11 Nov Best practices for cyber-attack prevention in 2021
Best practices for cyber-attack prevention in 2021
Cyber attacks and cyber threats are growing in prevalence and frequency in 2021. The nature of the attacks and threats are becoming much more complex and are constantly evolving as the threat actors are becoming more technologically progressive and the large surface area available for the attackers due to distributed workforce. Cyber criminals have complex codes, exploit systems and resources at their disposal to carry out sophisticated attacks. Although there are no guarantees or assurances that an organisational network will be bereft of an attack, there are certain safe hygiene practises an organisation can follow to reduce risk and vulnerabilities. Organisations can implement the following preventive measures to prevent top cyber-attacks from malicious or threat actors.
What is a cyber-attack?
Cyber-attack is a kind of online attack on the security system of an organisation which aims to exploit the weakness and vulnerability in a system and cause a data breach and data leak. The threat actors or cyber criminals aim to destroy, steal, alter, disrupt or gain unauthorised access to the system through cyber-attacks.
Steps to prevent cyber attacks
Incorporate zero trust approach: Zero trust approach follows the ‘never trust, always verify’ principle and eliminates the concept of trust from the network architecture which helps in preventing data breaches. The zero-trust approach leverages network segmentation, prevents lateral movement of data, adopts a threat prevention method and simplifies granular user control. This approach states that trust is a vulnerability and the network users need to identify themselves or provide some sort of credibility to gain access. In the zero-trust approach, the protect surface is identified which contains sensitive and critical data and the zero-trust approach is implemented on the protect surface which creates a sturdy micro permitter difficult to penetrate.
Read Also: ZERO TRUST SECURITY – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Invest in Email protection and security tools: Most of the cyber-attacks get their launch pad through phishing mails. Phishing mails are mails send to employees containing malicious codes and links in which a cybercriminal masquerades as an official source and forces or tricks users to divulge personal information which causes data breach and leaks. Investing in Email security tools helps the organisation to constantly monitor malicious mails and add an extra layer of security which mitigates the threat.
Frequent monitoring and conducting network audits regularly: The evolving threat landscape has enabled the attackers with a sophisticated set of breach and exploit tools. The attackers through these tools are constantly looking out for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a system to exploit. Regular audits and monitoring the network system helps in detecting vulnerabilities and risks in a system beforehand and helps in attack prevention. Constant monitoring also helps in checking whether the prevention layer or the security system implemented is working as per the design and organisation’s security policies.
Enable multi factor authentication: Multi factor authentication as the name suggests is an authentication method or a process which requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a data or an application. In the first verification stage the user is told to provide the username and password to login or access data. In the second authentication stage a text message, for instance a one-time password is sent to the users second device which he has registered for authentication The user is suppose to enter the OTP to login into his or her account. MFA blocks the access of your system to threat actors who have gained your personal login credentials through fraudulent means. MFA also sets up an alert trigger and alerts the user of the unauthorised access being attempted. The user can then implement preventive measures to prevent data access.
Use a password manager or a password vault: The employees nowadays have to remember truckloads of passwords for multiple accounts they use simultaneously. Often employees due to the convenience factor use the same password across multiple accounts which makes it easy for the cyber criminals to gain access or hack multiple accounts. Password manager not only helps you in creating a strong password but also lets you store different passwords for different accounts in its safety vault. You just need to remember one password, that is of the password manager to gain access to your set of multiple passwords for different accounts.
Educate and train your team: Although organisations are investing heavily on security infrastructure they often tend to ignore or overlook the importance of training their employees. It is often said that humans are biggest threat to keep an organisation safe. The cyber criminals are jumping and circumventing the network security systems through social engineering attacks like phishing, vishing and spear phishing to gain unauthorised access. Educating and training staff members makes them more technically adept and aware of an attack that enables them to detect an ongoing attack and to take preventive measures to thwart that attack.
Backup your systems: Backing up your systems containing critical information on a regular basis is considered as a very good security practise. Store the backup data in an encrypted system and on a separate network all together. Data backups help you recover faster in case of a data breach or disruption of services and saves your time, money and resources.
Employ robust data governance policies: The network security system should be data centric and there should be strong data governing policies in place to prevent data breaches and leaks. Data governance includes reviewing the data on your system, categorizing the data based on their usefulness and efficacy, preventing unwanted access to the data, segmenting the data and then creating a back up for critical data. Some good data governing policies are segmenting the data based on their criticality and providing an extra layer of security to the critical data, deleting unwanted data which results in decreased IT costs through infrastructure footprint reduction. The larger the volume of data, more are the costs to manage, store, retrieve, protect and backup the data.