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Understanding And Preventing Cybersecurity Threats

How To Proactively Prevent Cybersecurity Threats

The key to defeating or at the very least blocking cybersecurity threats is to understand the menace at its core. From the beginning of threats in the 70s, the brightest minds relentlessly brainstorm the cyber-security landscape.

Hearing a company declare, “Our employees are not clicking on suspicious emails, so we do not need to invest in cyber-security training,”  is at the very least grossly shortsighted.

97% of all phishing attacks on businesses in America went unreported by the employee. Email threat vectors multiplied 64% in 2020 alone.

Growth factors of cybersecurity threats such as ransomware, phishing, and malware intrusion are staggering.  Enterprise attitudes on cyber-threats and attacks are slow to change.  However, they are changing!

Five Costliest Cyber-Assaults of the 21st CenturyEmail Hacking Has Been Know To Cripple Businesses and Governments

Organizations must take the time to proactively plan for an attack. Differing strategies need to be in place at all times. Fallacies of cyber-security is the notion, only probable threats and risks are likely to happen.

Cybercriminals do not look at your security in the same way.

Yahoo 2014/Spear-Phishing – A single targeted email was delivered to company employees in the first half of 2014. The FBI is not clear on how many Yahoo employees were targeted. Two years of investigations by the FBI revealed, Russian Hackers stole over 3 billion accounts. The strike was the most significant hacking case ever handled by the US Government.

Solar Winds 2019/Malicious Malware – Russia’s Cozy Bear hacking group gained entry to US Government operations, NATO, and supply chains worldwide.  When the announcement first broke, it triggered an emergency meeting of the US National Security Agency.  The ravaging effects of the attack were considered incalculable.  Attackers gained access by modifying a single plug-in to the Orion platform.

Black Kingdom 2019/Ransomware – Hafinum, a Chinese state-supported attack group, targeted Microsoft Exchange email servers. A bug was discovered in the code which had not been patched. Files were encrypted on more than 1500 servers worldwide, with attackers demanding 10,000 in bitcoin as payment. Dangers of Black Kingdom are still being felt.

Saudi Aramco 2012/Phishing  – The assault was launched in the Holy month of Ramadan. A computer technician opened a single phishing email, and within hours over 35,000 Aramco computers, Around The World! were wiped out. The company was back to using typewriters and faxes, with 10% of the World’s oil in jeopardy. It is still recognized as one of the single costliest cyber-attacks in history.

NotPetYa 2017/Ransomware – Damages are still coming in, with a projection of more than $10 billion in losses. A Russian hack of the Ukrainian Government shut down offices across the country, shipping ports, and countless businesses were lost. The assault started when attackers infiltrated a single storefront, and the malicious code spread faster than outdated systems could keep up. Estimates on losses are still unclear.

Re-Active vs. Pro-Active

Without a pro-active cyber plan in place, the virtual door remains open for global cybercriminals. The sole operation for these attack groups; find vulnerabilities in networks, governments, Cloud Infrastructure, and anything digital.

Yahoo’s spear-phishing attack, which compromised over three billion records, started with a single employee clicking on a simple email containing the vicious malware.  No one knows if Yahoo, one of the most recognizable brands in the World, had a plan to deal with these types of cybersecurity threats. Whatever the situation, it undoubtedly was not enough.

Attack groups exploit the trickle-down theory to discover easier marks if previous computer systems were too hard for entry.

Anticipate Cybersecurity Threats

The enterprise has become comfortable using firewalls, anti-virus, and vulnerability management techniques. Once these are in place, technicians sit back in cozy office chairs and monitor. Using military methods, assailants are continually scanning for shortcomings in passive and static defenses.

Once an attacker applies maximum pressure on weak edges, they will discover a way in. If a defender detects the breach, it is too late!

Nothing works better than statistics to emphasize a point. Every day the Independent IT-Security Institute registers nearly 400 thousand new malicious malware codes. Yes, that is Every Day! The WannaCry virus that took down so many Microsoft servers in 2017 was just one.

According to Homeland Security and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, there are three proactive steps every organization must choose now.

  • Patch Critical Software, Early and Often
  • Have a Reliable Cyber-Security Solution in Place
  • Advocate Sound Security Standards Throughout the Organization


Final Word

To effectively reduce cyber risk, the enterprise must advance beyond the passive approach and adopt an Active Defense. Increased dependence on computer systems and networks has yielded a lucrative arena for cyber terrorists.

Change must come from the top. Take the National Security Agency, for example. Sometime between 2014 and 2016, NSA’s elite team of hackers were, in fact, hacked.  Espionage tools created by the agency were exposed on dark websites around the world, and the consequences could be severe.

Businesses can apply the same security foundations that were used ten years ago. Tools and systems are plentiful. Unfortunately, nothing can alter the “it can never happen to us”  attitude.

Global brands and conglomerates have a responsibility to their employees and the customers they serve to recognize and understand these cybersecurity threats. These organizations should have a better sense of the obvious and treat cybersecurity threats as their corporate life depended on it.


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Zach Mesel

Zach Mesel

Technology is in Zach’s blood. Zach spent much of his youth in his father’s cardiac research labs, either as a test subject for his father’s research, or playing games with his older brother on mainframe computers. Zach earned his BS in Management Information Systems in 1988 from the University of Arizona, and then worked for IBM in Boulder, Colorado, and Palo Alto, California until 1995. He started Wooden Spoon in 2002.