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How to detect and avoid enterprise cyberattacks


From corporate hacks to identity theft, the rise in cybersecurity threats is prompting enterprises to take bolder, more proactive steps in protecting their information and assets.

A famous example is the recent WannaCry ransomware attack, which targeted outdated Windows computers and sparked chaos in the UK healthcare system. In June 2017, a law firm’s Australian office had its IT systems taken down by a similar malware incident. And then there was the ‘Vault 7’ leak, which exposed CIA documents detailing everything from iOS and Android vulnerabilities to how to turn TVs into spying tools.

So which cyberattacks are the most prevalent in the business world? And which cybersecurity strategies can protect your enterprise?

Common cyberattack methods

The key to effective enterprise cybersecurity is being able to identify the different types of security threats so appropriate countermeasures can be taken. Among the most common are:

  • Malware: This is any malicious program that tries to steal or destroy data. They are often introduced via email attachments or downloaded software.
  • Phishing: This is when users are tricked into clicking a malicious link in an email. The Australian Taxation Office recently highlighted fake ATO emails that attempted to solicit passwords and other personal information.
  • Man-in-the-middle: This involves impersonating both you and a trusted party to steal sensitive information. An example might be a malicious app sitting between your phone and your bank, secretly collecting your banking data.
  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS): This is when an IT network is bombarded with traffic until it becomes overloaded and non-functional. A 2016 DDoS campaign against an internet addressing service brought down several major websites, including Twitter and PayPal.

What strategies can protect your enterprise?

Every enterprise that depends on the integrity of its data is right to be concerned about cybersecurity. Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your business:

  • Patch and upgrade: Outdated systems and software are soft targets for cybercriminals. Make sure your IT systems are updated regularly with the latest virus definitions, firewalls and operating system patches.
  • Perform backups: Back up your data as often as possible to drives that are only connected to the network during the backup process. It’s also considered standard disaster recovery practice for businesses to keep multiple off-site backups as added insurance. This will make all the difference if you need to come back from a data loss.
  • Security protocols and awareness: Encrypt sensitive data, particularly if it’s stored on an employee’s own device. This could involve using two-factor authentication, where employees are required to provide not only a password, but something unique such as a thumb print. It’s also important to train staff to recognise malicious emails, software and other threats.

What if you’ve already been targeted?

No security product is infallible. An incident response plan will make certain your team knows how to react to cybersecurity breaches if they occur.

First, it’s important to disconnect the affected system, or systems, from the rest of the network as soon as possible to prevent any malware from spreading. Next, make sure you alert all staff and inform your IT team of the situation. Ideally, you would have an up-to-date security protocol or response to deploy. This might simply involve always having an IT specialist on call to respond to weekend incidents.

If data was lost in the attack, have a cybersecurity expert give your systems and software a clean bill of health before you restore it from backups.

While it’s important to accept that some loss is often inevitable, having the right cybersecurity strategies in place will help to ensure your business can get back on track quickly, and with considerably less financial impact.