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Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to bypass security defenses. That’s why it’s essential to think like a hacker and adopt measures to stay ahead of them. This is what Defense in Depth (DiD) is all about.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines DiD as “The application of multiple countermeasures in a layered or stepwise manner to achieve security objectives. The methodology involves layering heterogeneous security technologies in the common attack vectors to ensure that attacks missed by one technology are caught by another.”

In simple terms, DiD is a cybersecurity approach in which multiple defensive methods are layered to protect a business. Since no individual security measure can guarantee protection against every attack, combining several layers of security can be more effective.

Before you start your DiD journey, it’s crucial to stay informed about the changing threat landscape.

 

9 Threats to Protect Your Business Against

While there are numerous threats that businesses like yours must be aware of, let’s look at some of the most common.

 

 1. Ransomware 

Ransomware is a type of malware that threatens to disclose sensitive data or blocks access to files/systems by encrypting it until the victim pays a ransom. Failure to pay on time can lead to data leaks or permanent data loss.

 

2. Phishing/Business Email Compromise (BEC) 

Phishing involves a hacker masquerading as a genuine person/organization primarily through emails or other channels like SMS. Malicious actors use phishing to deliver links or attachments that execute actions such as extracting login credentials or installing malware.

Business email compromise (BEC) is a scam that involves cybercriminals using compromised or impersonated email accounts to manipulate victims into transferring money or sharing sensitive information.

 

3. Cloud Jacking

Cloud jacking, or hijacking, entails exploiting cloud vulnerabilities to steal an account holder’s information and gain server access. With more and more companies adopting cloud solutions, IT leaders are worried about cloud jacking becoming a significant concern for years to come.

 

4. Insider Threats 

An insider threat originates from within a business. It may happen because of current or former employees, vendors or other business partners who have access to sensitive business data. Because it originates from the inside and may or may not be premeditated, an insider threat is hard to detect.

 

5. Denial-of-Service/Distributed Denial-of-Service (DoS and DDoS)

These attacks are common and easy to carry out. In a DoS or DDoS attack, hackers flood the targeted system with multiple data requests, causing it to slow down or crash.

 

6. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Hacks

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are trending topics within the IT world for their path-breaking applications. However, AI and ML help hackers more efficiently develop an in-depth understanding of how businesses guard against cyberattacks.

 

7. Internet of Things (IoT) Risks and Targeted Attacks

IoT devices are a favorite target of cybercriminals because of the ease of data sharing without human intervention and inadequate legislation.

 

8. Web Application Attacks

Vulnerabilities within web applications permit hackers to gain direct access to databases to manipulate sensitive data. Business databases are regular targets because they contain sensitive data, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and banking details.

 

9. Deepfakes

A deepfake is a cyberthreat that uses artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate audio/video content that can deceive end users into believing something untrue.

 

Get Up and Running with DiD

To keep sophisticated cyberthreats at bay, you need a robust DiD strategy. Your strategy should involve layering multiple defensive methods, like firewalls, intrusion prevention and detection systems, endpoint detection and response (EDR) and more, to build a security fortress that’s hard to crack.

DiD is an undertaking that requires time and effort. That’s why collaborating with a partner like Databranch, who can implement and maintain your DiD strategy while you focus on your business, is ideal.

If you want to learn more about how DiD can help protect your business, download our free eBook “7 Elements of an Effective Defense in Depth (DiD) Security Strategy.”

You can also reach out to one of our experienced team members at 716-373-4467 option 6, or info@databranch.com.

7 Elements of Effective Defense in Depth

Download our eBook to discover how layering security methods can help you prevent today’s sophisticated cyberattacks.

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The rise of AI has sparked a revolution. Everyone, from industry giants to smaller enterprises, is captivated and eager to leverage AI’s endless possibilities.

However, amid the celebrations of AI’s merits, let’s not ignore its potential risks. A new array of cyberthreats emerges when intricate AI algorithms cross paths with malicious cyber elements. From AI-powered phishing schemes to ultra-realistic deepfakes, these dangers serve as a reminder to stay vigilant and prepared.

In this blog, we embark on a journey to explore AI benefits and risks. Our aim is to guide you in harnessing AI’s strengths while safeguarding against its potential pitfalls.

AI’s Positive Impact on Business

The top benefits of AI include:

Smart Data Analysis

AI’s expertise lies in swiftly deciphering massive data sets to uncover patterns. This ability proves invaluable in traversing through modern markets. The insights derived empower you to make well-founded decisions, steering clear of guesswork.

Boosted Productivity

AI’s automation prowess liberates your employees from mundane tasks, helping them focus on more critical tasks. Tedious and manual work can now be done seamlessly without human intervention, boosting productivity.

Faster Business Maneuvering

In an ever-evolving technological landscape, keeping up to date is paramount. AI empowers you to process and respond to real-time information promptly. This agility enables swift reactions to evolving scenarios, customer demands and opportunities.

AI’s Cyber Challenges

As we delve into the world of AI, we must also acknowledge the potential risks:

AI-powered Phishing Scams

Sneaky cybercriminals employ AI-driven chatbots to create impeccable phishing emails without the usual red flags, such as grammar errors. These attacks exploit human vulnerabilities, luring even the most vigilant to share sensitive information.

To bolster your defense, exercise caution with emails from unfamiliar sources. Scrutinize sender details, avoid suspicious links and employ anti-phishing tools for added protection.

Malicious AI-Generated Code

Cybercriminals harness AI tools for swift code generation, surpassing manual capabilities. These generated code snippets find their way into malware and other malicious software.

Defend against these intricate schemes by educating your team about them. Strengthen your defenses through layered security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software and automated patch management.

Is your company looking for on-going cybersecurity training? Our Breach Prevention Platform and Security Awareness Training will give your employees the resources they need to spot real world phishing attempts. Contact Databranch today to learn more!

Deepfakes and Impersonations

AI-generated deepfakes can propagate misinformation, deceiving unsuspecting individuals and leading to fraud or character defamation. For example, in the current era, where many banks rely on online KYC (KYC or Know Your Customer is commonly implemented in banks to comply with regulatory requirements and mitigate the risk of financial crimes), malicious actors can create ultra-realistic videos using another person’s voice and image samples to open accounts for illegal transactions.

Identifying deepfakes necessitates a discerning eye. Among other factors, anomalies in skin texture, blinking patterns and facial shadows help distinguish genuine content from manipulated content.

Collaborative Path to Success

At the crossroads of innovation and challenges, knowledge takes center stage.

Our comprehensive eBook, “Shielding Your Enterprise: A Guide to Navigating AI Safety,” stands as your compass in the AI landscape. Fill out the form below to delve into AI’s intricacies and acquire strategies for responsible and secure utilization in your business.

If you need expert guidance, Databranch is here to help you navigate todays threat landscape. Contact us today at 716-373-4467 x6 or info@databranch.com and together, we’ll navigate AI’s realm, harness its power and ensure your organization’s safety.

Protect Your Business - Navigating AI Safety

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Social media has significantly transformed the way we communicate and do business. However, this growing popularity also comes with potential risks that could cause harm to businesses like yours.

Unfortunately, many organizations remain unaware of these rapidly evolving challenges. In this blog, we will explore the dangers associated with social media and share practical tips to safeguard your organization’s reputation and financial stability so that you can safely reap the benefits of social media platforms.

Exploring the Risks

Social media presents several risks that you need to address, such as:

Security Breaches

Cybercriminals can exploit social media to steal sensitive information by creating fake profiles and content to trick people into sharing confidential data. Social media platforms are also vulnerable to hacking, which can have a negative impact on your business.

Reputation Damage

Negative comments from dissatisfied customers, envious competitors or even unhappy employees can quickly spread online and cause significant damage to your brand’s image within seconds.

Employee Misconduct

Certain employees may share offensive content or leak confidential information on social media, which can trigger a crisis that can be challenging for business leaders to handle.

Legal Accountability

Social media has the potential to blur the boundaries between personal and professional lives, which can, in turn, create legal liabilities for your business. If your employees make malicious remarks about competitors, clients or individuals, the public can hold you responsible for their actions. Employees may also face the consequences if their social media behavior violates the organization’s regulations.

Phishing Threats

Social media phishing scams can target your business and employees by installing malware or ransomware through seemingly authentic posts.

Fake LinkedIn Jobs

Cybercriminals often pose as recruiters on LinkedIn and post fake job listings to collect data for identity theft scams.

 

Securing Your Business

Taking proactive measures is essential to avoid social media risks, including:

Checking Privacy Settings

Set privacy settings to the highest level across all accounts, restricting your and your employees’ access to sensitive information. This includes removing Local Admin Privileges for employees.

Strengthening Security

Employ robust passwords and multifactor authentication (MFA) to bolster account security.

Establishing Clear Guidelines

Enforce clear social media rules for company and personal devices, customizing policies to fit your industry’s unique risks.

Educating Your Teams

Educate your team on social media risks, imparting safe practices to thwart scams and phishing attempts. Our Employee Cybersecurity Training not only offers an annual cybersecurity training, but also contains weekly micro-trainings to keep your employees up to date on real world threats.

Identifying Impersonation

Develop protocols to detect and manage fake profiles and impersonations swiftly. Remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

Vigilant Monitoring

Set up a system to monitor social media, promptly addressing fraudulent accounts or suspicious activity that could stain your brand image.

Act Now to Safeguard Your Business

Understanding the risks and adhering to social media best practices are crucial for businesses of all sizes. By following these guidelines, you can reduce your business’s vulnerability while reaping the rewards of social media.

For comprehensive insights into social media safety, download our eBook “From Vulnerability to Vigilance: Social Media Safety.”

Reach out to Databranch today at 716-373-4467 option 4 or info@databranch.com if your business is looking to increase their cybersecurity awareness.

Stay Safe on Social Media With Our eBook

In this eBook, we’ll explore the impact of social media and uncover the safety challenges that businesses and individuals face.

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Phishing scams remain one of the most prevalent and successful types of cyberattacks today, so being aware of the danger they pose to businesses like yours is extremely crucial. Your business could easily be the next victim if you don’t clearly understand how threat actors leverage phishing emails.

In this blog, you’ll learn the intent behind phishing emails, the various types of phishing attacks, and most importantly, how you can secure your email and business.

The Goal Behind Phishing Emails

Cybercriminals use phishing emails to lure unsuspecting victims into taking actions that will affect business operations, such as sending money, sharing passwords, downloading malware or revealing sensitive data. The primary intent behind a phishing attack is to steal your money, data or both.

Financial theft — The most common aim of a phishing attempt is to steal your money. Scammers use various tactics, such as business email compromise (BEC), to carry out fraudulent fund transfers or ransomware attacks to extort money.

Data theft — For cybercriminals, your data, such as usernames and passwords, identity information (e.g., social security numbers) and financial data (e.g., credit card numbers or bank account information), is as good as gold. They can use your login credentials to commit financial thefts or inject malware. Your sensitive data can also be sold on the dark web for profit.

Be vigilant and look out for these phishing attempts:

  • If an email asks you to click on a link, be wary. Scammers send out phishing emails with links containing malicious software that can steal your data and personal information.
  • If an email directs you to a website, be cautious. It could be a malicious website that can steal your personal information, such as your login credentials.
  • If an email contains an attachment, be alert. Malicious extensions disguised to look like a document, invoice or voicemail can infect your computer and steal your personal information.
  • If an email tries to rush you into taking an urgent action, such as transferring funds, be suspicious. Try to verify the authenticity of the request before taking any action.

 

Different Types of Phishing

It’s important to note that phishing attacks are constantly evolving and can target businesses of all sizes. While phishing emails are a common method used by cybercriminals, they also use texts, voice calls and social media messaging.

Here are the different kinds of phishing traps that you should watch out for:

Spear phishing — Scammers send highly personalized emails targeting individuals or businesses to convince them to share sensitive information such as login credentials or credit card information. Spear phishing emails are also used for spreading infected malware.

Whaling — A type of spear phishing, whale phishing or whaling is a scam targeting high-level executives where the perpetrators impersonate trusted sources or websites to steal information or money.

Smishing — An increasingly popular form of cyberattack, smishing uses text messages claiming to be from trusted sources to convince victims to share sensitive information or send money.

Vishing — Cybercriminals use vishing or voice phishing to call victims while impersonating somebody from the IRS, a bank or the victim’s office, to name a few. The primary intent of voice phishing is to convince the victim to share sensitive personal information.

Business email compromise (BEC) — A BEC is a spear phishing attack that uses a seemingly legitimate email address to trick the recipient, who is often a senior-level executive. The most common aim of a BEC scam is to convince an employee to send money to the cybercriminal while making them believe they are performing a legitimate, authorized business transaction.

Angler phishing — Also known as social media phishing, this type of scam primarily targets social media users. Cybercriminals with fake customer service accounts trick disgruntled customers into revealing their sensitive information, including bank details. Scammers often target financial institutions and e-commerce businesses.

Brand impersonation — Also known as brand spoofing, brand impersonation is a type of phishing scam carried out using emails, texts, voice calls and social media messages. Cybercriminals impersonate a popular business to trick its customers into revealing sensitive information. While brand impersonation is targeted mainly at the customers, the incident can tarnish the brand image.

 

Bolster Your Email Security

Emails are crucial for the success of your business. However, implementing email best practices and safety standards on your own can be challenging. That’s why you should consider partnering with a Managed IT service provider like Databranch.

We have the resources and tools to protect your business from cyberattacks, helping you to focus on critical tasks without any worry. We also have ongoing and interactive employee cybersecurity training that will help your company keep up with cybercriminals and their ever-changing tactics.

Meanwhile, to learn how to secure your inbox, download our eBook — Your Guide to Email Safety — that will help you improve your email security and avoid potential traps.

Your Guide to Email Safety

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Your business, in all likelihood, already faces numerous challenges in today’s tech-driven world. However, the aftermath of an unexpected disaster can push your organization to its breaking point. This unintentionally creates opportunities for cybercriminals to launch devastating attacks, amplifying the chaos caused by such events.

Disaster preparedness should be a top priority for your business — not only for physical resilience but also for fortifying your digital defenses. By understanding how disasters fuel cyberattacks, you can proactively safeguard your business against these deceptive threats.

 

Understanding How Disasters Amplify Cyberthreats

Let’s look at four major ways disasters amplify cyberthreats and what strategies you can utilize to bolster your cybersecurity posture in the face of adversity.

 

1. Leveraging Diverted Attention and Resources

When a disaster strikes, the immediate focus shifts toward safety and recovery. Unfortunately, this diverts attention and resources away from maintaining and protecting your IT systems and networks.

With a reduced emphasis on cybersecurity measures, essential updates and monitoring may be overlooked, leaving your networks vulnerable to intrusion. Cybercriminals seize this opportunity to infiltrate your systems, compromise sensitive data and disrupt your operations.

To tackle this situation, establish a dedicated team responsible for monitoring and maintaining cybersecurity, even during times of crisis. For our managed clients, Databranch takes this one step further by implementing automated security systems to scan for vulnerabilities and apply necessary patches continuously.

By ensuring cybersecurity remains a priority, even in challenging times, you can minimize the risk of cyberattacks

 

2. Exploiting Fear, Urgency, Chaos and Uncertainty

Disasters create an environment of fear, urgency, chaos and uncertainty — prime conditions for cybercriminals to thrive in. They launch targeted attacks, such as deceptive emails or fraudulent websites, capitalizing on the sense of urgency and the need for quick solutions. By manipulating individuals into disclosing sensitive information, cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to critical systems. They could also sell this sensitive data on the dark web.

To combat this, educate your employees about the tactics used in phishing attacks and social engineering scams. Train them to recognize warning signs, such as suspicious emails or requests for sensitive information. Encourage a culture of skepticism and verification, where employees double-check the authenticity of requests before sharing confidential data.

By fostering a vigilant and informed workforce, you can fortify your defense against cybercriminals seeking to exploit fear and uncertainty. Visit us here to download our cybersecurity culture checklist.

 

3. Damaging Critical Infrastructure

Disasters can cause severe damage to your critical infrastructure, compromising components integral to your cybersecurity measures. Destruction of servers, routers or firewalls can weaken your defense mechanisms, allowing cybercriminals to exploit security gaps.

To address this challenge, ensure your critical infrastructure has backup and disaster recovery in place. Regularly back up your data, store it securely off-site or in the cloud, and test the restoration process to ensure it functions smoothly. Implement robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans, including provisions for cybersecurity.

By maintaining resilient infrastructure and regularly testing your backup and recovery processes, you can mitigate the impact of infrastructure damage on your cybersecurity.

 

4. Impersonation and Deception

In the wake of a disaster, cybercriminals often exploit the trust associated with relief organizations and government agencies. By impersonating these trusted sources, they deceive victims through phishing emails, messages or calls, tricking them into divulging sensitive information or engaging in fraudulent transactions. 

To protect yourself from such scams:

  • Encourage your employees to verify the authenticity of any communication received during a disaster.
  • Advise them to independently contact the organization or agency through known, trusted channels to confirm the legitimacy of any requests.
  • Establish robust security awareness training programs that educate employees about common impersonation tactics and teach them how to report them effectively.

 

By promoting a culture of caution and verification, you can defend against impersonation and deception tactics used by cybercriminals. Our phishing infographic is a great educational resource that can be shared with your workforce to prepare them for real life threats.

 

Act Now to Safeguard Your Business

Now that we know how cybercriminals can target your business during a disaster, prioritizing disaster preparedness and implementing the above-highlighted measures are important to navigate today’s ever-evolving technology landscape.

If you need expert guidance, Databranch is here to help fortify your disaster preparedness and cybersecurity efforts. Together, let’s ensure a resilient and secure future for your business. Contact us today at 716-373-4467 x6 or info@databranch.com to proactively safeguard what you’ve worked so hard to build.

In recent years, email has become an essential part of our daily lives. Many people use it for various purposes, including business transactions. With the increasing dependence on digital technology, cybercrime has grown. A significant cyber threat facing businesses today is Business Email Compromise (BEC).

Why is it important to pay particular attention to BEC attacks? Because they’ve been on the rise. BEC attacks jumped 81% in 2022, and as many as 98% of employees fail to report the threat.

 

What is Business Email Compromise (BEC)?

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of scam in which criminals use email fraud to target victims. These victims include both businesses and individuals. They especially target those who perform wire transfer payments.

The scammer pretends to be a high-level executive or business partner and will send emails to employees, customers, or vendors. These emails request them to make payments or transfer funds in some form.

According to the FBI, BEC scams cost businesses around $1.8 billion in 2020. That figure increased to $2.4 billion in 2021. These scams can cause severe financial damage to businesses and can also harm their reputations.

 

How Does BEC Work?

BEC attacks are usually well-crafted and sophisticated, making it difficult to identify them. The attacker first researches the target organization and its employees. They gain knowledge about the company’s operations, suppliers, customers, and business partners.

Much of this information is freely available online. Scammers can find it on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and organizations’ websites. Once the attacker has enough information, they can craft a convincing email. It’s designed to appear to come from a high-level executive or a business partner.

The email will request the recipient to make a payment or transfer funds. It usually emphasizes the request being for an urgent and confidential matter. For example, a new business opportunity, a vendor payment, or a foreign tax payment.

The email will often contain a sense of urgency, compelling the recipient to act quickly. The attacker may also use social engineering tactics. Such as posing as a trusted contact or creating a fake website that mimics the company’s site. These tactics make the email seem more legitimate.

If the recipient falls for the scam and makes the payment, the attacker will make off with the funds. In their wake, they leave the victim with financial losses.

 

How to Fight Business Email Compromise

BEC scams can be challenging to prevent, but there are measures businesses and individuals can take to cut the risk of falling victim to them.

 

Educate Employees

Organizations should educate their employees about the risks of BEC, along with how to identify and avoid these scams. This includes employees recognizing tactics used by scammers such as: urgent requests, social engineering, and fake websites.

Training should also include email account security, including:

  • Checking their sent folder regularly for any strange messages
  • Using a strong email password with at least 12 characters
  • Changing their email password regularly
  • Storing their email password in a secure manner
  • Notifying an IT contact if they suspect a phishing email

Contact Databranch today if your company lacks on-going cybersecurity training. Our Breach Prevention Platform and Security Awareness Training will give your employees the resources they need to spot real world phishing attempts.

 

Enable Email Authentication

Organizations should implement email authentication protocols.

This includes:

  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC)
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

These protocols help verify the authenticity of the sender’s email address and can also reduce the risk of email spoofing. Another benefit is to keep your emails from ending up in junk mail folders.

 

Deploy a Payment Verification Process

Organizations should deploy a payment verification processes, such as two-factor authentication. Another protocol is confirmation from multiple parties when making a business related payment. This ensures that all wire transfer requests are legitimate. It’s always better to have more than one person verify a financial payment request.

 

Establish a Response Plan

Organizations should establish a response plan for BEC incidents. This includes procedures for reporting the incident as well as freezing the transfer and notifying law enforcement. 

 

Use Anti-phishing Software

Businesses and individuals can use anti-phishing software to detect and block fraudulent emails. As AI and machine learning gain widespread use, these tools become more effective.

The use of AI in phishing technology continues to increase. Businesses must be vigilant and take steps to protect themselves.

Here at Databranch, our managed clients have the comfort of knowing that their systems are monitored and maintained on a 24/7 basis. Our tool-stack not only increases your protection from malware and phishing, but is also capable of detecting a breach in you network and isolating that device.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

BEC can occur when a hacker gains access to your email’s login credentials. However, here are many valuable tools you can use to fend off these bad actors even after they have stolen your credentials.

According to a study cited by Microsoft, MFA is proven to prevent approximately 99.9% of fraudulent sign-in attempts.

This is because MFA adds a layer of cybersecurity protection by confirming the authenticity of users who are logging in to various platforms. This is completed by entering a code from your mobile device into the application you are trying to log into, or by approving a prompt that is sent to your mobile device. 

This means that unless the hacker also has your mobile device, they will not be able to approve the login attempt.

Reach out to Databranch today if your interested in setting MFA up for your business accounts.

 

Need Help with Email Security Solutions?

It only takes a moment for money to leave your account and be unrecoverable. Don’t leave your business emails unprotected. Get in touch today at 716-373-4467 x115 or info@databranch.com to discuss our email security solutions.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

As cyber threats continue to increase, businesses must take proactive steps. They need to protect their sensitive data and assets from cybercriminals. Threats to data security are persistent and they come from many different places.  

Today’s offices are digitally sophisticated. Just about every activity relies on some type of technology and data sharing. Hackers can breach these systems from several entry points including computers, smartphones, cloud applications, and network infrastructure.

It’s estimated that cybercriminals can penetrate 93% of company networks.

One approach that can help organizations fight these intrusions is threat modeling. Threat modeling is a process used in cybersecurity that involves identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities to an organization’s assets and systems.

Threat modeling helps businesses prioritize their risk management and mitigation strategies. The goal is to mitigate the risk of falling victim to a costly cyber incident.

Here are the steps businesses can follow to conduct a threat model.

 

Identify Assets That Need Protection

The first step is to identify assets that are most critical to the business. This includes sensitive data, intellectual property, or financial information. What is it that cybercriminals will be going after?

Don’t forget to include phishing-related assets. Such as company email accounts. Business email compromise is a fast-growing attack that capitalizes on breached company email logins. Some hackers are even known to use reply-chain phishing attacks after gaining access to a businesses email.

 

Identify Potential Threats

The next step is to identify potential threats to these assets. Some common threats could be cyber-attacks such as phishing. Others would be ransomware, malware, or social engineering.

Another category of threats could be physical breaches or insider threats. This is where employees or vendors have access to sensitive information.

Remember, threats aren’t always malicious. Human error causes approximately 88% of data breaches. So, ensure you’re aware of mistake-related threats, such as:

  • The use of weak passwords
  • Unclear cloud use policies
  • Lack of employee training
  • Poor or non-existent BYOD policies

Are your employees trained to spot real world threats such as phishing and business email compromises? Visit us here to learn more about our Breach Prevention Platform and Security Awareness Training with simulated phishing tests.

 

Assess Likelihood and Impact

Once you’ve identified potential threats, take the next step. This is to assess the likelihood and impact of these threats. Businesses must understand how likely each threat is to occur. As well as the potential impact on their operations, reputation, and financial stability. This will help rank the risk management and mitigation strategies.

Base the threat likelihood on current cybersecurity statistics as well as a thorough vulnerability assessment. It’s best this assessment is by a trusted 3rd party IT service provider, such as Databranch. If you’re doing your assessment with only internal input, you’re bound to miss something.

 

Prioritize Risk Management Strategies

Next, prioritize risk management strategies based on the likelihood and impact of each potential threat. Most businesses can’t tackle everything at once due to time and cost constraints. So, it’s important to rank solutions based on the biggest impact on cybersecurity.

Some common strategies to consider include implementing:

  • Access controls
  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Employee training and awareness programs
  • Endpoint device management

Businesses must also determine which strategies are most cost-effective. They should also align with their business goals.

 

Continuously Review and Update the Model

Threat modeling is not a one-time process. Cyber threats are constantly evolving. Businesses must continuously review and update their threat models. This will help ensure that their security measures are effective. As well as aligned with their business objectives.

 

Benefits of Threat Modeling for Businesses

Threat modeling is an essential process for businesses to reduce their cybersecurity risk. Identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities to their assets and systems is important. It helps them rank risk management strategies. As well as reduce the likelihood and impact of cyber incidents.

Here are just a few of the benefits of adding threat modeling to a cybersecurity strategy.

 

Improved Understanding of Threats and Vulnerabilities

Threat modeling can help businesses gain a better understanding of specific threats. It also uncovers vulnerabilities that could impact their assets and identifies gaps in their security measures and helps uncover risk management strategies.

Ongoing threat modeling can also help companies stay out in front of new threats. Artificial intelligence is birthing new types of cyber threats every day. Companies that are complacent can fall victim to new attacks.

 

Cost-effective Risk Management

Addressing risk management based on the likelihood and impact of threats reduces costs. It can optimize company security investments while ensuring that businesses divide resources effectively and efficiently.

 

Business Alignment

Threat modeling can help ensure that security measures align with the business objectives. This can reduce the potential impact of security measures on business operations. It also helps coordinate security, goals, and operations.

 

Reduced Risk of Cyber Incidents

By implementing targeted risk management strategies, businesses can reduce risk. This includes the likelihood and impact of cybersecurity incidents. This will help to protect their assets. It also reduces the negative consequences of a security breach.

 

Get Started with Comprehensive Threat Identification

Wondering how to get started with a threat assessment? Our experts can help you put in place a comprehensive threat modeling program. Give us a call today at 716-373-4467 x115 or info@databranch.com to schedule a discussion.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

It’s common belief that people are the last line of defense during a cybersecurity attack. Wrong. In many instances people are in fact the first line of defense. If your employees are (1) aware and (2) properly trained, then they will be one of your single strongest assets in fighting a never-ending war against cybercrime.

Basic human behaviors such as inquisitiveness, excitement, distraction, and indecision make people extremely vulnerable to one of the most popular and effective cyber-attacks called Social Engineering. Social Engineering is a term used to describe a wide variety of techniques that are used by malicious hackers to exploit human beings and execute a successful cyber-attack. 

The most common example of a Social Engineering attack is called Phishing. This is an exercise where an email is sent with the intent of tricking the recipient and convincing them to either click on a malicious link, download a malicious attachment, or even relinquish sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers or bank account details.  The victim rarely knows they are being exploited until it is too late.

The results of a successful Phishing attack can be devastating. In some cases, the network is infected with malware or a virus causing loss of data and significant outages or disruptions. In other cases sensitive information or data is stolen and further exploited or resold on the dark web. There are even many documented cases of unauthorized wire transfers resulting in tremendous and unrecoverable financial losses.

So, how does an organization take a group of employees and turn them into an effective cybercrime fighting machine? I’m glad you asked. There are three simple steps that must be executed:

 

Step 1. Develop A Culture Of Security 

Cultures are ultimately defined and upheld from the top down. Leadership, Executive and Management teams must commit to the creation and enforcement of cybersecurity policies, procedures and processes. They must also emphatically message and communicate the importance of good cybersecurity hygiene.

Employees should understand how exactly they can be good cybersecurity stewards and more importantly why it is so critical that they are. Lastly, employees who transform into skeptical, protective and enlightened cybercrime fighting soldiers should be recognized and rewarded.

TIPS to help Develop A Culture Of Security:

  • Create cybersecurity policies – these are the guidelines and rules.
  • Publish cybersecurity policies – allow employees to read and digest the content.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities – tell employees what they must do.
  • Good governance – enforce the rules, reprimand offenders & celebrate achievers.
  • Frequent Communication – talk about cybersecurity often, remind and reinforce!

 

Step 2.  Educate And Train

The best armies are well trained. They are not only armed, but they understand exactly how and when to use their weapon. They understand their mission, know what they are fighting for, and they have practiced and are ready for combat.

Teach your employees about common threats and dangers such as Social Engineering attacks. Show them how to use software and computers in a secure fashion. Explain correct process and procedures are. Provide them with the critical training they need to effectively fight cybercrime.

TIPS to help Educate And Train:

  • Implement a security awareness training program – commit to the training.
  • Be sure the content is meaningful and relevant.
  • Make the training fun and engaging – tell lots of stories.
  • Make the training mandatory.
  • Make the training frequent – at least once a year.
  • Focus on the basics – keep the content simple and easy to understand.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you start establishing cybersecurity throughout your organization.

 

Step 3. Test The Effectiveness

It will be difficult to know if your new cybersecurity culture is performing as you hoped unless you test the effectiveness of policies, processes, procedures and awareness training. Is the effort you’ve put into creating an army of equipped cybercrime fighting employees actually providing the protection you desire?

There are only two ways to find out. One, wait for a legit attack to occur and hope for the best – or – two, launch a simulated attack yourself. Controlled Phishing attacks, penetration tests, table top incident response exercises or even a Monday morning pop quiz can all be effective exercises to test your employees’ level of understanding and compliance.

Use the test results as an opportunity to re-engage with employees or even re-tool training efforts. Get better with practice.

TIPS to help Test The Effectiveness:

  • Launch simulated Phishing attacks – see how employees actually behave.
  • Spot check for policy compliance – it is after 5PM, is the Clean Desk Policy working?
  • Include social attacks in the scope of penetration testing.
  • Conduct table top exercises.
  • Document and share results.
  • Learn and get better.

Right now, your employees are probably the weakest link in your cybersecurity defense chain. Make them your strongest link. Our Breach Prevention Platform and Security Awareness Training with simulated phishing tests will give your employees the tools they need to spot a phishing attempt. Reach out today at 716-373-4467 x115 or info@databranch.com to speak with one of our experienced team members about getting started.

 

Content used with permission from Cyberstone.

Imagine you’re going about your day when suddenly you receive a text from the CEO asking for your help. They’re out doing customer visits and someone else dropped the ball in providing gift cards. The CEO needs you to buy six $200 gift cards and text the information right away.

The message sender promises to reimburse you before the end of the day. Oh, and by the way, you won’t be able to reach them by phone for the next two hours because they’ll be in meetings. One last thing, this is a high priority. They need those gift cards urgently.

Would this kind of request make you pause and wonder or would you quickly pull out your credit card to do as the message asked?

A surprising number of employees fall for this gift card scam. There are also many variations. Such as your boss being stuck without gas or some other dire situation that only you can help with.

This scam can come by text message or via email. The unsuspecting employee buys the gift cards and sends the numbers back to the boss. They find out later that the real company CEO wasn’t the one that contacted them, it was a phishing scammer.

The employee is out the cash.

Without proper training, 32.4% of employees are prone to fall for a phishing scam.

Read about our Employee Security Awareness training and the services it offers here.

 

Why Do Employees Fall for Phishing Scams?

Though the circumstances may be odd, many employees fall for this gift card scam. Hackers use social engineering tactics and manipulate emotions to get the employee to follow through on the request.

Some of these social engineering tactics illicit the following:

  • The employee is afraid of not doing as asked by a superior
  • The employee jumps at the chance to save the day
  • The employee doesn’t want to let their company down
  • The employee may feel they can advance in their career by helping

The scam’s message is also crafted in a way to get the employee to act without thinking or checking. It includes a sense of urgency. The CEO needs the gift card details right away. Also, the message notes that the CEO will be out of touch for the next few hours. This decreases the chance the employee will try to contact the real CEO to check the validity of the text.

 

Illinois Woman Scammed Out of More Than $6,000 from a Fake CEO Email

Variations of this scam are prevalent and can lead to significant financial losses. A company isn’t responsible if an employee falls for a scam and purchases gift cards with their own money.

In one example, a woman from Palos Hills, Illinois lost over $6,000. This was after getting an email request from who she thought was her company’s CEO. 

The woman received an email purporting to be from her boss and company CEO. It stated that her boss wanted to send gift cards to some selected staff that had gone above and beyond.

The email ended with “Can you help me purchase some gift cards today?”  The boss had a reputation for being great to employees, so the email did not seem out of character.

The woman bought the requested gift cards from Target and Best Buy. Then she got another request asking to send a photo of the cards. Again, the wording in the message was very believable and non-threatening. It simply stated, “Can you take a picture, I’m putting this all on a spreadsheet.” 

The woman ended up purchasing over $6,500 in gift cards that the scammer then stole. When she saw her boss a little while later, her boss knew nothing about the gift card request. The woman realized she was the victim of a scam.

 

Tips for Avoiding Costly Phishing Scams

Always Double Check Unusual Requests

Despite what a message might say about being unreachable, check in person or by phone anyhow. If you receive any unusual requests or one relating to money, verify it. Contact the person through other means to make sure it’s legitimate.

Databranch recommends using the SLAM Method to review your emails and act accordingly. Don’t know what the SLAM Method is? Click here to read all about it.

 

Don’t React Emotionally

Scammers often try to get victims to act before they have time to think. Just a few minutes of sitting back and looking at a message objectively is often all that’s needed to realize it’s a scam. Don’t react emotionally, instead ask if this seems real or is it out of the ordinary.

 

Get a Second Opinion

Ask a colleague, or better yet, your company’s IT service provider, to take look at the message. Getting a second opinion keeps you from reacting right away. It can save you from making a costly judgment error. 

 

Need Help with Employee Phishing Awareness Training?

Phishing keeps getting more sophisticated all the time, are your employee’s up to date on their security awareness training?

Take training off your plate and train your team with cybersecurity professionals. We can help you with an engaging training program that helps your team change their behaviors to improve cyber hygiene.

Contact Databranch today at 716-373-4467 x 115 or info@databranch.com if you would like to learn more about our Breach Prevention Platform and Security Awareness Training with simulated phishing tests.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

 

The new year has just begun and it’s a time of renewal as we plan for the possibilities to come in 2023. It’s also a time when you need to plan for resiliency in the face of ever-present cyberattacks.

Sixty-eight percent of surveyed business leaders feel that cybersecurity risks are getting worse, and they have a good reason. Attacks continue to get more sophisticated. They are also often perpetrated by large criminal organizations. These criminal groups treat these attacks like a business. 

In 2021, the average number of global cyberattacks increased by 15.1%.

To protect your business in the coming year, it’s important to watch the attack trends. What new methods are hackers using? What types of attacks are increasing in volume? Knowing these things is important. It helps you better update your IT security to mitigate the risk of a data breach or malware infection.

We’ve pulled out the security crystal ball for the upcoming year and we’ve researched what cybersecurity experts are expecting. Here are the attack trends that you need to watch out for.

 

Attacks on 5G Devices

The world has been buzzing about 5G for a few years. It is finally beginning to fulfill the promise of lightning-fast internet. As providers build out the infrastructure, you can expect this to be a high-attack area.

Hackers are looking to take advantage of the 5G hardware used for routers, mobile devices, and PCs. Anytime you have a new technology like this, it’s bound to have some code vulnerabilities. This is exactly what hackers are looking to exploit.

You can prepare by being aware of the firmware security in the devices you buy. This is especially true for those enabled for 5G. Some manufacturers will build better firmware security into their designs than others. Make sure to ask about this when purchasing new devices.

 

One-Time Password (OTP) Bypass

This alarming new trend is designed to get past one of the best forms of account security. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is well-known as very effective at preventing fraudulent sign-in attempts. It can stop account takeovers even in cases where the criminal has the user’s password.

There are a few different ways that hackers try to bypass MFA. These include:

  • Reusing a token: Gaining access to a recent user OTP and trying to reuse it
  • Sharing unused tokens: The hacker uses their own account to get an OTP. Then attempts to use that OTP on a different account.
  • Leaked token: Using an OTP token leaked through a web application.
  • Password reset function: A hacker uses phishing to fool the user into resetting a password. They then trick them into handing over their OTP via text or email.

Interested in learning more about Multi-Factor Authentication and how it can enhance your businesses cybersecurity? Read more about it here.

 

Attacks Surrounding World Events

During the pandemic, the cyberattack volume increased by approximately 600%. Large criminal hacking groups have realized that world events and disasters are lucrative.

They launch phishing campaigns for world events. Attacks come for everything from the latest hurricane or typhoon to the war in Ukraine. Unsuspecting people often fall for these scams. This is because they are often distracted by the crisis.

People need to be especially mindful of scams surrounding events like these. They will often use social engineering tactics, such as sad photos, to play on the emotions.

 

Smishing & Mobile Device Attacks

Mobile devices go with us just about everywhere these days. This direct connection to a potential victim is not lost on cybercriminals. Be on the lookout for more mobile device-based attacks, including SMS-based phishing (“smishing”).

Many people aren’t expecting to receive fake messages to their personal numbers. But cell numbers are no longer as private as they once were. Hackers can buy lists of them online. They then craft convincing fake texts that look like shipping notices or receipts. One wrong click is all it takes for an account or data breach.

Mobile malware is also on the rise. During the first few months of 2022, malware targeted to mobile devices rose by 500%. It’s important to ensure that you have good mobile anti-malware. As well as other protections on your devices, such as a DNS filter.

 

Elevated Phishing Using AI & Machine Learning

These days, phishing emails are not so easy to spot. It used to be that they nearly always had spelling errors or grainy images. While some still do, most don’t.

Criminal groups elevate today’s phishing using AI and machine learning. Not only will it look identical to a real brand’s emails, but it will also come personalized. Hackers use these tactics to capture more victims. They also allow hackers to send out more targeted phishing messages in less time than in years past.

 

Schedule a Cybersecurity Check-Up Today

Is your business prepared for the cyber threats coming in 2022? Don’t wait to find out the hard way! Contact us today at 716-373-4467 x 115 or info@databranch.com to schedule a cybersecurity check-up to stay one step ahead of the digital criminals.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

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