Have you addressed your 4 biggest cyber security risks?

Covid-19 has exacerbated some major cyber security issues for businesses and enterprises around the world. With IT budgets increasingly squeezed, common vulnerabilities that existed before the pandemic have remained unaddressed, while at the same time, many companies are delaying upgrades to IT systems and security tools. 

And a chain is, as the saying goes, only as strong as its weakest link. Here’s where that weakest link might be.

  1. Your employees’ IoT devices

The widespread shift to remote working has increased business’ susceptibility to security breaches from their Internet of Things (IoT) devices at home. Most use their default authentication credentials, and often don’t receive security patches, meaning even the most elementary hacker could potentially compromise the device with ease. At particular risk are those devices produced by one manufacturer but sold by several different brands, since all are built on the same code but are patched at different times - if at all.

Such vulnerability could allow attackers to recruit the device into a botnet - numbering thousands or tens of thousands of connected devices - which together can be used to launch brute force or DDoS attacks on data centres or other critical infrastructure.

This is a risk that continues to evolve; in May 2020, for example, security researchers discovered Kaiji, a new, hitherto entirely unseen strain of malware, which was specifically built to create IoT botnets launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and rendering infrastructure unusable.

  1. Your employees

Social engineering attacks are becoming more common and more sophisticated each year. These are the techniques cyber criminals use to convince unwitting actors to breach their own organisation’s security protocols, typically to initiate money transfers or to share sensitive information.

Such attacks might involve phishing, where an unsolicited email or text appears to have come from a trusted organisation, like a tax authority, or ‘spear phishing’, whereby an attacker poses as somebody the victim knows directly, gaining their trust by including information also the person being impersonated should know. Research suggests 95% of all successful enterprise security breaches are spear phishing attacks.

Anybody could fall for a social engineering attack; in 2019, the British CEO of a large company was tricked into wiring over $240,000 to a fraudster’s bank account in Hungary after believing his boss at the firm’s German parent company, was instructing him to do so. He received a phone call from somebody who sounded precisely like his boss, but who was in fact using ‘deepfake’ technology, the AI which can learn the subtle characteristics of a person’s voice and create a perfect imitation.

  1. Your remote access tools

Another risk arising from the shift to working away from the office is the devices employees are using to do their jobs, particularly when they require remote access to secure networks. Any employee’s laptop or other device could compromise security in several ways:

  • Those working in public places, such as in a coffee shop, may be using unsecured networks or inadvertently connect to a fake Wifi hotspot controlled by fraudsters - on which the employee may then inadvertently share login credentials or other sensitive data.
  • Employees using the older Microsoft operating systems - Windows 7, XP, and Vista - are vulnerable to BlueKeep attacks, which allow hackers to install programs, view and edit data and create new accounts with full user privileges.
  • A hacker could launch a DDoS attack on an employee’s VPN, crashing the server and leaving them with no way to access the network.
  1. Your cloud infrastructure

As DevOps increasingly move into the cloud - another trend accelerated by the pandemic - businesses need to be watchful for unpatched systems and cloud servers with insecure authentication. Infrastructure managed off-site gives businesses only limited visibility over their data and security tools, potentially delaying an effective incident response.

According to McAfee, there were 7.5 million external attacks on cloud infrastructure in Q2 2020 alone, many of which targeted Microsoft OneDrive users with Word documents, purporting to contain Covid-19 health information, in which ransomware or other malicious code was hidden. 

Time to take action?

SBM’s specialised cyber security unit protects enterprises from vulnerabilities and minimises risk by combining unrivalled technical expertise with world class security architecture. To create the ultimate digital defense for your organisation, get in touch today.