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Cybersecurity Explained: Defending Against Modern Cyber Threats


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What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity practices, tools, and procedures help protect networks, computer systems, and applications against threats. This field aims to prevent and block attacks that may cause data loss, unauthorized access and modification, data theft and leakage, money laundering and extortion, and interruptions to normal operations.

Cybersecurity is a broad field consisting of many sub-fields, each applied to help defend certain aspects of the IT ecosystem. Notable fields include critical infrastructure security, network security, cloud security, endpoint security, Internet of Things (IoT) security, serverless security, API security, and Kubernetes security. 

An organization’s cybersecurity strategy consists of security models, such as zero trust and defense in depth, incorporated alongside technologies like network monitoring and endpoint detection and response (EDR). Organizations can employ cybersecurity tools and practices to defend against various threats, including malicious software (malware), zero-day attacks, and phishing schemes.

Get our Complete Guide for

Achieving 24×7 Threat Monitoring and Response

  • Why 24×7 threat monitoring should no longer be considered optional
  • How cybersecurity talent shortages can be overcome
  • How the two-pillar approach helps lean security teams achieve 24×7 threat monitoring

Why Is Cybersecurity Important?

Cybersecurity processes and technologies can protect organizations from damage to computing systems, applications, data, and other digital assets. Without a cybersecurity program, organizations cannot effectively defend themselves against cybercrime, making them an attractive target for attackers. Effectively, they are leaving their digital front door open, allowing thieves and attackers to enter.

Cyber threats can occur at multiple levels of the organization:

  • Infrastructure such as servers, networks, and cloud systems could be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
  • Employees are common targets of social engineering techniques, which can lead to data breaches.
  • Endpoints such as employee workstations, mobile phones, and internet of things (IoT) devices can be targeted by attackers and serve as entry points to sensitive systems.
  • Data is a valuable asset that is highly sought after by attackers. Almost any organization stores personally identifiable information (PII), which is important to the business and its customers, and may be protected by data privacy regulations.

Further in this article you’ll get a deeper understanding of the threats facing your organization, and the defenses you should put in place to protect against them.

Top Cybersecurity Threats and Attacks

Malware

Malicious software (malware) is a piece of program or a file designed to perform malicious actions. Malware may target a whole network, a server, or a single computer, originating at a single location. However, it typically works to infect many other devices and systems as it attempts to spread across the network or even several networks.

Malware is typically designed to perform a specific malicious action. For example, adware delivers malicious or unwanted advertisements with the intent to inflate revenue generated from ads, while viruses infect systems or devices with the intent to perform malicious acts across as many digital spaces as possible.

The scope of a malware attack depends on the type of malware and the resulting damage depends on the exploited vulnerabilities, the spread of the malware, and the organization’s security posture. In some cases, next-generation antivirus (NGAV) may be able to catch and block malware from spreading. However, malware that bypasses security can spread to cause disruption and damage across many environments.

Learn more in our detailed guide to malware detection.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to information until the victim complies with the ransom demand. It typically works by encrypting the victim’s data, preventing access to an application, file servers, or entire databases. Once the information is encrypted, the ransomware displays a note demanding ransom, typically cryptocurrency. Ransomware can spread across servers and paralyze an entire network.

Learn more in our detailed guide to ransomware protection.

Zero-Day Attacks

A zero-day attack involves exploiting a vulnerability before anyone—software developers, security personnel, an organization’s IT staff—gets the chance to fix it. Attackers look for existing zero-day vulnerabilities to exploit or use exploit kits to breach systems, networks, and devices.

Attackers can use various types of vulnerabilities to launch a zero-day attack, including buffer overflows, SQL injection, missing authorizations or data encryption, URL redirects, bugs, and any security issue. Because attackers can leverage any undetected or unpatched vulnerability to launch a zero-day attack, it can be difficult to protect against these attacks proactively.

Learn more in our detailed guide to zero day attacks.

Supply Chain Attacks

A supply chain attack exploits the trust relationships between vendors and their customers or partners. During the attack, threat actors compromise one partner or customer and then move up the supply chain. These threat actors aim to use one entry point to launch a large-scale attack that compromises as many targets as possible.

Learn more in the detailed guide to supply chain security.

Phishing

Phishing is a social engineering attack that aims to trick users into unwittingly revealing sensitive information or installing malware. It involves sending legitimate-looking emails or messages containing a malicious link or file or a legitimate-looking form.

Once a recipient clicks on the link or downloads the file, the action downloads malware on their systems or devices. Alternatively, a phishing email may ask recipients to send sensitive and financial information or fill out a form to divulge this information.

Learn more in the detailed guide to phishing.

Network Attacks

Network attacks perform unauthorized actions on digital assets belonging to a certain network. Threat actors launch these attacks to gain unauthorized access to a network’s internal systems so they can seal, modify, or destroy the information.

Here are the two common types of network attacks:

  • Passive network attacks—threat actors monitor the network and steal data without modifying it.
  • Active network attacks—threat actors encrypt, modify, or damage data found within the network.

Threat actors may escalate a network attack to perform other malicious actions. For example, after infiltrating the network, a threat actor may deploy malware or attack endpoints.

Learn more in the detailed guide to network attacks.

Advanced Persistent Threats

An advanced persistent threat (APT) is a long-term attack launched at a high-value target. Such as large enterprises or nation-states. APTs aim to gain prolonged access to a network and remain undetected until achieving a certain goal, for example, stealing a massive amount of sensitive data.

DDoS

A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack aims to disrupt the operations of a network, server, service, website, or infrastructure until the target slows or shuts down. DDoS attacks attempt to overwhelm a target with a flood of Internet traffic, using compromised computer systems to generate attack traffic. A successful DDoS creates an unexpected traffic jam that clogs up the traffic, denying service to legitimate traffic.

Learn more in the detailed guide to DDoS protection.

Command Injection

A command injection attack attempts to execute arbitrary commands on a host operating system. To inject commands, a threat actor typically needs to exploit application vulnerabilities, like insufficient input validation. Here are several examples:

  • Directly executing shell commands.
  • Exploiting config files vulnerabilities like XML external entities (XXE).
  • Injecting malicious files into a server’s runtime environment.

Learn more in the detailed guide to command injection.

Security Misconfiguration

A security misconfiguration is a vulnerability created by any of the following:

  • Lack of security coverage—failure to implement all security controls needed to protect a network, server, or system. For example, corporate networks that allow connectivity with IoT devices without implementing endpoint protection, or encrypting sensitive data only in transit and leaving data at rest exposed.
  • Faulty security implementation—poorly implemented security controls that result in errors or bugs. For example, using default passwords and admin accounts, incomplete configurations, overly permissive cross-origin resource sharing (CORS), unused pages, and verbose error messages.

Deserialization

Serialization processes convert objects into a storable format, such as text. Deserialization processes extract data from files, streams, or networks and rebuild this data as objects.

Insecure deserialization enables threat actors to use unknown or untrusted to perform malicious actions. Threat actors can use insecure deserialization for the following attacks:

  • Inject a malicious serialized object into an application.
  • Execute arbitrary code when objects are being deserialized.
  • Launch Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.
  • Abuse the logic of applications, for example, bypassing authentication controls.
  • Use insecure deserialization as an entry point for large-scale attacks.

Learn more in the detailed guide to deserialization.

DNS Attacks

A domain name system (DNS) is responsible for translating URLs into IP addresses. A DNS service keeps records containing information on domains and is commonly used to associate a domain name with a location. A DNS attack targets DNS infrastructure, trying to corrupt answers or make the service unavailable.

Learn more in the detailed guide to DNS attack.

Learn about additional threats in the detailed guides to:

What Does Cybersecurity Defend?

Network Security

Network security is the use of hardware, software, and security processes to defend layers 3 and 4 of the OSI network model-known as the network layer and transport layer. Network security creates a secure perimeter around sensitive assets, preventing access by unauthorized users. The main goal of network security measures is to prevent unauthorized parties from penetrating the network, and to immediately identify and block malicious access attempts.

Endpoint Security

Endpoint security is the practice of securing endpoint devices such as employee workstations, on-premise servers, cloud servers, or mobile devices. Endpoint security tools have several goals:

  • Protecting endpoint devices from basic threats like file-based malware
  • Protecting endpoint devices from advanced threats like zero-day attacks, fileless malware, or malware using evasion and obfuscation tactics.
  • Detecting breaches on endpoints and giving security teams the tools they need to investigate incidents and respond to them, both manually and automatically.

Application Security

Application security is a set of tools and practices that can help defend applications from cyber attacks-this includes protecting the application, the host running it, the code, sensitive data stored by the application, integrated systems, and end users.

Application security starts at the development stage, and ideally is tightly integrated with application development processes (an approach known as DevSecOps). Application security continues in testing stages, when applications should be thoroughly tested to prevent security issues making their way to production.

Finally, there are specialized tools and techniques used to test and secure applications in production. These tools could be external to the application, as in the case of a web application firewall (WAF), or built into the application, such as an embedded intrusion prevention system (IPS).

API Security

Application programming interface (API) security involves the prevention of malicious attacks on APIs. APIs are a critical asset for many organizations-mission critical processes depend on APIs, and APIs commonly provide access to sensitive data and operations. At the same time, APIs were until recently not designed with security in mind, making them a primary target for attackers.

Key security risks in API systems include man in the middle (MitM) attacks, authentication flaws, and identity attacks. API security measures include the use of API gateways, enforcement of strong authentication, and standardized definitions of API actions, such as the OpenAPI specification, which makes it possible to perform systematic testing of API operations.

Cloud Security

Cloud security is the practice of protecting public and private cloud environments, their infrastructure, and the applications running within them. Cloud environments are increasingly used to run mission critical applications and host sensitive data. At the same time, the cloud is a highly dynamic environment which is difficult to monitor and protect, and is incompatible with many traditional security tools.

Public cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google provide extensive security tools as part of their cloud platforms. However, in many cases these tools are not enough to fully secure an organization and its workloads in the cloud. This led to the development of several categories of cloud-specific security tools, including:

  • Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)-protects cloud workloads like VMs, containers, and serverless functions.
  • Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)-detects misconfigurations in cloud environments and violations of compliance requirements, and helps remediate them.
  • SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM)-detects misconfiguration and vulnerabilities in SaaS applications and helps remediate them.
  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)-deployed within cloud resources and provides services like firewalls, application layer security, and data loss prevention (DLP).

IoT Security

The Internet of things (IoT) adds Internet connectivity to computing devices, machinery, everyday objects, animals, or people (via wearable devices). Many organizations rely on the IoT for business critical operations, and some IoT devices contain sensitive data, which creates a new attack surface.

Multiple high-profile security breaches were related to security vulnerabilities of IoT devices. Attackers are realizing the high value of IoT devices, and at the same time, many IoT devices were not designed with security in mind. In many cases, IoT devices are not authenticated or have trivial security measures. Attackers can use them to breach enterprise systems, and can also herd IoT devices into massive botnets and use them for criminal activity.

IoT security solutions enable organizations to gain visibility over their IoT devices, understand their security weaknesses, and either remediate them on the device, or create defensive measures that can prevent attackers from abusing IoT systems.

Container and Kubernetes Security

Kubernetes is an open-source platform used to manage containers at scale. Kubernetes clusters have become a foundation of modern enterprise data centers. While Kubernetes provides robust security functionality, it is not secure by default. The risks of improperly secured Kubernetes clusters are becoming a top priority for cybersecurity teams.

Kubernetes risks align closely to steps in the container lifecycle. Security best practices involve:

  • Securing containers during the build phase
  • Scanning container images for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations
  • Monitoring containers at runtime to detect security weaknesses and attacks

Containerized environments are highly dynamic and complex, and traditional security tools often cannot operate within a Kubernetes cluster. This led to the development of cloud native security solutions, which can be deployed alongside containers in a Kubernetes cluster, to provide visibility over workloads, identify vulnerabilities and remediate them.

Learn more in the detailed guides to:

 

Serverless Security

Serverless computing is a new computing model in which cloud providers take full ownership of server infrastructure, automatically managing and allocating resources. Customers need only write simple units of code, known as serverless functions, which they can run at any scale on serverless infrastructure. The most popular serverless runtime platforms are AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, and Azure Functions.

Serverless security is very different from traditional application security, because the organization has no access to the underlying server infrastructure. Instead of using traditional solutions like next generation firewalls (NGFW), organizations must build security directly into their serverless applications. There are specific techniques and best practices for hardening serverless functions and defining least privilege access, so that each function does only what it is designed to do, limiting the impact of compromised functions.

Critical Infrastructure Security

Critical infrastructure involves parts of a country’s economy that are essential for its survival. The US Department of Homeland Security identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors including energy, transportation, food and agriculture, and financial services.

The increasing use of IoT, connectivity to public networks, and machine to machine (M2M) communication, exposes critical infrastructure to new threats. Today, critical infrastructure is exposed to regular cyber threats and organized cyber attacks waged by hostile nations or terrorist groups.

Critical infrastructure security involves protecting critical infrastructure and ensuring its continuous operation. A major challenge is that critical systems often cannot be updated or modified because this can interfere with ongoing operations. Critical infrastructure security solutions overcome this challenge by a variety of techniques, such as network segmentation and zero trust access.

Learn more in our detailed guide to cyber insurance.

Medical Device Security

Medical Device Security focuses on protecting medical devices from cyber threats and unauthorized access. These devices range from simple monitors to complex imaging machines and implanted devices like pacemakers. As medical devices become more connected, they are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals for their sensitive data and potential as entry points to larger networks.

The main challenges in medical device security include the integration of legacy devices not originally designed with cybersecurity in mind, the complexity of healthcare environments, and the critical need for device availability that limits the use of traditional security measures. Effective strategies include implementing strong access controls, regularly updating and patching devices, encrypting sensitive data both in transit and at rest, and conducting thorough security assessments to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities.

Manufacturers and healthcare providers must collaborate closely, following guidelines from regulatory bodies such as the FDA, to ensure devices are secure throughout their lifecycle. Additionally, healthcare organizations should develop specific policies and procedures for medical device security, including incident response plans tailored to the unique challenges of medical environments.

Learn more in the detailed guide to medical device cyber security

Cybersecurity Technologies and Solutions

Next-Generation Antivirus (NGAV)

NGAV technology employs machine learning and behavioral analysis to detect today’s sophisticated threats. It goes beyond traditional signature-based detection, providing functionality that helps detect and respond to unknown threats. Most NGAV solutions offer cloud-based deployment that enables organizations to leverage the technology quickly.

Learn more about Cynet NGAV.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

EDR is a security solutions category created by Gartner in 2013. Its goal is to enable security teams to detect breaches on endpoint devices and immediately intervene to contain and eradicate the threat. Thus, EDR is complementary to NGAV and preventive endpoint protection solutions.

Without EDR, security teams have very limited visibility into what is happening on endpoint devices. EDR lets them detect security incidents, provides the data needed for rapid forensic investigation, and also allows them to respond to an incident, for example by isolating the endpoint from the network or wiping and reimaging it.

According to the Gartner definition, an EDR solution has three components:

  • Data collection-an agent running on endpoints which collects data about network activity, running processes, and user activity.
  • Detection engine-a system that analyzes data from an endpoint and reports anomalies and suspicious activity to security teams.
  • Analysis engine-a system that integrates data from endpoints with other data sources, including threat intelligence feeds, enriching the data to identify security incidents.

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

XDR tools automatically collect information from several security layers and correlate it to facilitate rapid threat identification. The technology can track threats across multiple sources within an organization to extend visibility and response across the entire ecosystem, including servers, endpoints, email systems, application workloads, and cloud environments.

XDR technology connects individual security datasets to provide a unified attack story across the entire environment. It helps prevent threats from hiding between security silos due to a lack of integration between different security tools. XDR can also help improve productivity, providing security with a centralized platform for threat investigation and remediation.

Learn more in our detailed guides to XDR.

UEBA

User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is a cybersecurity solution that uses machine learning to identify abnormal behavior that could indicate a potential security threat. UEBA tools analyze data about user behavior and other entities (such as devices and applications) to identify anomalies that deviate from established patterns.

UEBA is particularly effective at detecting insider threats. While other security solutions focus on external threats, UEBA is designed to identify potentially harmful actions taken by legitimate users within an organization. This capability is crucial in helping organizations protect their sensitive data from insider threats.

The strength of UEBA lies not just in its ability to detect threats, but also in its ability to provide context about these threats. By analyzing behavior patterns, UEBA can provide insights into the motives and methods of an attacker, helping organizations to understand and prevent similar attacks in the future.

Learn more in the detailed guide to UEBA

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

MDR services leverage advanced tools and expert security personnel to provide threat monitoring, hunting, and response. Organizations can outsource their detection and response responsibilities to MDR services that have the resources to identify threats and minimize the scope of attacks quickly.

MDR services leverage advanced analytics and threat intelligence to monitor, detect, and respond to threats remotely. It typically involves deploying EDR technology to achieve visibility and push alerts to relevant parties. These tools collect forensic data, and human analysts triage alerts to determine the appropriate response.

Network Firewall

A network firewall mediates communication between internal and external devices, blocking or mitigating unauthorized access to the network. It is a security device that sits in front of the network and uses policies to allow or deny traffic into the network. It protects private networks from traffic flowing from the public Internet or across intranet networks.

Organizations can configure their network firewall to control all traffic passing through, examining all incoming messages and rejecting any that do not meet predefined policies. However, it needs proper configuration to ensure it blocks only threats, like worms and malware, while allowing users access to the resources they require to perform their job.

Learn more in our detailed guide to managed firewall.

VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that creates a secure connection over a less secure network, such as the Internet. It encrypts data and provides anonymity to users by masking their IP address and location. This makes it harder for cybercriminals to track online activities and steal data.

VPNs are widely used by individuals and businesses to protect sensitive data, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks, which are often unsecured and vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Learn more in the detailed guide to VPN.

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

An IPS examines network traffic to detect and prevent the exploitation of vulnerabilities. This technology has evolved from intrusion detection systems (IDS) that passively scan traffic to report detected threats.

IPS sits inline, placed within the direct communication path between the source and the destination, and actively analyzes traffic attempting to access the network. IPS is a proactive layer of analysis that can take automated actions on traffic and negatively select threats.

Vulnerability Scanning

Vulnerability scanning tools provide automated identification of potentially exploitable vulnerabilities in applications. These tools use data on publicly disclosed vulnerabilities, and check the application against a list of previously identified signatures.

Learn more in the detailed guide to vulnerability scanners.

Network Monitoring

Network monitoring offers continuous visibility into a computer network, checking for internal issues such as server or component failures, slow traffic, overloaded routers, and various network connection issues. Unlike IPS technology, network monitoring tools do not check for intrusion.

Network monitoring solutions continuously monitor the network and automatically notify administrators when detecting network issues, typically via email or text. These solutions can also initiate failover to remove problem circuits or devices before remediation. Proactive tools can identify anomalies indicating potential outages to prevent failure or downtime before it occurs.

Security Operations Center

A security operations center (SOC) is a centralized location where security personnel monitor and analyze an organization’s network, systems, and devices for potential threats and vulnerabilities. The SOC is responsible for identifying, analyzing, and responding to security incidents in a timely and efficient manner.

The SOC typically consists of a team of security analysts and engineers who use various tools and techniques to monitor and protect the organization’s network and assets. These tools may include network and endpoint security systems, security information and event management (SIEM) systems, and other security technologies. The team may also use manual processes, such as reviewing log files and analyzing network traffic, to identify potential threats.

The goal of the SOC is to detect and respond to security incidents as quickly as possible in order to minimize the impact on the organization. This may involve identifying and isolating infected systems, restoring affected systems, and implementing measures to prevent future incidents from occurring.

In addition to responding to security incidents, the SOC may also be responsible for conducting regular security assessments, implementing security controls and policies, and educating employees about cybersecurity best practices.

Learn more in the detailed guides to:

Learn more about additional technologies in the guide to cybersecurity solutions.

Cybersecurity Models and Techniques

Zero Trust

Zero trust is a cybersecurity approach that requires validation for any user, system, service, application, or device requesting access to network resources. It helps protect modern networks with no traditional perimeter by enforcing policies and security controls that continuously validate security standards before granting access and privileges.

Modern networks often leverage many resources, including cloud environments, local resources, and third-party software. Corporate networks often allow remote connectivity to personally-owned devices, and healthcare facilities establish connectivity with Internet of Things (IoT). Zero trust security assumes any of these connections can become a threat, offering networks the ability to allow this connectivity securely.

Learn more in our detailed guide to zero trust.

Defense in Depth

Defense in Depth (DiD) is a cybersecurity approach that stacks multiple layers of security to ensure that if one fails, another layer exists to offer protection. It involves layering several defensive mechanisms to protect network resources and valuable data. DiD intentionally adds security redundancies to increase security and cover many attack vectors.

This approach assumes a single layer of protection cannot cover security needs because threat actors constantly innovate their attacks. Using only malware protection, for example, leaves an organization vulnerable to endpoint attacks. DiD offers comprehensive coverage, using various defenses such as IPS, data encryption, endpoint protection, threat hunting, and firewalls.

Learn more in the detailed guide to defense in depth.

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing (pentesting) is a cybersecurity technique that tests an organization’s security posture, trying to find vulnerabilities and security weaknesses. A pentest can simulate attacks on networks, systems, or applications, using various techniques and attack vectors. It is usually performed by ethical hackers, contracted as third parties or in-house staff to simulate attacks and test the variability of compliance measures.

Learn more in the detailed guide to penetration testing.

Microsegmentation

Microsegmentation involves creating isolated zones within cloud environments and data centers. It enables organizations to isolate workloads and establish policies that control network traffic between these workloads. System administrators typically use microsegmentation to implement zero trust, minimize the attack surface, strengthen regulatory compliance, and improve breach containment.

Sandboxing

Sandboxing involves isolating threats in an isolated environment for inspection. A sandbox provides a safe environment where administrators can safely run, observe, and analyze untrusted or untested code without putting production assets at risk. It helps contain threats in a test environment and prevent them from infecting the operating system or host machine.

Learn more in the detailed guide to sandboxing.

Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability Management is an ongoing process that involves the identification, classification, prioritization, remediation, and mitigation of software vulnerabilities. This process is crucial for maintaining the security integrity of systems and networks in an organization. The goal is to reduce the window of opportunity for attackers by continuously identifying and addressing vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

For effective vulnerability management, organizations should adopt a proactive and systematic approach, incorporating it into their regular IT maintenance and software development routines. It involves collaboration across different teams, including security, operations, and development, and requires executive support to ensure adequate resources are allocated. Regular reporting and auditing are also essential components, providing transparency and accountability for the vulnerability management process.

Learn more in the detailed guide to vulnerability management

DevSecOps

DevSecOps is a software development approach that emphasizes collaboration between software developers, security professionals, and operations teams throughout the entire software development life cycle (SDLC). The goal of DevSecOps is to create a culture of continuous integration, testing, and deployment, in which security is built into the software development process from the beginning.

One of the key principles of DevSecOps is that security is everyone’s responsibility. This means that developers, security professionals, and operations teams all work together to ensure that the software being developed is secure and compliant with relevant security standards and regulations.

To achieve this, DevSecOps teams may use a variety of tools and techniques, such as automated testing and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, to ensure that security is integrated into the development process from the start. This helps to identify and fix potential security vulnerabilities early in the development process, rather than waiting until later stages when it may be more costly and time-consuming to fix them.

Attack Surface Management

Attack surface management is a security practice that involves identifying, analyzing, and reducing the potential vulnerabilities and attack vectors that could be exploited by adversaries to gain access to an organization’s network, systems, and data.

Attack surface management typically involves identifying and inventorying all of the assets and systems within an organization’s network, including hardware, software, and data. This includes identifying the external and internal interfaces and points of access that could potentially be exploited by attackers.

Once the organization’s attack surface has been identified and mapped, security professionals can then analyze the potential vulnerabilities and attack vectors that exist within the organization’s environment. This may involve conducting vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and other types of security testing to identify and prioritize potential vulnerabilities.

Once the vulnerabilities have been identified, the organization can then implement measures to reduce the attack surface and minimize the risk of successful attacks. This may involve implementing security controls and measures, such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and access controls, to limit access to sensitive systems and data.

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs)

TTPs are patterns of activities or methods associated with a specific threat actor or group of threat actors. TTPs represent how threat actors (or hackers) orchestrate and manage their attacks.

Understanding TTPs can help organizations create effective cybersecurity strategies. By knowing the tactics and techniques used by attackers, organizations can better anticipate their actions and prepare their defenses accordingly.

TTPs provide valuable insights into the behavior of threat actors. They highlight the tools threat actors use, the techniques they apply to compromise systems, and the procedures they follow to carry out their attacks. This valuable information can improve incident response times and bolster an organization’s overall security posture.

Learn more in the detailed guide to TTPs

Get our Complete Guide for

Achieving 24×7 Threat Monitoring and Response

  • Why 24×7 threat monitoring should no longer be considered optional
  • How cybersecurity talent shortages can be overcome
  • How the two-pillar approach helps lean security teams achieve 24×7 threat monitoring

Cybersecurity Best Practices

Create a Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program

According to company surveys, an employee or contractor initiates two out of three preventable insider threat incidents. The first line of defense against cybercrime is employees. For an organization to be protected, their employees’ education is vital to all the needed skills and knowledge. Organizations can implement a comprehensive cybersecurity awareness program to create a critical “security-first culture.” A program can address aspects like identifying risks, employee behaviors, and tracking improvement metrics.

Address OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a global community non-profit promoting application security. A core principle is a free and easy access to OWASP’s knowledge base on their website. OWASP is considered highly credible. There are hundreds of chapters with tens of thousands of members. Developers rely on OWASP for essential web application security guidance.

OWASP publishes and revises its list of the top 10 web application vulnerabilities every few years. The list, recognized as an essential web application security best practices guide, includes the OWASP Top 10 threats, the potential impact of each vulnerability, and how organizations can avoid them. Various expert sources like security consultants, security vendors, and security teams with different sized companies and organizations compile the comprehensive list.

MITRE ATT&CK Framework

MITRE ATT&CK is a free, globally accessible framework for organizations seeking to strengthen their cybersecurity strategies, providing comprehensive and recent cyber threat information.

Organizations can use the framework to evaluate their security methods, and cybersecurity vendors can test products and services. Each organization using the framework evaluation criteria specific to their organization focuses on the details of their specific cybersecurity approach. Evaluations results are noncompetitive. Organizations can not use results to gain a business advantage over other evaluated organizations.

MITRE is a not-for-profit security research organization that created and curated the framework and knowledge base. The knowledge base is an ongoing project containing analyses based on real-world events. Organizations can reference these analyses when they are developing threat models and methodologies. As organizations contribute their knowledge of cyber threats, the knowledge base grows.

Using MITRE’s evaluations, companies can determine the strength of their products and services. The evaluations provide:

  • Objective insights-the use of specific commercial security products
  • Transparent analysis-analysis of a given product’s capabilities and strengths
  • Strengthens the cybersecurity community-by strengthening vendors that develop products responsible for many industries customer security

Use CVE Databases

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) are publicly disclosed information security vulnerabilities and exposures.

CVE aims to make sharing information about known vulnerabilities easier so cybersecurity strategies are updated with the latest security flaws and issues.

CVE creates a standardized identifier for a certain vulnerability or exposure. CVE identifiers and CVE names or CVE numbers give security professionals access to information about specific cyber threats across multiple information sources by using the same common name.

Organizations can set a baseline for evaluating the coverage of their security tools using the CVE database. Organizations can see what each tool covers and how they use CVE’s common identifiers appropriately.

Security advisors can search for known attack signatures and remediate critical exploits as a part of any digital forensics process referencing CVE vulnerability information.

Enforce Least Privilege Access

Least privilege access is an approach to cyber threats that restricts every user’s access and endpoint to the minimum information and resources required to accomplish its designated function. Users trying to access information against an organization’s policy will immediately alert appropriate authorities. Information that requires elevated rights makes users go through a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) process, correctly logging every event. Every event is looked through promptly and periodically. Enable monitoring and improvement of existing systems guiding administration rights and ensure their accuracy and applicability.

Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA, a basic implementation, is still among the cybersecurity best practices. By adding an extra layer of security, MFA helps organizations protect sensitive data. It leaves threat actors little chance to log in as if they were you.

Even with a password, threat actors would still need two or three “factors” of authentication for access like a security token, a mobile phone, a fingerprint, or a voice. MFA benefits an organization by improving its access control by clearly distinguishing between users of shared accounts.

Learn more in the detailed guide to authentication (coming soon)

Monitor Third-party Access to Your Data

A vital part of an organization’s security strategy is controlling third-party access.

Here is a list of people and companies that may access an organization’s data remotely:

  • Remote employees
  • Subcontractors
  • Business suppliers
  • Vendors

Third-party access entails a higher risk of insider attacks and opens vulnerability for malware and threat actors to enter systems.

Organizations can protect sensitive data from third-party access breaches by monitoring third-party actions. By limiting the scope of third-party user access, organizations will know who connects and why they connect to a network,

Organizations can monitor user activity in conjunction with one-time passwords to provide full logging of all user actions. Organizations can detect malicious activity and investigate when necessary.

Backup Your Data

The most important infrastructure components in any organization are data backups. Data backups help guard against data loss and provide a way of restoring deleted files or recovering an accidentally overwritten file.

Backups are an organization’s best option for recovering from a ransomware attack or a data loss event like a fire in a data center.

Critical databases or related line-of-business applications need a backup process. Predefined backup policies govern the process that specifies how frequently the data is backed up, how many duplicate copies, called replicas, are required, and by service-level agreements (SLAs) that stipulate the speed at which an organization must restore data.

A full data backup, preferably during weekends or non-business hours, should be scheduled at least once a week is a suggested best practice. Organizations usually schedule a series of differential or incremental data backups that have changed since the last full backup to supplement weekly full backups.

‍Learn more in the detailed guide to:

Start an Incident Response Plan

Incident response is an organization’s process of detecting security events that affect network resource and information assets, evaluating and mitigating an event. Cybersecurity incident response is critical to businesses. Incidents like malware infections, lost or stolen unencrypted laptops, compromised login credentials, and database exposures can have ramifications that have lasting impacts on businesses.

Securing Your Business Against Cyber Risks with Cynet

Beyond XDR-Autonomous Breach Protection

Cynet 360 AutoXDR™ is the world’s first Autonomous Breach Protection platform that natively integrates the endpoint, network and user attack prevention & detection of XDR with the automated investigation and remediation capabilities of SOAR, backed by a 24/7 world-class MDR service. End to end, fully automated breach protection is now within reach of any organization, regardless of security team size and skill level.

XDR Layer: End-to-End Prevention & Detection

  • Endpoint protection-multilayered protection against malware, ransomware, exploits and fileless attacks
  • Network protection-protecting against scanning attacks, MITM, lateral movement and data exfiltration
  • User protection-preset behavior rules coupled with dynamic behavior profiling to detect malicious anomalies
  • Deception-wide array of network, user, file decoys to lure advanced attackers into revealing their hidden presence

SOAR Layer: Response Automation

  • Investigation-automated root cause and impact analysis
  • Findings-actionable conclusions on the attack’s origin and its affected entities
  • Remediation-elimination of malicious presence, activity and infrastructure across user, network and endpoint attacks
  • Visualization-intuitive flow layout of the attack and the automated response flow

MDR Layer: Expert Monitoring and Oversight

  • Alert monitoring-First line of defense against incoming alerts, prioritizing and notifying customer on critical events
  • Attack investigation-Detailed analysis reports on the attacks that targeted the customer
  • Proactive threat hunting-Search for malicious artifacts and IoC within the customer’s environment
  • Incident response guidance-Remote assistance in isolation and removal of malicious infrastructure, presence and activity

Simple Deployment

Cynet 360 AutoXDR™ can be deployed across thousands of endpoints in less than two hours. It can be immediately used to uncover advanced threats and then perform automatic or manual remediation, disrupt malicious activity and minimize damage caused by attacks.

Get a free trial of Cynet 360 AutoXDR™ and experience the world’s only integrated XDR, SOAR, and MDR solution.

See Additional Guides on Key Cybersecurity Topics

Network Attacks

Authored by Cynet

XDR

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Zero-Day Attack

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SIEM Security

Authored by Exabeam

Zero Trust

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What is TTPs

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Security Operations Center

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Cyber Security Threats

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UEBA

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What is Phishing

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Managed Firewall

Authored by Atlantic

What is a VPN

Authored by Atlantic

DDoS Protection

Authored by Atlantic

Cyber Crime

Authored by BlueVoyant 

Cyber Insurance

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Cyber Threats

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SIEM

Authored by Coralogix

API Security

Authored by Pynt

DNS Attack

Authored by Bright Security

Command Injection

Authored by Bright Security

Medical Device Cyber Security

Authored by Sternum IoT

Vulnerability Management

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Disaster Recovery

Authored by Cloudian

Cyber Security Solutions

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Deserialization

Authored by Bright Security

Additional Cybersecurity Resources

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