For businesses, ensuring a strong cyber posture is vital for maintaining credibility in the eyes of customers, investors, and stakeholders and complying with industry-specific standards like HIPAA and PCI DSS. The consequences of a security breach can be devastating. They can include disrupted services, leaked sensitive information, and denial of service to employees and customers.
For any organization to stay protected against these emerging cybersecurity threats, it must stay up-to-date with the latest threats and implement proactive measures to detect and counter sophisticated cyber threats. Continue reading to discover effective measures to detect and counter these novel and advanced cyber threats.
The Importance of In-House Cybersecurity Team
Before we delve into the complex threat detection and prevention world, it’s important to establish the fundamental groundwork for achieving this goal. As the universe of cybersecurity threats continues to expand perpetually, businesses must recognize the importance of having an in-house team comprising cybersecurity specialists, network engineers, and quality assurance experts.
Cybersecurity specialists are qualified individuals who undergo specialized training during their MS cyber security online or on-campus programs and have profound knowledge and experience in preparing for and countering cybersecurity threats. These individuals are the gurus in network and internet security, cryptography, software security, risk assessment, and incident response. With their extensive expertise, cybersecurity specialists can help organizations identify weaknesses in their infrastructure or applications. They can assess both internal and external risks and implement effective security measures to protect digital infrastructure as well as critical applications, databases, local networks, and sensitive organizational information.
Navigating the Ever-Expanding Cyber Threat Landscape
Most organizations are already familiar with common security threats that target digital data and networks, such as malware, Trojans, viruses, etc. While these threats remain effective even today, the threat landscape is growing rapidly.
Novel technologies like AI, ML, and NLP have created opportunities for businesses and organizations and paved the way for cybercriminals to exploit new avenues. With cutting-edge technology, they have invented new ways to breach organizational networks, clouds, and applications and engage in data theft, fabrication, or the complete denial of access to sensitive information and services. Here are some sophisticated cyber threats that have emerged of late, causing unbearable financial and reputational loss to businesses:
- Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): These meticulously planned attacks are executed by highly skilled threat actors and involve multiple stages, leading to network and application infiltration that often goes unnoticed.
- Insider Threats: Despite strict access control, insider threat remains the most hazardous risk for organizations, wherein trusted employees or contractors intentionally or unintentionally compromise the security of sensitive data or networks.
- Ransomware Attacks: These attacks are among the most persistent and successful attacks that have caused significant disruption in services and financial losses to businesses worldwide. In 2022, as many as 76% of organizations fell prey to ransomware, and merely 50% of them managed to regain access to data after ransom payment.
- Supply Chain Attacks: These attacks target potential vulnerabilities in supply chain software, networks, and supporting hardware and can disrupt the entire supply chain within minutes of launching the attack.
- Zero-Day Attacks: In such attacks, hackers exploit vulnerabilities in newly-developed software even before the developers get a chance to address them.
- Social Engineering Attacks: Hackers personally manipulate and trick employees on social networks into providing sensitive information.
- IoT Vulnerabilities: Built-in vulnerabilities in IoT devices serve as a trap door for hackers to infiltrate networks and applications.
Ways to Detect and Counter Sophisticated Cyber Threats
From common security threats to the above-mentioned advanced threat landscape, organizations face a constant battle to protect their valuable data and infrastructure. Here are some effective ways in which organizations can hunt, prevent, and turn down these cybersecurity threats:
1. Network and Application Vulnerability Scanning
Identifying weaknesses in your systems and applications is perhaps the most fundamental yet most effective technique to prevent both active and passive cybersecurity attacks. Cybersecurity specialists, network engineers, and QA experts team up to continuously assess for any weaknesses or trap doors in the system. For this purpose, they perform a variety of scanning tests, including:
- Black-box testing
- White-box testing
- Network penetration testing
- Security code reviews
- Fuzz testing
- Web application pen testing
- Red team exercises
- Security configuration reviews
With these tests, the cybersecurity team can effectively prevent digital infrastructure from various security threats – from ransomware attacks to insider threats, zero-day attacks, DDoS attacks, and supply chain attacks.
2. Employ Proactive Threat Hunting Techniques
Proactive threat hunting is a standardized security practice being followed by reputable organizations worldwide. Contrary to the conventional reactive security methods, this approach emphasizes the following:
- Building a threat intelligence system involves gathering and analyzing detailed information about the latest security threats from various trusted sources and searching for indicators of compromise (IOCs).
- Searching for signs of malicious activity or connection requests from ambiguous sources within or outside your network. For this purpose, cybersecurity specialists analyze logs and monitor network traffic.
- Using AI-powered analytics and machine learning tools to analyze logs and network traffic data and identify anomalies and potential IOCs.
3. Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)
Intrusion detection and prevention systems work by consistently monitoring network traffic, connection requests, and user interaction with the network. These complex tools analyze network activity patterns to detect any intrusion, alert system engineers, and block unauthorized access promptly.
Although these systems have been in use for quite some time, the latest improvements and the use of AI-powered algorithms have increased their accuracy and efficiency to proactively detect any passive or active attack and turn down these attacks before the hackers penetrate the network.
4. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Solutions
SIEM solutions are sophisticated tools that integrate with various systems and applications to collect and analyze logs, identify significant patterns, and generate alerts for potential threats or ongoing attacks. They slightly differ from IDPS as they collect log and network activity data from multiple applications and networks instead of a dedicated network alone. SIEM tools help in proactively identifying potential security events and enable cybersecurity specialists to generate swift responses and mitigate attacks.
As the plague of cyberattacks continues to spread further in the digital world, organizations must reinforce their defenses to shield themselves against the catastrophic impact of cybercrimes. With an in-depth knowledge of the cybersecurity landscape and the above-mentioned strategies, organizations can actively hunt down cybersecurity threats, strengthen their security, and significantly improve their ability to detect, respond to, and mitigate potential cyberattacks.
Featured image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay.