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Navigating Through The Web of Threats.

A Brief Guide to Developing Your Cybersecurity Defense Strategy

The Stark Reality of the Cyber Landscape

It is no secret that for every data breach headlining the news, countless others go unreported. What is staggering is the sheer number of successful cyberattacks that occur daily. In 2023 alone, the FBI recorded 880,418 complaints, amounting to total damages exceeding 12.5 billion. And it is estimated that only 20% of attacks are ever reported.

Most commons attack types

  • Business Email Compromise – A type of phishing where cybercriminals impersonate company executives or trusted partners.
  • Data Destruction by either encrypting or irreversibly deleting your data
  • Direct Systems attack resulting in paralysis of the business operations
  • Online Extortion – Your sensitive data would be held hostage with the threat to release publicly unless ransom is paid
  • Identity Theft – Impersonation of an individual based on private information gathered

Strict vigilance is necessary as cyber criminals continue to adjust their tactics. However, although these incidents often conjure images of sophisticated, “Mission Impossible”-style infiltration, the reality tends to be more mundane, like a user unknowingly granting access to an attacker by simply clicking on a link in a a phishing email. 

The Colonial Pipeline incident was triggered by a compromised VPN password discovered on the dark web, which lacked multi-factor authentication (MFA). The cyberattack on UnitedHealthcare’s Change Healthcare Systems in January 2024 impacted one in three Americans. It took over a month and a rumored $22 million in ransom before the systems were fully operational again. The methods used in this attack had not been disclosed at the time of writing. However, the methods commonly employed by the ‘Black Cat’ group behind the attack often involve multiple stages, ultimately leading to their control of an internal host from which they silently launch their attack.

It makes you wonder, if a multi-billion-dollar organization like UnitedHealthcare could not protect itself from such an attack, what chances does a small business have?

There is Hope

These incidents serve as a stark reminder of the persistent cyber threats that all businesses face. They highlight the necessity of comprehensive cybersecurity strategies, encompassing employee awareness, robust defense mechanisms, and proactive incident response planning.

Don’t be complacent – while large organizations are frequent targets, small businesses are not exempt and are often perceived as easier prey due to inadequate defenses. It’s crucial for businesses of all sizes to adopt a multi-faceted cybersecurity approach, including:

  • Employ a well-prepared defensive team.
  • Do not overly rely on tools. Focus on the humans; the tools are simply there to assist them in protecting you.
  • Encrypt all sensitive data at rest to safeguard it, even post-breach.
  • Ensure immutable backups of all critical data are in place.
  • Implement regular cybersecurity awareness training for employees.
  • Have a clear incident response plan and run periodic drills.
  • Utilize threat intelligence for proactive defense measures.

In conclusion, cybersecurity is a continuous effort that demands vigilance and dedication. Our adversaries are professionals, dedicating full-time hours to breaching defenses. Matching their commitment is imperative to protect your business assets and maintain operational integrity. Ensure that your security team is proactively defending your business. If you are understaffed, partnering with a full-service Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is highly recommended. This approach will relieve the challenge of hiring a full-time cybersecurity expert or adding to your existing IT staff’s capabilities.