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8 Nov

How to Build Your Cyber Defenses Based on Malicious Actors' Motivations


When you're building a cyber security plan from scratch, you need to make sure every potential avenue of attack is covered. Every technological endpoint needs a secure password. Your internal network needs to be defended both inside and outside of the office. The data your company is responsible for needs to be secure and, more than that, proven to be secure. The basic building blocks will provide a comprehensive, but still simplistic, defence. 

But once you have the basics in place, it's time to be strategic. Your IT budget may not allow for you to protect every vulnerability to the max, and that means you need to cover the most likely targets of attack. So what are cyber criminals thinking?

They know AI-based protection programs are probably stronger than their attacks.

What people traditionally picture when they think of viruses isn't where anyone focuses their attention anymore. Viruses and malware codes are self-improving and self-replicating. But the good news is that most antimalware defences are also self-improving. As long as your patches and upgrades are in order, malicious bits of code online aren't a threat to your company.

They know people have outdated information about cyber attacks.

Machine learning has developed online attacks and defences far beyond what most people can casually understand. But even before that rapid ramp-up, people didn't know all the working parts of good cyber security, especially if it wasn't their job.

But malicious actors know that, and they can use that lack of knowledge to their advantage. When targets aren't expecting a phishing scheme or don't know how to check the legitimacy of a download, attacks are easier. So anything that hinges on a human response is likely to be increasingly under attack.

They don't want your money. They want your resources.

The cyber attacks that took over the headlines in 2017 and 2018 were either data leaks or ransomware attacks. But that won't be the trend as we move towards 2019. Instead, prepare for cryptomining and zombie bots. There are hundreds of thousands of bots online that can passively into your network and start to co-opt your company's processing power. There are two main reasons for this:

1. Cryptocurrency mining still makes money, but it uses a lot of resources. 

Bitcoins and other forms of 'mined' cryptocurrency aren't rapidly rising in value, but they're still an expensive commodity. So some miners will infect your network to use your processing power. While it isn't a direct threat to your company, it does weaken your own processing power. It's also a vulnerability that could be used against your network later.

2. Zombie bots can use your network to attack bigger targets.

DDOS attacks are old news, and they're harder to implement. But that's not because companies have fool-proof defences against them; it's because it takes a lot of power to break through multiple layers of partial defences. Just like cryptominers can infect your network for their own gain, malicious actors can infect your network and use it against someone else. 

Most malicious actors don't want to hurt a specific organisation. They just want a payout.

The most effective schemes aren't aimed at anyone specific. Instead, they operate on a large scale and only need a small percentage of successful interactions to win. As technology continues to progress and malicious actors can teach malware and bots to think of smarter derivatives of themselves, the cost gets lower. That means they need an increasingly smaller percentage of victories to reap rewards. Instead of trying to get one company or one person in particular, these widespread attacks are just looking for the lowest hanging fruit. Make sure your company isn't among them by always updating your software installing secure patches as soon as possible.

Once you know what attacks are likely to hurt your company, you can start building your defences. 

Call our team today, for more information about cyber security trends and specific tips that can protect your company.

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