While some basic threats like phishing URLs were down in 2018 as compared to 2017, according to the Cyber Security Agency (CSA), Singapore saw a rise in cybercrime cases (up over 15%) and email impersonation, with monetary losses up 31%.

As technology keeps evolving so do the threats to your IT network and data. The biggest threats on the horizon for businesses are ones that are targeted at cloud infrastructure, fileless attacks, cryptocurrency and mobile wallets, and that use things like AI and machine learning.

Singapore company, Bitrue, had $4.5 million in cryptocurrency stolen in first quarter of 2019.

As an example of how a simple attack can evolve, just think of the phishing emails from the early 2000’s. They were fairly easy to spot because they generally had poor grammar, misspellings, and blurry images.

But today’s phishing attacks are much more sophisticated. They use the exact same images and signature as a legitimate company and through use of automation and advanced technology can even be tailored with your name and company name, making them much more difficult to detect.

Is your network security up to the task when it comes to emerging threats? We’ll go through the layers of protection you should include in your cybersecurity strategy to defend against them.

How to Protect Against the Biggest Data Security Threats

The biggest change in cyberattacks like ransomware, viruses, and other types of malware in the last decade has been the ability for it to get past basic antivirus programs.

The “old way” of preventing these types of infections was to check a file or code against a database of known threats to see if it’s there or not before deciding to quarantine it.

Hackers quickly found ways to get around this, such as:

  • Stealth Files: Creating stealth files that basically pretend to be an innocent, inert file… that is until they get past the virus check mechanism, then they execute their malicious code.
  • Zero-Day Files: A zero-day malware is one that’s never been seen before and thus is not in any database of known threats. Malware is being created and updated at a dizzying pace, making it impossible to catch it all just by matching it to a list of previously identified code.
  • Fileless Attacks: If there’s no file to check for malicious code, an antivirus can’t stop something that might harm your system. Fileless attacks send commands to a legitimate operating system program (Windows PowerShell) that allow the hacker to gain control of your device.

If you want to make sure you’re protected against all of the above and new and emerging threats on the horizon, here’s what you need to include in your data security infrastructure.

Unified Threat Management (UTM)

A UTM platform combines multiple security and networking functions into a single appliance. This ensures several entry points to your network are protected and makes administration easier because everything is contained in one platform.

Common cybersecurity measures you’ll find in a UTM include:

  • Firewall
  • Intrusion prevention system (IPS)
  • Web filtering
  • Antivirus
  • Encrypted virtual private network (VPN)

You’ll want to ensure your UTM appliance uses AI and machine learning and looks for suspicious behaviors rather than just matching files to a database of threats.

By looking at the behavior of your device and network, and when it looks out of the norm, a threat management application can identify those stealth files, zero-day, and fileless attacks.

Anti-phishing Programs with Sandboxing

Phishing isn’t going anywhere, it’s just becoming more sophisticated. Phishing accounts for 90% of data breaches, making it the biggest threat to business networks and data.

It’s important to use an anti-phishing program in addition to user awareness training because it acts as a backstop to increasingly more difficult to detect phishing attacks.

Sandboxing is vital to catching emerging phishing attacks because it immediately quarantines files and puts them in a virtual computer environment. The file thinks that it’s made it past any antivirus barrier, so if it’s malicious, it will show itself by executing its code, and that’s how the application detects it.

Mobile Device Security

Attacks against mobile devices are on the rise along with the use of mobile devices to access business data and applications. A number of mobile attack types have been increasing, including mobile malware, data leakage, and attacks trying to breach mobile wallet systems (like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay).

Mobile device management applications help ensure all mobile devices, whether company or employee owned, are updated with security patches and have proper anti-malware protection applied.

Multi-Factor Authentication

When you enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), also known as two-factor authentication, you can significantly reduce your chance of a data breach due to stolen or hacked login credentials.

One of the newer emerging threats are phishing attacks designed to steal Office 365 login credentials through a fake SharePoint file sharing invitation.

A study by Google found that enabling MFA was able to stop 100% of automated bot phishing attacks and between 96-99% of bulk phishing attacks.

Cloud Services Backup

While many companies have a data backup plan in place for their on-premises computers and servers, many of them don’t separately back up their cloud services data.

Attacks on cloud infrastructure are increasing due to the fact that more companies are moving all their data to cloud environments. This makes services like Slack, Office 365, and Dropbox just as susceptible to ransomware infections and data loss as any other network.

To protect your company data in these services, it’s important to ensure you’re backing up your cloud services data to third party backup platform.

Get Help with Your Small Business IT Security from Managed IT Asia

Are you concerned about security and emerging threats? Managed IT Asia can help by reviewing your current data security strategy, identifying any weaknesses, and suggesting smart remedies that will fortify your defenses.

Contact us today for a free IT security consultation. Call +65 6748 8776 or reach us online.

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MANAGED IT ASIA, we are an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses across Asia. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!