Facing the advance of digital transformation and the sophistication of threats, implementing practices and tools that favor Cybersecurity has become a strategic element.
In fact, an event of theft or kidnapping of information can generate serious losses for businesses, whether of a commercial or financial nature.
If you are looking for information on the main aspects of Cybersecurity, understanding in depth what it is and what it is for, you have come to the right place!
In the following lines, you will find detailed information on the most relevant points about this topic such as:
Examples of malicious attacks;
And much more!
Read on and deepen your knowledge on Cybersecurity!
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting data and other computing assets such as servers, mobile devices, networks, and systems against cyber threats and attacks. Thus, its main objective is to prevent or minimize the damage inherent to the invasion of software and hardware.
However, for a Cybersecurity strategy to be effective and prevent attacks, it needs to evolve as new threats and technologies appear.
So, it must be constantly reviewed in order to find alternatives that can optimize it, thus guaranteeing its efficiency in the face of emerging malicious events.
Likewise, the scope of good results and the minimization of vulnerabilities depend on the way in which cybersecurity is approached. In this sense, it is advisable to work on it at various levels, from the physical networks to the position of the user of the business system.
Therefore, Cybersecurity is a set of practices, tools, and processes that not only safeguard IT assets but also foster innovation and add value to the business.
What are the main types of computer security?
After presenting the concept of Cybersecurity and the importance of prioritizing it and adapting your strategy according to new technological trends and virtual threats, it is time to provide you with information on the main types of Cybersecurity.
Considered the most robust type and with the highest level of security, protection practices focus on devices used to monitor network traffic or verify a system.
In other words, they are security resources whose main objective is to prevent communications from taking place in an unprotected environment open to loss, theft, and/or data interception.
Among the main representatives of the group, we highlight hardware firewalls and proxy servers.
Another good example of tools for this purpose are security modules. These resources are useful for supplying encrypted keys focused on data encryption, decryption and authentication, that is, critical level functions.
It is worth mentioning that hardware security is also the basis for applications dedicated to the protection of devices and computers against any kind of breakdown or damage.
Software security promotes the protection of programs and applications against different types of risks such as cybercriminal attacks with the intention of guaranteeing the correct functioning of corporate software.
To do so, they take advantage of development engineering processes and practices, as well as protection techniques from the beginning of a program or application project.
So these resources make it possible to:
Ensure data integrity;
Authenticate the information under different mechanisms;
As the advancement of technology has led to the creation of increasingly complex programs, the security environment must be dedicated to studying the different problems that can generate gaps and vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows and inherent design flaws.
It is important to point out that all programs that connect to the network are exposed in one way or another to the action of malicious agents. For this reason, the need to incorporate increasingly effective and specific protection dynamics with higher levels of security is unquestionable.
This type of security is responsible for protecting networks with the aim of:
Optimize data flow security.
To implement an efficient network security strategy, it is important to consider numerous methods and threats that enable the introduction or diffusion of connected devices. Among the most common types of network attacks, we highlight:
Trojan horses, worm programs, and viruses;
Malicious user attacks (hackers);
Invasive propaganda (adware);
Spy programs (spyware);
Interception, theft, or kidnapping of business, private and customer data (ransomware);
Denial of service attacks (DDoS - Distributed Denial of Service attacks).
Facing so many kinds of threats, there is no single and definitive protection solution, so various levels and instances of security must be implemented, from perimeter protection tools such as firewalls to internal response and action mechanisms when events have already occurred.
This is very important since if the attack manages to affect one level, the others can stop the threat, thus minimizing the damage to the network.
So promoting network security involves the combination of multiple components such as antispyware, antivirus, firewalls, intrusion prevention models (IPS), and virtual private networks - known as VPNs.
To maximize the level of protection, it is essential that the tools work synergistically, thus promoting the security of the different levels.
What are the most common threats?
31% of companies in Latin America perceive an increase in cyberattacks since the pandemic, according to an extensive market survey conducted by Microsoft and Marsh.
Next, we present a list of the 5 most common types of attacks:
Basically, ransomware is a kind of malware that criminals use to hijack a victim's device and collect a ransom amount.
To gain financial advantage, they often request payment in virtual currency - like cryptocurrencies, for example - since it is virtually impossible to trace the malicious actor.
Regarding data access, the cybercriminal uses a virus that, upon entering the device, encrypts the system data so that the user cannot access it unless they pay the ransom requested by the malicious individual or group.
Cybercriminals are focused on using increasingly dangerous and sophisticated ransomware techniques as is the case with Ryuk.
For this reason, it is essential that companies adopt preventive measures such as the use and permanent activation of firewalls and the update of the system following the recommendations of the supplier.
2. Distributed Denial of Service Attack
According to the NETSCOUT research “Threat Intelligence report Issue 7”, in 2021, there has been an 11% annual increase in the number of distributed denial-of-service attacks globally. This record number reflects the 5.4 million attempts reported up to the time of the study.
Basically, DDoS attacks consist of malicious events whose main objective is to increase traffic to a site to the point of causing it to go down and become a threat to corporate operations.
In this way, this type of event takes advantage of the capacity limitations inherent in network resources by sending a large number of requests precisely with the aim of overloading it and preventing it from working correctly.
By overflowing the capacity of their target, criminals can request payment of a certain amount to stop the attack. However, many malicious individuals or groups launch it with the intention of damaging a company's image and reputation.
In general terms, a botnet consists of a network of computer devices infected by a malicious agent, thus enabling its remote management. This attack on different devices has as its most notable objectives:
Launch DDoS attacks.
So remote control allows criminals to implement their plan without the consent of third parties, in this case, the owners or users of the equipment.
So, we can say that the infected computers or zombie army have been hijacked by malware installed by cybercriminals who are often thousands of miles away from their target company.
By taking control of devices, criminals can access a large amount of private information, thus optimizing their bargaining power with the victim.
That said, it is easy to understand why this type of attack is one of the most dangerous and damaging threats today.
Spyware is a spying software that can be installed on devices without the consent of its users. Once installed on its target, the program can monitor data history, private information of users, and most importantly, monitor online activities.
Since it is very difficult to detect and runs all operations in the background, it has become an extremely dangerous threat for businesses, especially since it can remain active on devices for a long time.
This is the cyberattack that has increased the most in Latin America since the pandemic, according to the joint study by Microsoft and Marsh cited above.
In a simple way, we can define phishing as a fraudulent action whose main objective is to access personal, commercial, and private data such as passwords and credit and debit card numbers without the authorization of the owner.
For this, the malicious individual projects and/or uses websites, applications, and emails to steal the data you care about. In order to be successful, they even assume the identity of a trustworthy and reputable company or person to send attractive messages to their victim.
Then, they wait for the user to click on the infected media by either entering the site or application or opening the message. Often, these actions are enough for the victim to enable access to their information.
It is important to point out that this type of cyber threat is one of the most successful since it uses different ways to deceive its victims.
Hence the need to train contributors to only open messages, click on sites and links, or download trustworthy materials, but this is a topic we will cover later.
Examples of recent attacks
In the following lines, we present some examples of recent malicious events that have made many managers reflect on the level of Cybersecurity in their businesses.
In February 2020, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon's cloud services platform, suffered a serious DDoS attack.
The criminals' goal was to affect an unidentified AWS client company but to do so, they needed access to vulnerable third-party servers.
Then, they amplified between 56 and 70 times the amount of data sent to the victim's IP. During the 3 days of the attack, the data flow reached a maximum peak of 2.3 terabytes/second.
In June of the same year, the giant Google removed 116 extensions with malicious code that ignored security checks of Chrome Web Store, as they were collecting data without authorization and violating other user privacy and security regulations. The spyware event affected approximately 32 million Chrome users.
The Emotet Threat
Despite attempts to take down the Emotet botnet in January 2021, in recent times, the cyber threat hatched by a former Ryuk member has come to life sending large-scale phishing campaigns to Latin American countries such as Uruguay, Peru, and Mexico. It is worth remembering that from 2014 to the beginning of last year, the fraudulent operation caused economic damage of approximately USD 2.5 billion.
As you can see, threats are a constant in the routine of organizations, regardless of their size or sector. Thus, any company can be left in the eye of the vortex and suffer the effects of an attack!
To mitigate the damage, nothing better than having a good computer security strategy that covers different levels and takes into account the reality of the business.
How to manage Cybersecurity efficiently?
After talking about Cyber security and attack examples, it is time to provide you with the 9 best tips to optimize protection of your company's data:
1. Invest in a solid Cybersecurity policy
If you want to invest in Cybersecurity and be successful, it is imperative that you move forward by structuring an internal data protection policy. Basically, this type of regulation covers a set of guidelines inherent to:
Proper management of business information;
Use of mobile devices;
Privacy of internal documents.
In addition to addressing these points, the company can add other aspects that it believes are relevant given its internal and external reality.
2. Implement access control measures
The use of robust authentication solutions ensures that only authorized users access confidential company information.
In this sense, a well-structured key policy helps minimize Cybersecurity problems in organizations, especially through the use of strong and regularly changed passwords.
MFA (Multi-factor authentication) integrates keys and codes sent by SMS, among other means, providing a higher level of security. Because the codes are constantly changing, cybercriminals are unable to gain access to the system and data.
3. Monitor networks and systems
Monitoring consists of a powerful Cybersecurity pillar. By virtue of its relevance, it is essential to periodically verify organizational systems by performing high-tech analysis, testing, and tracking.
It is important to keep in mind that the high incidence of cyber attacks in the corporate environment requires attention and they are events that may eventually affect your business.
From this perspective, you should be aware that just because your company has not been targeted on other occasions, it does not mean that it is free to coincide with a malicious event. In this way, preventing and planning strategies in the event of attacks configures the best alternative.
When it comes to networks, another valuable measure is to adopt the Intranet, that is, to isolate the connection. This cybersecurity resource consists of an exclusive connection of the company that works as a bridge between the internal environment and the Internet.
So organizational devices do not connect directly to the Internet, thus avoiding exposing private data to malicious third parties.
4. Implement a VPN
The implementation of a Virtual Private Network, VPN, guarantees reliable connectivity using cryptography as a data protection mechanism.
In general terms, the VPN network allows the secure connection of devices even when accessed from public Wi-Fi hotspots. So it is positioned as a very useful resource for companies that carry out remote work and often do not know where their collaborators are connecting from.
5. Train employees
In addition to focusing on measures related to technology, it is essential to train employees not only to use the tools efficiently but also to adopt postures that promote a Cybersecurity environment such as:
Identify potential threats such as emails with malicious content;
Do not inform third parties of your identification codes in the system;
Close your session every time you need to walk away from your machine;
Only enter secure sites.
These simple precautions are essential to increase the level of information security in any business, regardless of its segment.
6. Take regular backups
Making backup copies of operating systems are ideal procedures to increase data and information security.
The relevance lies in the fact that, in the event of a virus, file invasion or any other situation that endangers information assets, the copies preserve their integrity avoiding losses that affect the operations, compliance and efficiency of the business.
7. Upgrade equipment
In addition to optimizing the efficiency of the systems, regular updates are important because they strengthen the barriers against cyber-attacks. This occurs because vendors keep an eye on new threat trends, which enables them to develop more efficient prevention and confrontation mechanisms.
Therefore, keep an eye out for updates suggested by vendors and install them as soon as possible. This will help you minimize the incidence of fraudulent events, or at least lessen the damage.
8. Use technology in favor of Cybersecurity
Fortunately, computer security techniques have evolved hand in hand with digital transformation and considering cyberthreat trends.
Having the right technology to deal with new types of attacks has become a matter of survival, especially when we consider the number of companies that have suffered significant financial losses as a result of the action of third parties.
9. Consider the NIST cybersecurity framework
This framework, applicable to companies of all sizes, is aimed at reducing cyber risks based on a solid understanding and management of them.
Through this framework, the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the United States provides a common language and list of best practices, which includes risk assessments and prioritized action plans to address the gaps between digitization and protection, among other aspects.
What are the most effective tools?
These systems prevent a large part of cyber crimes, as well as warn about the presence of Trojan Horses, malware, registry and system alterations, worms, and file errors.
This resource allows closing deals and accepting agreements online in a secure and extremely reliable way. The software uses a recognition and protection mechanism that prevents third parties from entering and using the electronic signature, while most of the cloud solutions, allow the storage of documents in a secure environment.
Many companies provide devices to their work teams. Since we cannot completely control the occurrence of events that lead to its loss - theft or loss, the company needs to implement tools that locate each device and can clean confidential data remotely.
Firewalls have the main objective of monitoring Internet traffic, detecting users and blocking unauthorized users from entering the corporate environment.
The most recent versions are highly advanced, being able to identify threats and classify files according to different parameters.
The use of threat intelligence allows monitoring the integrity of IT software through reliable technical support, recurring maintenance, and test control.
For this solution to provide superior results, it is important that it is based on 3 pillars:
Evaluation of the level of Cybersecurity to detect weak points, gaps, risks, and poor results;
Structuring of a cyber security plan considering different time horizons;
Management of daily Cybersecurity operations to prevent them from becoming obstacles to business.
In short, the optimization of Cybersecurity is a task that demands multiple efforts and requires the commitment of collaborators, leaders, and suppliers that offer protection solutions in accordance with the particularities, demands, and objectives of the business.
Now that you know how important it is to promote Cybersecurity, what do you think if you request the support of experts to verify the security level of your business? On our cybersecurity assessment page, you will find more information about it, as well as access to to receive advice.