Protecting your Brand from Hackers and Cyber Attackers

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The Internet: Cyber-Criminal Playground

Hackers and cyber-criminals on the internet are constantly on the lookout for services and organizations they can exploit.

Constant Cyber-Attack

With the rise of the modern day internet and Information Technology(IT), many aspects of all of our lives are completely digital, leaving a large surface for digital cyber hackers and scammers to attack.

Using bots and other automated methods, hackers and other cyber criminals are scanning and attacking all of our personal and business digital assets and identities around the clock. If you don't believe me, look in the spam folder of your email inbox; from an Ethiopian price along with the FBI trying to wire you a $50 Million dollar inheritance, to the charge that you received from 'Amazon', cyber criminals are just waiting for you or your employees to slip up and hand over the keys to the kingdom.

As far as personal identity, you should always use unique and strong random passwords for each web portal you use. As well as always distrust emails and inspect their source with intense scrutiny. As far as protecting your organization's digital assets and brand goes, training every single employee to do this is only the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to protecting your businesses resources and ip, as well as all of your customers sensitive information and data, security has to be a top priority from day one.

Large Cyber-Attack Surface

cyber-attack surface

A modern organization has a large digital footprint. From email and webpages, to web services and third-party vendors, a growing brand has a lot of digital entry points that cyber-criminals can(and will constantly attempt to) exploit.

Social Engineering and Phishing

A phishing attack is such that a cyber-criminal or hacker creates a fake login page for the service or organization they are trying to breach. They then send emails, sometimes saying there is a problem with your account or maybe that there was a large purchase, to unsuspecting recipients urging them to login to the fake form. The hackers now have that user's credentials, and can login as they please.

Social engineering is kind of a more organized large phishing attack in which cyber-criminals and hackers will use platforms such as social media to find employees of a target organization. They will then use information they obtain from said platform to craft a phishing email that is much more convincing than your typical example. Sometimes claiming to be the victim's boss or another company authority figure.

Social engineering and phishing cyber-attacks are threats that make every employee in an organization an easy target. You must train your employees to recognize these threats at all costs.

Third-Party Dependencies and Services

From a code library that validates user input, to a third-party service you might use to verify or process data, third-party dependencies are those digital assets/services that our organization or brand doesn't own or control.

In 2021, Solarwinds, a very large networking software vendor, was infiltrated by Russian hackers. Since Solarwinds provides software for nearly every government agency and large organization, a large majority of them were victims of, or affected by the attack including Microsoft.

Since Solarwinds exposed their git source code repository to the internet, and used a very weak default password, the Russian cyber hackers were easily able to gain entry to Solarwinds code, and implant their own malicious code that was then distributed to all of Solarwinds clients, government and private entities alike.

Code Dependencies

Not only do third-party services or products provide a cyber-criminal entry point, but so do external code dependencies. Code packages hosted on platforms like npm and maven are just as vulnerable as Solarwinds.

Content Management Systems(CMS) and Hosting Providers

Popular content management systems(CMS) such as Wordpress or Wix are in use by millions of organizations and individuals alike. Given their wide use, and their consumers dependency on their product, a single security vulnerability is extremely magnified. If you practice good request logging habits, you would see that everyday cyber-criminal bots are scanning your website for Wordpress vulnerabilities at all hours of the day.

Hosting providers such as GoDaddy and Wordpress are also used by millions, making these prime targets for cyber-criminals and hackers. A hacker can potential breach one clients hosted machine, and then breach every other organizations machine hosted with that provider.

You should always put much consideration and scrutiny into deciding to use a third-party library, product or service. If it is reasonable to roll-your-own dependency, it certainly can be safer. When deciding, you should always consider the cyber-security cost and risk associated with using a third-party.

Breach Prevention and Threat Detection

It is always essentially that all your employees are trained to spot suspicious behavior such as phishing attacks and social engineering. Third-party libraries, products and services are a large attach surface that we don't own or control. Much thought and scrutiny should be used when considering a third-party. Coupled with good practice of logging and auditing, these habits will at the very least detect a breach before the damage becomes too awful much.

Given the nature of what we do, and especially how serious we are, we work everyday in a game of cat and mouse against would be hackers. In each project we work on, we incorporate technologies like AI and request processing, in solutions that shut down would-be cyber breaches before they happen. To learn more about how we can partner with you and help you with your cyber-security needs, please reach out and drop us a line.

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