No network is 100% safe no matter how many security procedures are in place. What is a successful cyber attack and what puts you at risk?
Several studies have shown that it takes a long time for organizations to realize their IT infrastructure network has been hacked resulting in a successful cyber attack. There are several steps to a successful cyber attack and we will address how to mitigate your risk.
- Cyber Criminal Observation
Cyber criminals like to plan things out carefully. They check out a situation before launching a cyber attack. They first identify their targets and then plan on the best way to exploit them including what is their business structure and are there any weak links within the organization? The cyber criminals need a single point of entrance to get started. One major threat is from targeted phishing emails. These are very common and used actively.
- Targeted Scanning
Once cyber criminals have identified a target, the strategic step is to identify a weak point that allows them to gain access. They accomplish this scanning your entire IT infrastructure with tools easily found on the Internet. This is a slow process that can last months as the cyber criminals search for network security vulnerabilities.
- Unauthorized Network Access
This is where the plan really steps up. Now that they have found your weaknesses, the next step in the successful cyber attack is to gain unauthorized network access while undetected. Usually cyber criminals moved around the network freely with little to stand in their way. Cyber criminals steal credentials, change their privileges to administrator. Once they gain administrator privileges, they have been successful.
- Long-term Stay
Cyber criminals do not leave networks. When they gain unrestricted access, they usually stay for a while and very quietly. Cyber criminals will install malicious programs including root kits that allow them to return with the same administrative rights. This allows them to no longer depend on a single access point.
- Cyber Attack and Assault
Data is worth more than disruption and fortunately this step is not taken always taken. If it is taken, the cyber criminals can alter hardware or even disable the hardware. During a successful cyber attack, it is usually done in stealth mode as the cyber criminals have taken control of your IT infrastructure.
How do you protect yourself from a successful cyber attack?
Many organizations have been breached at least once and not even aware of it. There are many perimeter security tools including firewalls however they are a starting point in protection against advanced, targeted successful cyber attacks.
The crucial key to blocking a successful cyber attack is to control user rights on the network. Administrative access is king. Develop a reality about cyber criminals can do and plan your cybersecurity around it. Take a simple and basics approach to focusing on protecting what matters most to your organization with solid IT team behind you. Finally, create a good contingency plan and test it to ensure it works.
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