Around the world, there are fears of various issues in the security of online systems. Nation-states or cybercriminals orchestrate these attacks. With the increased adoption of cloud services, the primary focus in IT cloud security is stopping the attackers from gaining access to various assets on the network. However, a good number of corporations are losing their footing for defending against external and internal cyber-attacks. Online cyber security threats come not only from external actors but can also originate from internal sources. Thus, the company needs to be aware of internal and external cyber threats and focus on both of them equally.
Cyber Attacks – Security From Internal and External Threats
Internal and external cyber threats
As an organization, you need to take both internal and external cyber threats seriously. As things are, corporations pay attention or mainly focus on the external threats, leaving themselves exposed to internal attacks. The good thing is that there are several cybersecurity strategies that a company can use to defend its data and infrastructure from both the above threats. We will look at these strategies shortly. Before that, let us understand what an external or internal threat is.
What Does internal and external cyber-attack mean?
This refers to cybersecurity vulnerabilities that arise within an organization that can cause damage or exploit the system. The abuse of extended privileges given to a trusted employee of an organization causes internal cyber threats. The organization should be vigilant on their employees’ browsing habits.
How do internal cyber threats happen?
The employees of a company have the privilege of accessing the documents and physical equipment. The company trusts them with its cyber systems. If the employees do not take security precautions, they can cause damage either intentionally or unintentionally. An instance of an internal cyber threat is the Yahoo email leaks. The most extensive data breach ever recorded hit the company. The company should remove the credentials of an employee after they leave the company. If you do not remove the credentials, an employee can maliciously gain admin privileges and carry out administrative functions. They can even change the access rights belonging to other employees or even deactivate the network security protocols.
Besides this, accidental data breaches and data loss are also common. Human errors account for 95% of the total security breaches. An employee may leave their laptop in a bus or a train while traveling, spill a drink on a device or accidentally delete a folder.
An organization’s employees can be the gateway to a cyber attack when viewing content from a malicious site. They may download a virus that may damage the entire network.
External cyber attacks
Financial benefit motivates most external cyber crimes. The attacker aims to steal the core content of a business. They use attack vectors like worms, trojans, and phishing to gain access to the target. Other groups like Anonymous attack government systems and organizations.
How do external cyber threats happen?
An ideology drives their objective. They aim to take revenge or teach a moral lesson to their target. Sometimes, external attacks lead to massive data leakages of personal or customer information, financial information, company records, among other sensitive information.
It is harder to deal with external cyber-attacks than internal ones as you do not control the external actors, unlike your employees. It is difficult to predict what will happen. For organizations to understand the intensity of the attack properly, they need to know the entry points of these attacks. A closer look at the attack may establish the motive behind them. They are primarily intended to gather information, generate revenue, financial reasons, or change the existing programs using malicious software.
Some of this malware causes less harm compared to others. Common malware used by attackers includes adware, spyware, ransomware, trojans, rootkits, and worms. Outsiders can also gain access to your network through hacking. Through this model, understanding motivation is hard. The motivation ultimately depends on the party attacking your network.
The other way that internal cyber threats may arise is through sabotage. These are deliberate actions carried out by an individual or a collection of attackers to disrupt service. They may delete critical files on your server or even flood your network with traffic leading to a Distributed Denial of service.
How to secure your business from internal and external threats
Having seen what internal and external cyber threats are and how they happen, let us now see how you can protect yourself from them. A good security strategy should cover protection from both internal and external threats like bot attacks. The administration has the responsibility of changing the credentials frequently. To stop the internal and external cyber threats from occurring, take the measures below.
Regularly auditing the system
The system administrator should make it routine to audit the system regularly. They should look for location compliance and the policy for data loss prevention. The admin should confirm that the policies apply to their location because they will provide security only when they conform to the location. Are there changes to the enterprise security policy by any employee? If yes, the admin should look for the reason for the modification. Is there something fishy? Then the admin should contact higher authorities immediately.
No sharing of account passwords
It should be a policy of the company that employees should not share account passwords. The company should have a password management system that changes the passwords regularly. The employee may attempt to share their account credentials over the email to their accounts or friends. However, the attackers may have already broken into the email, enabling them to view the credentials in plain text. Hence, an organization should restrict this practice.
Removing the access rights for a former employee
An employee may leave an organization positively or with revenge thoughts in their minds. Regardless of the state of their minds, the organization must revoke the access rights for any former employee. Those with positive thoughts may not be an issue. However, the disgruntled employees may have revenge thoughts. They may plan to conduct various nefarious activities for the company. Hence, you must revoke all the access for the former employees.
Regular change of passwords
The other way to secure yourself from both internal and external cyber-attacks is through regular and timely changes in passwords. You can do this in person or using a password management system. This is an effective method to reduce insider and outsider cyberthreats. Thus, the IT security team should make it a habit.
Having the right cybersecurity strategy in place can help the business prevent major losses both financially and in data. It also helps make an immediate action when a data breach arises. Having a collection of internal and external cyber security measures results in invisible and robust data protection. The organization should practice the above mechanisms to secure itself from internal and external cyber threats.