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Top Cyber Threats and Must Have Tools to Secure Your Firm

By ECI | Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Cybersecurity threats are never going away, so it’s important that we continue to stay on our toes against cyber threats that are lurking out there.

Firms must invest time and money if they want to keep up with the latest innovations in the threat landscape and update defense practices accordingly.

Understanding what type of cybersecurity threat could be facing your organization will allow you to implement the right layers of defense as well as training your employees to resist an attacker.

Here are some top threats facing alternative investments firms today:

  • Physical security attacks: These are breaches or incidents compromising a firm’s physical assets. For example, a data center or an office breach can put data files at risk of copying and release. Physical attacks can also be made on Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices. A hacker can compromise the device with added hardware, and steal data by rerouting it to their own network.

  • Malware: Malware itself is short for malicious software and is intended to damage, disrupt, or disable computer operations. Malware is typically brought unknowingly into an organization's network by an unwitting employee who clicked on a link or download in an email or visited a fake website that appeared to be a frequently visited or trusted site.

  • Ransomware: This type of security breach takes things to another level by holding data hostage and requiring users to pay a ransom to get their files back. A ransomware attack can gain access to the network and lock everyone else out, then encrypt the data so it can't be decrypted without a key from the threat actor. Public safety agencies, utilities, municipal works and critical infrastructure like 911 telecommunication centers are common attack vectors.

  • Social engineering: The idea behind social engineering is essentially trying to trick users into divulging personal or company information. A phishing attack is probably the most common social engineering tactic seen today. An email purporting to be from a superior in the organization can readily prompt a lower-level employee to unquestioningly share sensitive data or perform an action like a wire transfer. 

  • External hacking: This attack occurs when an outside hacker tries to either infiltrate or disrupt a company's network or connection either as a means to steal information or to simply prevent the firm from conducting business. They may try a denial of service or DOS attack, bombarding the company server with so many requests that it crashes.

  • Insider Threats: These can either be malicious or unintentional threats caused by a firm’s employees. An unintentional insider threat can be addressed with robust cybersecurity training. Outside attacks must be combatted with firewalls and zero-trust protocols that treat all requests for access as hostile unless proven otherwise.

Is a data breach headed your way?

Data breaches resulted in 36 billion records being exposed in the first three quarters of 2020, according to RiskBased Security research. Despite this, the number of publicly reported breaches decreased by 51% compared to the same time last year.

To be one step ahead of a cybercriminal, Investment Firms are advised to educate employees and implement regularly managed phishing and training, a fully managed cybersecurity training solution.

Firms should also implement a managed SIEM to obtain real-time security analysis of data to proactively identify potential security risks. SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and is a software solution that aggregates and analyzes data and activity across your IT infrastructure.

A SIEM's primary functions are to discover trends, detect threats, and enable organizations to investigate any alerts. The analyzed data it provides to Incident Response Teams include alerts that indicate potential cybersecurity issues and reporting and forensics around known security incidents.

To further protect you and your firms’ information from hacks and hackers, be sure to:

Back up important data regularly

Backups are the only way to successfully recover your data. Ensure you leverage a secure and reliable backup and recovery tool that will de-duplicate, compress, encrypt and securely transfer your data to an offsite data center. Cloud security can be just as good as physical security and in many cases is better at threat detection and neutralization.

Detect a security threat or cyber attack in real time

For security-advanced firms, consider taking a step further and employing continuous security information and event management (SIEM)systems with 24x7x365 intrusion detection and prevention. This will help you be prepared for any cybersecurity threat, no matter how subtle or complex.

Patch consistently to avoid a cyber threat from exploited code

If you rely on a managed service provider (MSP) for cloud services, you may already have this covered. If not, consider leveraging a patch management service to stay ahead of the latest bug and security fixes and reduce the risk of malicious exploits.

Phish your employees to test their awareness

Leverage phishing simulations to test users’ knowledge and information security awareness on a regular basis. You can follow the most recent cybersecurity trends when it comes to creating a fake social engineering attack, and use the results as a teaching moment for your entire staff. ECI offers phishing attack simulations and employee training to increase cyber resilience and help protect your firm against employee-side errors.

Scan your entire network with regularity

Vulnerability assessments conducted by a cybersecurity professional can scan for malware, viruses, backdoors, hosts communicating with botnet-infected systems, known/unknown processes and web services linking to malicious content. This type of threat intelligence can be invaluable in stopping a hack.

Implementing the right layers of security across your organization will help to mitigate risk from a malicious actor. In fact, it takes a pretty heavy arsenal of security measures to combat the ever-growing threats targeting your firm from both the inside and the outside. 

Managing a Distributed Workforce

With employees still telecommunicating or working in a hybrid arrangement, cybersecurity is an even bigger challenge. Remote work means employees may be using unsecured devices and networks, putting your organization at risk.

To help firm up remote-work cybersecurity, consider the following:

Creating remote-work security policies

By setting up and communicating clear, stringent, no-excuses cybersecurity protocols and reinforcing them with regular training, you can help make employees more aware of common scams and threats.

Securing virtual private networks (VPNs)

Having your employees use a VPN can increase security when they connect to your network. Implement a no exception policy and increase overall IT hygiene.

Regulating personal-device use

Employees are likely to use personal devices for work whether you want them to or not, so the best thing you can do is educate them on safe app use and show them how to do routine scans on their mobile devices.

Addressing authorization and authentication

Two-factor authentication should be a requirement at all times, or single login activated for all employees with extra layers of authentication required if login trends are altered. High-risk actions like initiating wire transfers should require two people to sign off on the transaction.

Following these guidelines and equipping your workforce with powerful cybersecurity tools can help prevent a catastrophic data breach. ECI can help you develop strong security protocols and train your employees in how to recognize common threats.

Be sure to contact your Managed Service Provider today to learn how to protect your company from cyber-attacks. 

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