Monday, 30 November 2015

Cyber security red alert on Cyber Monday


Cyber Monday creates an ideal opportunity for malicious hackers to attack your business systems. As company servers are hammered by millions of genuine requests from eager buyers, the opportunity for a hacker to breach your system undetected increases. The consequences of which can be severe, considering the financial and public image implications a single breach can create. 

The current strain being exerted on IT infrastructure is strikingly similar to a common hacking technique. The tactic involves a single hacker targeting a network, followed by hundreds of hackers joining the attack to create a diversion. The noise created by the hundreds of additional hacker presents a smoke screen, enabling the initial hacker to breach the system. 

Attacks like these can collapse your infrastructure, forcing websites and whole servers offline. They are becoming all too common as cyber criminal look to cash in on the details stolen. 


Protecting your assets on Cyber Monday 


Today, on Cyber Monday, you should remain vigilant, especially if you're an online retailer. Loyal customers are currently creating the diversionary tactic which could allow a hacker to breach your system. If your attention is being distracted by sales, you should start focusing on security. 

A single breach could expose your data to criminals, or take your website offline for hours. Not only will you miss out on the valuable revenue created by these marketing ploys, the financial ramifications of a breach could collapse your business. Take TalkTalk for example, November’s breach of the telecoms giant is estimated to cost the organisation in the region of £30-35 million. 

Take the following steps to protect your assets on this busy day: 
  • Ensure you follow routine daily security checks – do not let your IT team be distracted by sales
  • Segment systems on separate protected networks – this tactic ensures that if one system or network is breached, an attacker won’t then have free roam to take down multiple systems simultaneously 
  • Increase monitoring of endpoint devices – pay regular and close attention to public facing systems to ensure any suspicious activity doesn’t go undetected. Now is the time to be paranoid, it’s the ideal time for an attack 

Future planning 


Whilst Cyber Monday is high risk, it’s important to prepare for the long term. A cyber-attack can happen at any time, it’s vital you and your team have the security skills implement a long term strategy. 

Investing in training employees is critical. Certification courses like the Certified Ethical Hacker and CISSP will develop the technical and strategic skills required to protect your company assets. You can learn to attack your own systems to identify weaknesses or devise a comprehensive and water tight security system. Stay vigilant.