Well, you may think what security risk has to do with holiday season, but there exist a correlation, read on to know how! Most of the organizations small, medium and enterprise levels invest in security still many a time they find themselves at the receiving end. The reason could be, while they could be doing a lot at one end but they tend to ignore other security risks that they might be exposed to. In the light of this discussion it is quite logical to look at some of the major security risks that an organization might be exposed to:
Trojans: In this kind of attack the end user lands up on an otherwise safe looking website. As they try to download some file, website often asks them to download some program to be able to view or download the intended file. Innocent end users usually bypass the browser security warnings and end up downloading the malware resulting in a successful hack.
Software with patching disabled: Software which hasn’t been patched up with latest security updates is likely to be exploited by the hackers to gain access to proprietary information. Many a times end users carelessly disable auto updates and patch up download and leave software vulnerable to hackers.
Phishing Attacks: Most of the emails that you get these days are designed for phishing attacks. These emails look perfectly normal and genuine but usually come with a link to get confidential user information with malicious intent.
Advanced Persistent Threat (APT): In this kind of attacks an unauthorized person gets access to the network and stay hidden with the intention of stealing data. The attacker uses spear fishing (type of social engineering) to gain access to the network through legitimate means.
As you can see most of these threats originate from exposing the organizational network to internet or outside traffic. During holiday season when most of the employees indulge in online shopping buying gifts and other stuffs for themselves and also booking tickets for travels and tours, your network is more exposed than ever to the kind of network threats mentioned above.
The question is what you as a network administrator can do to avoid such threats. First you need to look at threats individually and employ means to tackle them through specialized software for maximum protection. Let’s see how to tackle the above treats one by one:
- To protect against Trojan attacks, you can block net access to employees. For the employees, who must have access to internet, install browsing safety software.
- Ensure that auto update is enabled for all legitimately installed software so that they are patched up with latest security updates. Try to find a tradeoff between network security and bandwidth usage.
- Go for proper anti-phishing tool to nullify the probability of phishing attack.
- APTs can be prevented using network traffic reading tool. Try to find unusual pattern in the organizational network traffic to close in to the system where APT software is installed.
However, before you go on a shopping spree to purchase expensive specialized software make sure that you have got the native Active Directory settings right (in case you are using Windows network). Windows Active Directory and GPO settings provide enough cushions against cyber attacks if you can get those settings rights.
Also, make it a point to train employees to identify such threats and the ways to avoid them. As you can see, most of the threats mentioned above are based on social engineering wherein employees are lured to divulge genuine credentials to cyber attackers and the penetration takes place from there. Hence employees should be made an important stakeholder in any network protection program that you plan.