Whether it's ransomware, phishing or social engineering, do you think your cyberattack protection measures are sufficient or that your company is unattractive to hackers? The problem with this line of thinking: Every company has data that is relevant to cybercriminals -- whether you are a small or medium-sized business or a publicly traded company.
What is a cyberattack?
What are the consequences of cyberattacks?
- Loss of confidential or sensitive data
- Industrial espionage and competitive disadvantage through the theft of trade secrets and intellectual property
- Reputational damage and associated loss of customers and business partners
- Financial losses in the form of ransom payments in the event of ransomware attacks, production downtime, recovery costs, or lost revenue
- Legal consequences with liability claims due to data breaches or violations of industry-specific regulations and compliance standards
- Threats to critical infrastructures such as power grids, water supply, or transportation services, and thus also to public safety
- High cost of restoring systems and data after a cyberattack
What are the types of cyberattacks?
- Malware: Malware includes various malicious software types such as viruses, worms, Trojans or spyware. Malware is used to infect systems, steal data, encrypt data or cause as much damage as possible to the affected system.
- Ransomware: Also called crypto or encryption Trojans. Hackers encrypt data on the target computer or network or prevent access in order to demand a high ransom for decryption.
- Phishing: In phishing attacks, cybercriminals try to trick users into revealing personal data, passwords, or financial information through fake emails, websites, or messages. For example, a phishing-Trojan looks like normal business communication. However, an attached file contains malicious code that is activated when the attachment is opened.
- Man-in-the-Middle (MitM): Hackers place themselves between communication partners to intercept, monitor or manipulate data traffic without the participants noticing. The goal may be to collect personal data, passwords or banking details, and/or to convince the victim to take an action such as changing login credentials, completing a transaction or initiating a transfer of funds.
- Social engineering: Hackers manipulate people specifically in order to obtain confidential information. In this way, they aim to gain the trust of their victims and persuade them to divulge confidential information, credit card data or passwords.
- Insider threats: This type of attack originates from internal employees, contractors, or other trusted parties who abuse their access rights to steal data, publish information, and thus damage the company.
- Denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS): These attacks aim to cripple a website, server, or network by driving a large amount of traffic, thereby affecting availability to legitimate users. Spoofing: In these cases, a cybercriminal poses as a known or trusted source, and is able to steal information, extort money or install malware. They may use what appears to be a legitimate domain, an email with a forged sender address or other methods of gaining access to confidential data.
- Zero-day exploits: These attacks exploit vulnerabilities in software for which no patch (software update to fix the bug) or security update is available at the time of the attack.
- Spoofing: In these cases, a cybercriminal poses as a known or trusted source and is able to steal information, extort money or install malware. They may use what appears to be a legitimate domain, an email with a forged sender address ot other methods of gaining access to confidential data.
How do cyberattacks usually progress?
Phase 1: Reconnaissance
Phase 2: Initial access
Phase 3: Extend permissions
Phase 4: Extending privileges
Phase 5: Execution
Ten tips for protecting your company against cyberattacks
- Create security awareness through regular training as well as raising employee awareness of the threat of cyberattacks and the importance of safe behaviors when using email, links and downloads.
- Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts and update them regularly.
- Ensure operating systems, applications, and security solutions are up to date to address known security vulnerabilities.
- Implement firewalls and reliable antivirus and antimalware solutions to monitor traffic and detect malicious activity.
- Perform regular backups of all critical data and implement a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy to quickly restore everything in the event of an emergency.
- Encrypt confidential data to ensure that unauthorized parties cannot gain access.
- Implement two-factor authentication to increase account protection.
- Implement real-time monitoring and network traffic analysis tools to detect suspicious activity early.
- Conduct regular security audits and penetration tests to identify and address vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure.
- Create a detailed contingency plan that includes clear instructions on what to do in the event of a cyberattack, and make sure all employees are informed.