoints. This can prevent unapproved applications, including malware, from executing.
  • Network Monitoring and Alerting: Implementing network monitoring tools to detect unusual network traffic and behaviors that may indicate a malware infection can be helpful.
    • The SecurIT360 SOC Team can assist with this through our 24/7/365 operations of real-time monitoring and utilization of MDR and EDR solutions.
      • Through our EDR services, we can detect User Behavior Analytics to assist with determining baseline behaviors in comparison to anomalies.
  1. Insider Threats: 

Insider threats involve cybersecurity threats that originate from within an organization. These can be intentional – for instance, a disgruntled employee causing harm – or unintentional, such as an employee unknowingly clicking on a phishing link or accidentally uploading sensitive login credentials of your company’s own infrastructure on a site like GitHub (In reference to:

Motions to Mitigate:

  • Least Privilege Access: Limit user and system access to only the resources and data required for their tasks. This principle minimizes the potential impact of a ransomware infection.
    • A great way to test your current Access Controls is by performing a Pentest. It is recommended to get a Penetration Test done once to twice a year at a minimum. If a Pentest is something your organization is interested in having conducted, contact SecurIT360’s Offsec Department to set up an engagement.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Use DLP solutions to monitor and prevent the unauthorized transfer or leakage of sensitive data. This can help prevent both accidental and intentional data breaches.
  • Secure Offboarding: Ensure that when employees leave the organization, their access is immediately revoked. This includes disabling accounts, collecting company-owned devices, and updating access control lists.
  • Data Access Auditing: Implement auditing and logging for data access to track who accessed sensitive data and when.
  • Secure Mobile Device Management (MDM): Manage and secure mobile devices that employees use for work, including the ability to remotely wipe devices in case of loss or theft.

All mitigation strategies require a comprehensive approach that includes a combination of technology, user education, and proactive security measures. By implementing these practices, your organization can significantly reduce its vulnerabilities and minimize potential damage.

One takeaway is the mantra of the “12 P’s”:

“Positive Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance; Piss Poor Performance Promotes Pain” and we don’t want your organization to experience the pain of improper preparation.

Understanding the common cybersecurity threats listed in this first installment is the initial step toward strengthening your cybersecurity defenses. Your organization’s defenses should mimic that of an Onion. An onion has many layers to it and your defense should follow this same blueprint. We recommend investing in regular staff training and maintaining a culture of cybersecurity awareness to protect against these threats along with utilizing robust cybersecurity solutions. For instance, utilizing a Cybersecurity Framework could be essential to your business long term.

To get more information on implementing the best Cybersecurity Framework for your environment, check out: The Building Blocks of Cyber Defense: Why Your Business Needs a Cybersecurity Framework – SecurIT360

If your company needs expert cyber security and IT services for ongoing risk management and operational excellence, such as SOC services, please contact us here at SecurIT360 to be of assistance: Contact – SecurIT360.

Additionally, be sure to be on the lookout for the second installment of this Decoding Digital Dangers: Common Cybersecurity Threats Explained series releasing in the coming weeks.

Proactively Guard Your Business From Cybersecurity and IT Threats. Request a Free Consultation Today.