The recent data breach at MGM Resorts International reportedly cost MGM $100 million, and serves as...
Demystifying Cybersecurity: Simple Steps Businesses Can Take to Mitigate Fraud Threats
Growing digital threats such as AI-driven scams, smishing, and phishing are leading businesses to strengthen their cybersecurity strategies. This article is designed to offer corporate executives and IT professionals some relatively simple steps they can immediately take reduce risk from these sophisticated threats.
In this blog, we cover:
- The Escalating Threats of AI, Smishing, and Phishing in the Business World
- Identifying Attack Paths and Weak Points in Cybersecurity
- Practical Steps for Businesses to Enhance Cybersecurity
The Escalating Threats Of AI, Smashing, And Phishing In The Business World
Revolutionary advances in computing have amplified the sophistication of cybersecurity threats, particularly AI-driven scams, smishing (SMS phishing), and phishing attacks. (Just look at the $100 million MGM fiasco we wrote about last week.) Cybercriminals know it’s relatively easy to commit phone fraud and brand impersonation, posing severe risks to businesses worldwide. But, generally speaking, they’ll attack the easy targets first. Is that you? Let’s look at some of the risks you should immediately address:
AI-Driven Cyber Threats: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a double-edged sword in the realm of cybersecurity. While it offers groundbreaking solutions for threat detection and system security, AI is also being used by attackers to create more sophisticated and convincing scams. You may have heard that AI can now generate realistic synthetic voices to impersonate trusted individuals or entities. This is already leading to highly damaging vishing (voice phishing) attacks, and is expected to dramatically increase. A report by Norton highlights the evolving use of AI (in this case, more specifically ChatGPT) in cyberattacks, stressing the urgency for businesses to adapt their security measures to counter these advanced threats.
The Prevalence of Smishing: Smishing, or SMS phishing (fraudulent text messages to obtain sensitive information), has emerged as a prevalent method for fraudsters to deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information or downloading malicious software. Unlike traditional phishing which relies on emails, smishing attacks use text messages, a medium often perceived as more trustworthy by users. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides guidance on recognizing and preventing smishing scams, underscoring their increased frequency and the need for awareness and preventive measures.
The Persistent Threat of Phishing: Phishing remains one of the most common and effective cyber threats faced by businesses. It involves tricking individuals into revealing personal or corporate information through deceptive emails that mimic legitimate communications. The Anti-Phishing Working Group's reports reveal a sustained increase in phishing activities, with sophisticated techniques being used to bypass traditional security measures. These attacks not only jeopardize sensitive data but can also lead to significant financial losses and damage to a company's reputation.
The convergence of these threats necessitates a proactive, multifaceted approach to cybersecurity. This involves not only implementing advanced technological defenses but also fostering a culture of vigilance and education among employees to respond to such threats effectively.
Identifying Attack Points And Weak Points In Cybersecurity
In the fight against escalating cyber threats, knowing your potential attack paths – where you are vulnerable – is a critical step for businesses. Start by getting clear on your data systems, and then looking at ways an attacker could potentially breach them.
The Concept of Attack Paths: Attack paths are sequences of steps that an attacker might take to compromise a system. Identifying these paths helps businesses mitigate breaches. Dark Reading's article on Exposure Managementemphasizes the importance of understanding attack paths in cybersecurity. It highlights how exposure management, which focuses on identifying and mitigating attack paths, is crucial for a more accurate assessment of cyber risks.
Importance of Threat Modeling: Threat modeling is a proactive approach to identify threats. Synopsys, in its explanation of Threat Modeling, describes this process as a structured approach that enables organizations to identify potential security threats, categorize them, and prioritize the mitigation strategies. This process is essential in revealing potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited in a cyberattack.
Utilizing Tools for Identifying Weak Points: Advanced tools can offer comprehensive solutions for managing cybersecurity risks. For example, many developer teams use IriusRisk's platform to addressing security threats throughout an entire development process. What tool or platform would support your business throughout the product or service’s cycle?
By identifying the potential attack paths within their systems, businesses can develop effective strategies to prevent cyberattacks. This requires sophisticated tools, ongoing threat analysis, and a proactive approach to cybersecurity.
Practical Steps For Businesses To Enhance Cybersecurity
Clearly, it’s imperative for businesses to take proactive measures. This section outlines practical steps that corporate executives and IT professionals can implement to bolster their cybersecurity defenses. The focus here is on actionable strategies that businesses can adopt, with a brief explanation of their importance.
- Emphasize Cybersecurity in Budget and Company Culture: Allocate an appropriate portion of your budget to cybersecurity measures. This financial commitment should be complemented by cultivating a company culture that values and understands the importance of cybersecurity. This is the only longterm, foundational method to create the necessary change for our new future of AI cyberthreats.
- Implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Incorporate 2FA across all digital platforms used by your company. This adds an extra layer of security, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches.
- Securing the Corporate Directory: While this point sounds possibly obscure, corporate directories have been the easiest path to access to begin phishing and smishing attacks on a company. It’s also one of the easiest paths to protect. Regularly update and monitor access permissions for longterm success.
- Adopting Zero Trust Policies: Implement zero trust policies in your network architecture. This means that you verify credentials (ideally with 2FA) at each new level of access within a system — even if the “user” is already logged in. This can greatly limit the damage a breach causes.
- Develop Robust Response Plans for Cyber Incidents: Prepare and regularly update written, actionable response plans for various cyber incidents. This includes protocols for immediate action, communication strategies, and steps for post-incident analysis to prevent future breaches.
- Continuous Employee Education in Cybersecurity: Regularly conduct cybersecurity training for all employees. This should include identifying potential threats like phishing and smishing, and understanding the company’s cybersecurity policies and protocols.
- Leverage a Partner to Fight Phishing & Smishing: Utilize services like com on company-owned phones – and encourage users to install on personal phones – to protect from phishing and smishing attacks. These services can help in identifying and blocking fraudulent calls and messages, ultimately protecting sensitive corporate information.
- Safeguard Your Brand and Consumers: Employ services like YouMail’s sister company, com, to protect your brand and customers from external threats like brand fraud. Their specialized solutions can detect and prevent costly brand impersonation attacks.
- Find Your Threat Vectors and Prioritize Action: There will always be threats. But if you don’t know what they are, or you’re not acting to close them, then your organization will be an easy target. Use threat modeling or other methods to get clear on your areas of risk, prioritize them, and assign the right resources to handle them, one-by-one, until your risk is manageable.
With these relatively simple actions, any business can improve their cybersecurity posture. And while no company will be fully secure in our AI cyber threat future, any company dramatically reduce their risk, as well as reduce the costs of a breach.
Enhancing cybersecurity is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a combination of strategic planning, technological implementation, and continuous education. By adopting a few practical policies, businesses can significantly reduce their vulnerability to cyber threats. Ready to get started? Your easiest step might just be to contact YouMailPS.com >