Growing threats to network security

Posted on Dec 14, 2018
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How secure is your network?

Is your network security infrastructure prepared for these threats?

The modern, globally connected digital world demands that business applications, data and services be constantly available from any location, which means networks must span multiple hosting environments, fixed and mobile devices and other forms of IT infrastructure. The network has become not only a target, but also a channel for disruption: It’s a primary route of distribution for distributed denial of service (DDoS), phishing, ransomware, worms and other types of malware attacks.

Make sure that your network security infrastructure is up-to-date to efficiently react to these network threats:

DDoS attacks are proliferating.  The volume and strength of DDoS attacks are growing as hackers try to bring organizations offline or steal their data by flooding websites and networks with spurious traffic. Two factors are helping criminals in their endeavors. One is the widespread availability of “DDoS for hire” services, whereby hackers rent out their skills for very low sums of money. The other is the growing volume of internet-of-things products with poor security defenses that are being attached to device-to-device, edge and core networks.

Remedy: Be sure to create a DDoS mitigation plan. Protect networks against DDoS attacks by monitoring and controlling LAN/WAN traffic flows and device bandwidth consumption to receive earlier warnings of attack.

Network-based ransomware is designed to destroy systems … and data. Self-propagating ransomware attacks that quickly spread across systems do not rely on humans to click a button, download a file or plug in a USB stick. They just need an active and unpatched workstation (think WannaCry and NotPetya) and an automated software update. Many security researchers believe that the primary purpose of some ransomware attacks is not to extort money but to deliberately destroy data on infected systems.

Remedy: Perform regular backups of mission-critical data, ensure all systems and applications are patched and up to date and use vulnerability assessment tools to find gaps in defenses. It’s basic stuff, but it couldn’t be more vital.

Malware is evolving, with activity masked by legitimate cloud services.  Today’s business needs have changed the way enterprises send and store sensitive data, with more organizations using off-premise cloud-hosted repositories and services.

Remedy: Threat intelligence monitoring and analytics are more advanced than ever before. These services can identify suspicious behavior that could indicate legitimate services disguising hacking activity.

Encryption is meant to enhance security, but it’s also helping hackers to conceal their communications. We’ve seen a big rise in the percentage of network traffic that is encrypted — a natural consequence of organizations protecting sensitive data by scrambling communications. But this approach to securing data cuts two ways, with threat researchers also noticing a threefold increase in the volume of encrypted network communication employed by malware in 2017. Encryption gives hackers more time and space to operate prior to their eventual detection and remediation.

Remedy: Use machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify unusual patterns in encrypted web and network traffic and send automatic alerts to security staff if issues merit further investigation. Automation really is the future of network security.

 

Written by Sander Barens from GNC.

Network based attacks are on the rise, and not slowing down. These cyber-attacks aimed at businesses have almost doubled in the past years. How secure is your network infrastructure? Call CITON to defend your business’ network, and design a disaster recovery plan.