The Anatomy of a Cybersecurity Attack
Would you know how to protect your company from a cyber attack?
Cyber attacks can happen to companies of all sizes and working in all industries — no one is immune.
With the number and overall cost of cyber attacks increasing every year, it’s essential to understand precisely how cybersecurity attacks work and what you can do to safeguard your company.
Keep reading to discover the anatomy of a cyber attack and advice on how you can prevent a cyber attack.
What is a Cyber Attack?
Cyber attacks are an attempt to expose, alter, disable, destroy, steal or gain access to a company’s databases, software or secure portals. Typically, cybercriminals make a profit from taking sensitive information or holding your system hostage.
How Much Does a Cyber Attack Cost?
Between 2017 and 2018, the number of cyber-attacks increased by a staggering 11%. As cyber attacks become more sophisticated and aggressive, companies increasingly face higher costs.
The average cost of a cyber attack varies by industry with companies in the financial sector, utilities, software and automotive paying more per attack (on average). Banks can expect to pay almost $18.37 million per attack.
To make matters worse, companies in the United States are typically more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks and can pay as much as 29% more than other nations.
What Happens During a Cyber Attack?
Cyber attacks can take two forms, either active or passive:
- Active cyber attacks attempt to corrupt or change system resources or operations.
- Passive cyber attacks attempt to uncover or hijack data from a private system without disrupting resources like eavesdropping or wiretapping.
Cybercriminals can come from within or outside your company. So, it’s essential to have the right safeguards in place and actively monitor who has access to your systems.
Anatomy of a Cyber Attack
Most cyber-attacks happen in five different stages, which is also known as the anatomy of a cyber attack.
Before a cybercriminal can launch an attack, they need to gain an understanding of your business and collect as much information as possible about your organisation and network.
They’ll also want to identify system administrators and other key employees and track their online behaviours.
Most of this information is readily available online and allows cybercriminals to select their targets.
2. Misleading the Target
Next, cybercriminals will create a relationship with system administrators to get them to reveal sensitive information or trick them into downloading malicious software, for example, via a link in a phishing email.
With phishing emails, cybercriminals trick system administrators by pretending to be a known or trusted source. The system administrator is then asked to download a new tool, change a password on a website or something similar.
3. Gaining Access
The information accidentally provided in step 2, then allows cybercriminals to access your company’s network or systems and officially launch their cyber attack.
Cyber attacks can take many forms, including malware, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, etc. Cybercriminals want to keep the attack going without raising the alarms for as long as possible. After all, the longer the attacker is in your system, the more information they can access and make an even bigger financial gain.
4. Exporting the Data
Unless the attacker is looking to destroy your networks, they’ll be trying to gather as much data from your network as possible. As such, they’ll need to export the data from your system back to home base.
Typically, cybercriminals encrypt the data to prevent system safeguards, like Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), from impeding their efforts. Encrypting the information allows cybercriminals to send the data outside your system without raising the alarms or tracking where it's sent on the Dark Web.
5. Erasing any Trace
Finally, the cybercriminals will erase all traces that they were in your network or systems. So you remain unaware of system vulnerabilities and they can make a clean getaway. It also means that they can continue to use your system to harvest data in the future.
How to Protect Your Company From a Cyber Attack
While a cyber attack may sound scary, thankfully they’re mostly preventable. So much so, that research from Accenture shows that 87% of all cyber attacks could be avoided.
We believe cybersecurity starts at the top. As a Senior Executive, protecting your company from cyber-attacks should be the main priority. Taking a proactive approach to understanding and preventing cyber attacks can save you money and not to mention — headaches!
How to Prevent Cyber Attacks on Businesses
Here are a few ways you can start protecting against cyber-attacks today:
- Work with a cybersecurity expert to test your system and fix any issues.
- Superpower your cybersecurity with support from cybersecurity experts
- Install security software, like firewalls or malware scanners, to block suspicious emails.
- Put a proactive plan in place to identify threats before they become security concerns.
- Regularly review who has access to your systems and networks.
- Update your passwords regularly and use two-factor authorisation.
- Train employees on how to identify phishing emails and other cybersecurity risks.
Is your Remote Working Environment protected from a Cyber Security Threat?
Over the last week, we’ve helped over 1,000 employees move to the cloud and make the transition to remote working safely.
Getting the right systems and software in place for your entire company and workforce to work remotely is challenging at the best of times. You may be figuring out how to run Zoom calls or protecting sensitive documents in the Cloud, there’s a lot to consider, including Cyber Security threats.
Whether you need help setting up a remote working environment or help keeping your business safe whilst working remotely, you can contact us for a same-day call back.