rapidly emerging cyber threats

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Diamonds Are Made Under Pressure

COVID-19 is a reality for most organizations and a driving force behind the rise of cyber security in the United States and other countries.

The pandemic has led to a massive shift of work away, and by April 2021, nearly half of America’s workforce will be working from home. It is very unlikely it will return to the traditional office model entirely anytime soon, if at all. Unless businesses and workers become more comfortable, we can’t expect the US economy to fully reopen its doors to traditional offices by 2021 or 2022, so working from home is the only option.

Remote Workforce

Work from anywhere is a new way for companies to do business, and for employees to access their personal information such as email, social media and other personal information, as well as their work.

With this rapid change, it brings with it a host of security challenges for businesses, but most importantly, the known cyber threats remain. As automation increases, these threats will continue to increase and become more frequent. What five trends do you think will dominate the cybersecurity landscape in 2021 and why? At first glance, it seems clear that such attacks are increasingly automated, and that personal information often comes from corporate websites and social networks.

But these threats can also be shaped by current events, such as recent terrorist attacks in the United States, Russia, China, and other countries.

Fileless Attacks

As the name suggests, it is not based on file-based payloads and generally does not generate new files. While malware and social engineering campaigns are industrialized, cyber criminals assess their attacks based on the results they achieve by accessing the victim’s personal information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and passwords. Phishing emails that exploit victims “ignorance with remote control applications, purporting to contain details and much-needed stimulus checks, are a pandemic. It flies under the radar of many prevention and detection solutions, but if you live in this country, you have to credit it for flying under the radar for many of these threats, even if it is not the most common.

System Tools and Backdoors

A typical fileless attack can start with an email with a link to a malicious website. From this page, a social engineering trick can start a system tool like PowerShell that fetches and executes additional payloads directly in the system memory. Fileless attacks are not new, but recognizing the tools they contain, as opposed to the more traditional files, is a real challenge for traditional defenses.

The use of system tools and backdoors has been around for decades, but the fact that using existing system processes can shorten the cycle of malware development has caused it to move quickly. We have seen attackers increasingly target service providers and misuse their infrastructure management tools to compromise their customers, and the COVID 19 pandemic forced companies to quickly introduce new security solutions for their network infrastructure. However, fileless attacks are not limited to individuals or organizations, as many organizations lack expertise in configuring solutions, not to mention the ability to work with proven providers rather than focusing on free, questionable-quality alternatives.

Such scenarios will inevitably lead to data breaches, and misconfigurations will only increase the risk and expose attackers to even more services. Service compromises can expose organizations to supply-chain attacks that can override organizational security by infiltrating high-level supply networks and delivering payloads through tools they rely on and trust. Server applications, containers, and cloud storage are not always well protected, but cyber criminals see them as the primary target of large-scale attack.

The Takeaway

Companies are seen as compromised business processes in which threat actors exploit systemic and operational weaknesses to generate financial gains. Companies work with a variety of systems such as databases, Systems as – a – Service (SaaS) and – business – to – business (B2B), but sometimes cyber criminals do not detect vulnerabilities in these applications. Attacks on business processes require a comprehensive knowledge of the systems and processes of their victims.

These attacks are often very discreet and start with compromising the network and target systems, where cyber criminals can monitor the organization’s processes and gradually uncover weak connections. If the compromised process continues as expected and leads to different results, the affected organization may not be able to detect the attack in time.

This approach has become more sophisticated, and although we have seen spearhead phishing attacks requiring additional efforts from the actors in the threat, the compromised system data is in most cases shaken by the compromised individuals. By compromising an automatic invoicing tool, attackers can siphon off money by changing the bank account number that is included in future invoices.

This allows the attacker to learn more about the tools and services the company relies on without raising any red flags. By knowing which tools have weak points, they can construct payloads that bring down not only the network, but also the outside world. Cyber criminals can find many networks by compromising individual systems within a network.

As cyber criminals develop their technology and attack strategies, organizations need to adapt their approach to cybersecurity and privacy. Backup files alone are not enough to combat modern cyber threats, and they are not enough to protect themselves from digital interference by malicious actors. Companies need integrated solutions that automate the detection and prevention of the threats that are necessary to stop these emerging threats. They not only need to be protected, but also protect themselves against the threat of cyber attacks such as ransomware, phishing, malware and other forms of attacks.

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a challenging year for cybersecurity and IT experts. Most of us have successfully managed these massive changes, but 2021 will be just as rocky if we don’t start preparing for the next wave of threats.  Let your experienced team help you business find and implement the right security measures for absolutely no cost to you. Call or fill out a contact form to start the process