Introduction

Over the past couple of decades, cyber security incidents have been increasingly making it to the headlines. Moreover, the sea shifts businesses have undergone since the advent of the COVID-19 crisis have been especially beneficial for the threat actors. The Texas-based SolarWinds hack and the most recent Minecraft Log4j exploit are epitomes in this context.

As the boundaries between traditional offices and remote workplaces have gradually blurred, cybercriminals are uncovering innovative ways to trespass and misuse organisations’ private data lakes. Simultaneously, while digitisation and automation have offered infinite fertile grounds, they have also widened the attack surface for cybercriminals.

According to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), India alone witnessed over 6 lakh cyberattacks during H1 2021. As the businesses sail into 2022, there is, unfortunately, no sign of this fading. As such, they must invest heavily in cyber security services to safeguard their interconnected systems, networks, and data from slipping into the wrong hands.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security involves techniques and practices that help protect critical digital assets (data), networks, and computer systems from unauthorised online access, modification, and deletion. Also called information security (INFOSEC), cyber security services help businesses tackle digital threats, whether they stem from outside or within their premises. Organisations can deploy cyber security in multiple ways based on their network infrastructure and the kind of cyberattacks they are commonly prone to.

Cybersecurity continues to grow in importance and market size across geographies. According to Statista, the revenue pool of the global cybersecurity industry will balloon at a 9.7 percent CAGR during 2021-2026.

Five types of cyber threats

Cyber threats incorporate malign actions aiming to access or steal confidential information and damage the organisations’ network posture.

Below are the most common cyber threats every IT security expert must stay prepared for. These are some of the approaches hackers and other malicious actors utilise to disrupt the IT fabric.

DoS/DDoS attacks

Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks tend to overwhelm the target system, server, application, or website with floods of illegitimate data requests, hampering the system’s normal functioning. An attack entailing multiple devices is called a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.  

In DoS/DDoS attacks, the cybercriminals leverage compromised computer systems – botnets – to remotely hijack other systems and control them to execute the attack. According to Kaspersky, in Q3 2021, US-based businesses suffered 40.80 percent of DDoS attacks, followed by Hong Kong (15.07 percent) and China (7.74 percent).

Furthermore, DDoS attacks include SYN flood DDoS, HTTP flood DDoS, and network time protocol (NTP) amplification.

Phishing

Several cyber crimes start through phishing, which often involves tricking customers into providing confidential data or login credentials by sending fraudulent emails or text messages (SMS) that masquerade as legitimate requests.

While phishing attacks target as many customers as possible, they can also be more focused. Case in point, “spear phishing” sends personalised emails to target a particular user, while “whaling” moves a step ahead by targeting high-net-worth individuals such as C-suite executives.

Phishing attacks have been the underlying cause of notable cyber crimes globally over the past decade, given their high success rate and ease of deployment. According to Statista, financial institutions and social media platforms respectively accounted for about a quarter of phishing attacks worldwide during Q1 2021.

Malware

Malware, or malicious software, intrudes into a system, often via a link on an untrusted email or website or an unwanted software download. The attackers release malware to the target system, gather critical information, manipulate, and block access to digital assets.

Incorporating such weapons as ransomware, viruses, worms, and trojans, malware is the oldest and most prevalent type of cyber threat. According to Mimecast, the average downtime businesses experience due to a ransomware attack is 6 days.

Man-in-the-Middle attacks

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks involve intercepting the data transmitted over the network between companies and their workforce or clients. The cybercriminals eavesdrop on the communication, steal or alter classified data, and impersonate each party associated with the communication.

SQL injection

In structured language query injections (SQLi), the cyber attackers exploit an application's code vulnerabilities by entering a malicious SQL query into an end-user input channel, such as a username or password. The SQL code is later passed to the application's primary SQL server for parsing and execution.

NoSQL attacks, a new iteration of SQLi, have also surfaced that do not rely on SQL to execute queries.

Eight cyber security tips

Cyberattacks can have dire effects on organisations. According to IBM, data breaches cost businesses USD $4.24 million on average in 2021, the highest in 17 years. Unfolding the repercussions of cybercrime is demanding, expensive, and time-consuming for any company. However, decision-makers can implement straightforward, proactive measures to protect their critical digital assets.

Create strong passwords

Creating strong passwords slashes the odds of automated-guessing or “brute-forcing” of the credentials to access businesses or their customers’ data. For instance, passwords at least 15 characters long and containing mixed characters (numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and symbols) will serve the purpose. Moreover, organisations must update their passwords once or twice a month.

Enable multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) prevents unauthorised data access from all enterprise websites and applications. For the most secure user logins, companies must utilise a blend of elements, including text messages, biometrics, security questions, and emails. Additionally, they should use additional security layers such as email verification, text verification, or time-based security codes. 

Backup business data and files

At times, employees accidentally click on a suspicious link, thus opening gates for ransomware. To avoid that, organisations must ensure data protection by implementing constant backups. In the case of the cloud, they can back up all their assets on-premise with a managed cybersecurity service provider.

Set up robust firewalls

Firewalls sit between a business’s network and the outside environment and keep unauthorised individuals from trespassing into their private network and data. While organisations can purchase free firewall software readily available online, they must better invest in a next-gen firewall. Furthermore, if most or all employees have shifted to remote working, companies must also ensure optimal protection of their systems.

Regular patching and updates

Running the latest software versions and installing newly released patches keeps all the interconnected devices up to the moment. Moreover, companies can enable auto-update on their operating system (OS) or software plans. A centralised security update protocol ensures maximum protection of every asset within organizations.

Turn employees into cyber warriors

Stronger cybersecurity begins with better employee training. Companies must hold regular training sessions and workshops about common security threats and ways to identify them. They will not only decrease the risks to a significant degree but also enhance the response times when an intrusion occurs.

Plan for the worst-case scenario

If an organisation’s IT infrastructure gets compromised, it must devise clear-cut procedures to follow. The plan should specify the point of contact, location of data backups, and when to approach law enforcement. Besides, businesses must designate a response team and perform test runs to level up protocols.

Data encryption

For organisations often managing data associated with bank accounts, credit/debit cards, and social security numbers, having an encryption program will prove beneficial. Encryption safeguards data by modifying information on the devices and systems into unreadable codes.

Enjoy the best managed cybersecurity services

With our next-gen cyber security services, Tata Communications provides unmatched protection to organisations’ data, devices, and users against prevalent threats. We interlace security into the organisational fabric through our zero-trust, secure-by-design methodology. Our cyber security response centres (CSRC) combine the strengths of risk-focused proactive and reactive (strategic and technical) expertise, helping companies respond swiftly and effectively to incidents while proactively strengthening cyber resilience and security maturity. Armed with over 300 cyber-security professionals, we secure our customers’ digital world all the way to the edge, so they can focus on the future. 

Reliable guidance, harmony-driven collaboration, top-notch aid, and cutting-edge solutions are our services’ hallmarks.

Learn more about how Tata Communications’ cyber security services elevate IT security posture.

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