Protect and Defend: How to Beat Cybercriminals

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Written By Aditya Sharma

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Because of their devastating, widespread, and lasting impact, the attacks on Colonial Pipeline (and SolarWinds) are some of the most well-known cybercrimes in recent years. A single compromised password was used to gain access to the Colonial Pipeline VPN. This ransomware attack shut down a major pipeline for fuel. In the SolarWinds breach: Hackers inserted malicious code in software used to manage IT systems of thousands of government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, and companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel.

It is becoming increasingly dire. New vulnerabilities are being created by remote workers who connect to company networks through insecure home networks or personal devices. According to Check Point Research, cyberattacks on corporate networks rose 50% last year compared to 2020. According to IBM data, more than 50% of data breaches were caused by malicious cyberattacks. However, accidental breaches due to human error or system glitches account for nearly half.

Organizations must reconsider their data security approach and strengthen their defenses against accidental failures as well as sophisticated attacks. There are many strategies that enterprises can use to secure their business.

You Must First Control Access

Strong controls should be in place for all employees to have access to data and systems. As supply chain attacks continue to show, granting suppliers and partners access can lead to a serious error. Access to data should be denied to anyone who does not have a legitimate business use.

Even the most secure networks around the globe are vulnerable to human error. One user can compromise your network's integrity and data by clicking an untrue keystroke, failing to follow security protocols, or falling for phishing schemes. Two examples of weak or stolen credentials, network access from an unauthorized user, or unsecured mobile devices are two other examples. Although rigorous education is a good way to instill best practices in users' minds, it does not suffice. Humans are susceptible to error. It is important to restrict access to networks and data to those who really need them. You can reduce the risk by adopting a zero trust policy that only allows authenticated and continuously verified users access to your IT systems.

Multifactor authentication is an important part of the process. When employees work remotely from home or on mobile devices that are not well protected, they should be able to authenticate at least two times. It is easier for bad actors to get past your security by tightening the authentication process.

Be Prepared for The Worst-Case Scenario

You should be prepared for the possibility of a breach, regardless of your security measures. Ransomware attacks that were reported to the FBI in the first half of 2021 rose 62% compared to the previous year. Sophos' 2021 report shows that 37% had been affected by ransomware in the last year.

The ransom payment does not guarantee files will be recovered and it does not protect you from future attacks. Paying ransom encourages hackers, allowing them to strike again at your organization or to use the funds to attack others.

Backups will not save your business. Modern backup solutions may be able to protect your data but they will not save your business. The problem isn't the backup, but how you recover. Recovery is easy for a small application or process. Files can be copied back to the original location or moved to a new location if necessary. Backups are possible at this scale. The process takes longer if there are more files to be recovered. It can take several weeks, if not months, to fully restore data from backups at an enterprise scale. This is especially true if multiple ransomware attacks are being attempted at once. IT must prioritize certain locations or groups over others.

Continuous Versioning Allows for Rapid Recovery

A type of file system versioning is used on many platforms. This restores files to their original, uncorrupted state. These systems may provide only a small number of versions that can be accessed back in just a few days. This is often not enough to allow ransomware recovery. Advanced malware may go unnoticed for several weeks before initiating an attack.

A continuous versioning file system is the solution that takes advantage of the cloud's huge scalability, and redundancy and provides infinite versions. You can have infinite versions of your data for recovery, even in large-scale environments. These capabilities are possible with global file synchronization and allow companies to quickly restore their data worldwide.

A threat can compromise one data store but other copies can be accessed. This allows operations to continue without pause. These backup copies are usually only minutes old so there is little to no impact on the environment.

Take into Consideration Your Position

Enterprises should replace outdated data protection policies with new solutions that are purpose-built for rapid and complete recovery from ransomware attacks. Companies of all sizes should be able to recover in minutes or hours after an attack. There are no excuses for prolonged downtime. Your data protection provider may tell you otherwise. This is because you are using an obsolete technology that was not designed for the cloud.

While protection and prevention strategies are vital, they are only one part of a comprehensive strategy. There is no defense that is perfect. Hackers will find a way in. Once there's a breach, it is over and the floodgates will open. Businesses need to have a reliable and fast recovery plan. Cyberattacks will not stop. They will get more sophisticated. Your business could fall prey to the increasing number of cybercriminals if you don't.

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