Hardly a day goes by without a high-profile cyber attack or data breach making the front page news. However, it is important to recognise and understand what is happening in the threat landscape, and more importantly, what can be done to prevent your organisation from becoming another one of the hundreds and thousands of cyber attack victims.
Here are the top 5 trends in cybersecurity threats that we are seeing right now.
Phishing attacks have been on the rise for a while now, mainly due to its success rate and ability to enable threat actors to carry out bigger and more impactful attacks. By impersonating a person or company that are known and trusted, phishing attacks lure people in to clicking malicious links or attachments – often asking for payment details or installing vicious software onto your device.
With regard to mitigating against phishing attacks, there are a couple of simple and cost-effective ways to prevent, or at least significantly reduce the quantity and impact. Running regular security awareness training with users in your organisation will educate on how to identify a phishing email and best practices for dealing with them. Additionally, a number of tools are available which will directly flag any emails deemed suspicious due to its content and/or sender details.
Quite often the ‘Step Two’ to phishing attacks, ransomware is when data of the victim is encrypted and held hostage until a fee is paid. Ransomware is often supplemented with a threat to leak the data, therefore increasing the impact of the attack by inciting the victim to pay the ransom for fear of a high-profile data leak and the financial and brand reputational damage that comes with it. The latest statistics show that an organisation falls victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds. Hardly time for an Olympic sprinter to run 100m.
Malicious emails are the number one cause of ransomware attacks so putting in place the solutions to prevent phishing attacks will certainly help. Taking steps to secure applications running in your network is also important and there are a number of tools which can help with this. It is also important to manage access to applications through a strong password policy; don’t share passwords and change them regularly at the very least.
With significant changes in the way we work taking place over the last 18 months or so brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, insider threats have become a major cybersecurity threat. Operating a remote workforce has reduced the visibility and control that IT security teams have of the workforce to some extent. Insider threats are not always malicious and can be accidental so security awareness training, strong password and access management policies will go a long way to preventing insider threats.
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are when websites are hit with an onslaught of traffic in an attempt to sabotage its performance, making the service unavailable. Due to its very nature, DDoS attacks are frequent in the retail industry and have been spiked by the increase in online shopping, especially as shops and retail spaces closed down due to Covid-19 restrictions. Preventing DDoS attacks can be achieved by reducing the attack surface area through limiting the number of ports, protocols, or applications. It is also important to monitor traffic volume and have an understanding of what is ‘normal’ so that you are able to act quickly when you see high volumes of unusual activity.
IT budgets have been heavily restricted as the economy struggled to deal with the effects of Coronavirus. As a result, many organisations are using old devices and running software that isn’t up to date and equipped to deal with the latest security threats. In many cases it is actually possible to put in place up to date solutions and services whilst reducing overall IT spend, therefore protecting the longevity of the organisation. Carrying out regular audits of your IT infrastructure whilst assessing any alternative solutions can help to unlock cost savings whilst bolstering your security posture.
If any of these are a pressing concern for you, our in-house Consultancy Team who will be happy to discuss further.