In a utopian world, an organisation’s systems would hum along smoothly 24/7, all year round. But let’s face it – real life isn’t always that kind. Cyber threats loom large, whether they’re intentional hacks or accidental slip-ups, and they can throw a wrench in a business’ daily operations.
By constructing a resilient cyber security framework, we can fortify our defences and navigate the digital landscape with confidence. In this article, we will embark on a journey to explore the key elements of a robust cyber security framework, empowering you to stay one step ahead of cyber adversaries.
Understanding the Digital Battleground
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of building a resilient cybersecurity framework, it’s crucial to comprehend the dynamic nature of the digital battleground. By acknowledging the ever-changing tactics of cyber adversaries, we lay the foundation for a proactive and adaptable security strategy.
Cyber threats can be broadly categorised into two main groups:
- Network-Targeted Crimes: This category encompasses cybercrimes that directly focus on compromising networks or devices. It includes the deployment of viruses, malicious software (malware), and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. These tactics are designed to infiltrate systems, cause disruptions, or gain unauthorised access.
- Device-Enabled Criminal Activities: In this category, cybercriminals employ devices as tools to engage in various forms of criminal activities. These activities include the distribution of phishing emails aimed at deceiving recipients, engaging in cyberstalking to harass victims online, and perpetrating identity theft by illicitly acquiring and exploiting personal information. Such actions often involve exploiting individuals’ vulnerabilities or trust to achieve their criminal objectives.
10 most common cyber threats to watch out for
DDoS attacks overload websites to make them crash by flooding them with too much traffic. Hackers use networks of infected computers called botnets to carry out these attacks
Botnets are groups of compromised computers controlled by hackers from afar. Hackers use these botnets to send spam, launch attacks, or perform harmful actions.
Identity theft happens when criminals steal personal information to commit fraud. They might access accounts, create fake ones, or exploit your identity for financial gain.
Cyberstalking involves online harassment aimed at frightening victims. This can be done through emails, social media, or other online means to create fear.
Social engineering is when hackers manipulate people into revealing information. They might pretend to be customer service representatives or exploit details from social media to gain your trust.
PUPs are programs that you might not want on your computer, often with harmful effects. They can include spyware or adware that can compromise your privacy.
Phishing is a tactic where hackers send fake emails or links to trick people into giving away sensitive information or access. These messages often look legitimate but are meant to deceive.
Criminals share offensive or illegal content online, including explicit, violent, or criminal materials. This content can be distressing and may be found on both regular websites and hidden parts of the internet.
Online scams involve enticing offers or promises of large rewards that are too good to be true. Clicking on these can lead to malware or compromise of personal information.
Exploit kits are tools that hackers use to take advantage of vulnerabilities in software, gaining control of computers. These kits are available for purchase and are often used on the dark web.
The Pillars of Cyber Resilience
According to Computer Security Resource Centre, cyber resilience is the ability of an organisation to anticipate, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, attacks, or compromises on systems that use or are enabled by cyber resources.
In today’s ever-evolving cyberspace, it is important for organisations to have cyber resilience to protect themselves from cybercrimes, mitigate the risks and severity of attacks, and enable business continuity. A cyber-resilient organisation is well prepared to tackle cybersecurity incidents and can effectively respond to and quickly recover when such events do occur.
A resilient cyber security framework stands tall on several key pillars, each supporting and reinforcing the others.
- Identification: This is the initial element of a resilient cyber security framework which involves determining key business functions and assets, as well as evaluating potential cybersecurity risks to your organisation’s network, IT infrastructure and information systems.
- Prevention: Prevention is always better than cure! Educating users about best practices, enforcing strong password policies, and implementing robust access controls are fundamental preventive measures that form a strong line of defence.
- Protection: This step involves deploying security tools and implementing security measures to protect systems, applications, and data. It also includes training employees, creating security policies, managing identities and access, and maintaining IT infrastructure.
- Detection: No cyber defence is perfect, but timely detection can be a game-changer. By employing advanced threat detection tools and monitoring systems, we can swiftly identify and neutralise potential threats before they escalate.
- Response: In the face of a cyber-attack, a well-orchestrated response plan can minimize damage and expedite recovery. Developing an incident response strategy, including the involvement of key stakeholders, is crucial to mitigating the fallout of a breach.
- Recovery: Resilience isn’t just about having a fortified cyber strategy in place; it’s also about bouncing back stronger. A robust recovery plan involves data backups, system restoration protocols, and regular testing to ensure continuity even in the wake of a significant cyber incident.
- Acclimatisation: Rather than a “set it and forget it” kind of a program, cyber resilience must be continuously improved and modified to withstand the ever-evolving threat landscape.
Embracing a Multi-Layered Approach
Traditional security strategies focus on protecting sensitive data by creating a defensive perimeter around it. This is typically made up of firewalls, antivirus software, and other security controls that are designed to prevent unauthorised access to the data. However, this approach has some limitations. For example, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest threats, and it can be vulnerable to attacks that come from inside the organisation.
A multi-layered approach in cybersecurity, on the other hand, is a security strategy that uses multiple layers of defence to protect sensitive data from potential threats. Each layer offers distinct protection, combining to establish a robust cybersecurity stance that covers the entire attack surface against unauthorised access or exposure, effectively addressing multiple aspects simultaneously.
What are the three elements of a multi-layered approach in cybersecurity?
This layer of security is the foundation of any good cybersecurity program.
- Secure perimeters around buildings and data centres
- Access control systems to control who can enter and exit buildings and data centres
- Security guards and/or cameras to monitor for suspicious activity
This layer of security is important for ensuring that employees follow security best practices:
- Strong password policies
- Security awareness training for employees
- Incident response plans to deal with security breaches
This layer of security is the most visible layer of cybersecurity.
- Firewalls to block unauthorized traffic
- Antivirus software to scan for and remove malware
- Intrusion detection systems to monitor for suspicious network activity
- Data loss prevention (DLP) systems to prevent sensitive data from being leaked
By implementing all three elements of multi-layered cybersecurity, organisations can create a more secure environment that is less vulnerable to attack.
Understanding the Human Element in Cyber Resiliency
Despite the entire technological prowess at our disposal, the human element remains both the weakest link and our greatest asset. Cyber attackers often rely on exploiting human vulnerabilities through tactics like phishing and social engineering. Regular training and awareness programs are invaluable in empowering your team to be the first line of defence against such threats. More importantly, incorporating behavioural analytics into cyber risk assessment services empowers organisations to observe and analyse user behaviour patterns. This enables proactive identification of risky activities and anomalies before potential breaches.
Intelliworx Cybersecurity Services evaluate human cybersecurity risk through realistic scenarios, offering comprehensive insights that aid businesses in identifying vulnerabilities and planning tailored strategies to counter cyber threats. This comprehensive solution encompasses human risk management and training – going beyond compliance through actionable insights that could help strengthen an organisation’s cyber resilience.
Speak with an Intelliworx cybersecurity expert to find out if our advanced security analytics program fits your needs.