Thinking Like a Cyber Attacker can Help Strengthen Your Information Security Response Plan

Thinking Like a Cyber Attacker can Help Strengthen Your Information Security Response Plan

If your information security protocols are designed solely around ensuring your gateway firewall is reinforced, you’re probably thinking like a company executive – not like a cyber-criminal.

Taking the time to understand the stages and patterns that often mark information security incidents can help you focus on the way criminals think – and adjust your thinking and information security efforts accordingly.

There are typically four distinct steps, or stages, in information security attacks:

Step 1: Probing

This step is marked by reconnaissance efforts. Think of this step as the criminals “casing the joint.”

Criminals bent on infiltrating or attacking a company’s systems usually spend some amount of time researching and selecting their targets. They then take what they’ve learned to develop a specific attack plan, based on how well they think they’ll be able to exploit various vulnerabilities (which they see as opportunities.)

Step 2: Delivery and Attack

After choosing their target and identifying their plan of attack, cyber criminals are ready to implement their plan.

In this second stage, attackers may place a delivery mechanism online which, when clicked or downloaded, would allow them into your system or provide them with the information they’re seeking.

Because malware doesn’t do attackers any good until it’s actually in your system, this second step is also the stage where would-be attackers are busy using social engineering tactics to try to induce someone in your company to click on a link or download a file. When the unsuspecting employee does so, he or she unwittingly gives the attacker exactly what they want.

Step 3: Exploitation

Once they have tricked someone into accessing their delivery mechanism, the attackers work to exploit systems vulnerabilities.

Every information security attack is a little bit different, but once they are behind your firewall and inside your network architecture, the criminals may seek to elevate user privileges. This can give them the ability to perform more in-depth, long-term reconnaissance all while having complete (and invisible) control over your network and systems.

Step 4: Compromise Your Systems

Ultimately, hackers want to steal sensitive data; prevent your systems from operating correctly; obtain control over a single device, program or your entire network, or all of these.

Once they are inside your systems, criminals will be poised and ready to accomplish their goals. If they want to exfiltrate high-value company, employee or customer data, they may be able to do so quickly and without being detected.

They may also seek to use your systems to steal your computing resources to aid them in attacking their next corporate victim.

Is Your Network Prepared for the Way Criminals Think?

At Intrinium Information Technology Solutions, we help businesses in a variety of industries and disciplines with their information security needs. Whether you are responsible for information security for a financial services firm, healthcare organization, retail establishment or a state or local agency, you need to have systems and security measures in place to protect your company’s – and your customers’ – valuable information.

To learn more and to arrange for an evaluation of your current solutions, contact us today by calling 866.461.5099, or fill out our online contact form.


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