Cyber threats have existed since technology began to be used in companies and organizations. But the evolution of the technology world in the 21st century has changed the landscape: the famous “security perimeter” no longer exists, and our digital data and assets are located in different places and constantly moving, making it difficult to protect against threats.
Mobile devices, cloud services, or the location of digital assets in changing places, sometimes outside our borders, have blurred that perimeter. This has led to a new era in which organizations face global risks.
Cybercrime as a service (CaaS)
Today, malicious actors have professionalized and many operate as international organized crime groups.
These groups “rent out” their attack and encryption tools in affiliate models, meaning that criminals with lower levels of preparation can access powerful attack tools in exchange for sharing their profits.
At the same time, the technological advance that protects organizations has been matched by malicious actors who remain at the forefront of the latest technologies and techniques. In some key legal issues, such as the practical impossibility of attributing criminal offenses in certain areas of the Internet, such as the dark web, the impunity of these actors remains.
Main threats today
Among the main threats faced by organizations today are:
- Ransomware: Destructive attacks that encrypt an organization’s data and demand ransom in exchange for the tools and secret keys that allow its recovery.
- Denial of Service (DDoS): Attacks aimed at stopping or deteriorating an organization’s websites or systems. They can be motivated by activism, commissioned, rewarded, etc. The environment is artificially overloaded until it stops working or does so very poorly.
- Email-related attacks and identity theft: Phishing is one of the most used methods. Criminals send “deceptive” messages with links or malicious files that, once opened, infect systems and allow malicious actors to access valuable organization information.
- Data theft: Malicious actors take over large amounts of an organization’s data and exfiltrate it (possibly using the company’s own legitimate mechanisms) to be sold, auctioned, etc.
- Malware: Other families of malicious software are frequently used to harm systems (viruses), spy (backdoors, keyloggers, etc.), or profit. For example, “miners” are programs that mine cryptocurrencies in the infrastructure without the company being aware, generating economic benefits for the malicious actor.
- Insiders: Sometimes the “enemy is at home” and they are employees or collaborators who act out of revenge or to obtain economic benefit.
How to protect yourself against these threats?
For any company, SME, and organization, protection against these threats must be approached from a holistic and comprehensive perspective, considering all relevant and interrelated aspects. A solid Cybersecurity strategy must take into account both prevention and detection and response to incidents.
Therefore, for companies and organizations, it is essential to:
- Carry out good information security management, which includes identifying the organization’s critical assets, assessing risks, defining security measures, and implementing appropriate controls.
- Have clear security policies and procedures that establish the responsibilities and obligations of employees and other actors related to the organization, as well as how to act in case of an incident.
- Offer good training and awareness in Cybersecurity for all employees of the organization, so that they are aware of the risks and know how to act in case of an incident.
- Have monitoring and analysis systems for network and system activity that allow early detection of possible security incidents and enable quick action to minimize damage.
- Design a Cybersecurity incident response plan that establishes the procedures to be followed in case of an incident, including notification to authorities and the management of communication with customers and other stakeholders.
Other measures that can help protect an organization against cybersecurity threats include the use of advanced technological security solutions, such as firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection systems, and vulnerability management solutions.
Cybersecurity poses real threats to all organizations, and it is essential to protect a company’s assets and data.
Threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and dangerous, and organizations must stay up-to-date with the latest trends and threats in the field of cybersecurity to ensure adequate protection and be prepared to effectively face them.
A comprehensive security approach, including technological measures, security policies, and staff training, is essential to minimize risks.
Featured photo: Stefano Pollio / Unsplash