To defeat your enemy, you must know your enemy. Here is what Sun Tzu’s masterpiece says about strategy, The Art of War. This age-old adage still holds today, even on the cutting edge of technology, where a battle happens between hackers on the one hand and the cybersecurity industry on the other.
So what do businesses need to know about this adversary, the modern-day hacker? Many want to challenge themselves or prove themselves to others and build a reputation, while the other motivation is to cause a disturbance.
Hacktivist organizations hack to assert, humiliate their targets, and see how much chaos they can drive.
Of course, some hack for commercial reasons. Attackers who steal data and demand a corporate ransom will likely always be around, but the motivation is the curiosity for most hackers.
With these motivations in mind, what can we defend against all kinds of attackers?
New security issues and hacking techniques emerge, making it impossible for businesses to protect against hackers in the future altogether. But organizations can take simple steps that can improve security. These simple steps include implementing a solid patch and password policy and enforcing multi-factor authentication on every system that will be published.
Organizations should implement regular security testing of all potential attacks, significantly if it changes. They need to ensure that they implement a security strategy and stick to it. Conduct employee awareness assessments of cyber hazards, organize security audits, check those controls, review incoming access lists.
Only as strong as the weakest link
There should also be a heavy focus on user education. Social engineering and phishing are now the main hacking methods, and delivering malware, and attacks on infrastructure are less common. The previous process worked because people made mistakes — they would click on a link or open an attachment, making it easier for hackers to bypass highly sophisticated technical defenses.
Ultimately, businesses must have the right policies, processes, and mechanisms to react quickly and effectively to reduce risk.
There is no room for complacency, cyber threats change every day, so it is more important than ever that businesses stay informed about the latest developments. Cyberattacks should be seen as inevitable, so security should always be at the forefront of corporate strategy, not just something to ponder.
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