Be Prepared: Organizations will face new, self-propagating, network-based threats in 2018 | By Rod Mac Kenzie

Be Prepared: Organizations will face new, self-propagating, network-based threats in 2018

Here are some thoughts I had after reading the CISCO annual CyberSecurity report. In 2017, cybercriminals raised ransomware to a level even higher than expected by the experts.

58% of malware attacks in 2017 hit small businesses. So, if your organization has less than five hundred employees and revenues under $7.5 million, you are a target. The attacks on small companies cost an average of $1,207,965 because of the theft of IT assets, disruption to normal business operations. Can you afford a data breach? The SamSam campaign of March was the first large-scale attack to remove the user from the infection process and instead utilized the network to automate the propagation of itself. In 2017 cybercriminals combined: worm-like” functionality to cause widespread damage. In May 2017 the now infamous WannaCry ransomware utilized a crypto worm to spread like wildfire across the Internet. WannaCry leveraged a Microsoft Windows security vulnerability called EternalBlue. WannaCry extorted more than US$143,000 through bitcoin payments. It is unknown how many organizations received the decryption key after paying the WannaCry cybercriminals.

IT or CyberSecurity teams are having difficulty defending both IoT and cloud environments.

The main reason for the difficulty is the lack of clarity around who is responsible for protecting the environment. Is it the IT- CyberSecurity team or the CFO? Will your organization be prepared when cybercriminals attack and how quickly can your organization recover? Your cybersecurity team should follow steps similar to the actions taken by Discover Computers and Forensics to protect their clients and adhere to best practices. Merely following best practices can reduce exposure to emerging risks, and slow down the cybercriminal’s intrusion.

Here is a short list of “best practices,”
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• Deploy cloud security platforms that can scale as needed.
• Ensure the IT team is adhering to corporate policies for application, system, and patching.
• Consider segmenting the network like a submarine does with sectors that are connected but that can be locked down if a breach occurs to reduce overall exposure.
• Contract with a CyberSecurity team that utilizes next-generation endpoint process monitoring tools.
• Keep your finger on the pulse of threat intelligence data and processes to allow for the newest insights to be incorporated into security monitoring.
• Performing penetration and vulnerability tests at least every six months to ensure the network is stable and safe from attack.
• Practice security response procedures and train employees on common social engineering tactics used by cybercriminals.
• Back up data off-site using a separate cloud-based hosting environment to restore if the local network has been compromised. 
Malware hides its “worm” inside encrypted web traffic and untrained employees sending sensitive data through corporate cloud system, so cybersecurity teams need practical tools to prevent, detect and remediate threats. If you are serious about protecting the company you are building, contact DCF at 770.984.5000 for a free consultation to determine your needs. I hope this article has shed some light on how vital a cyber-strategy is and how vulnerable small and medium-sized businesses are to cyber-threats.
August 3, 2018

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