By failing to prepare, you are risking to fail your network against hybrid attacks

By Rodney Joffe, Senior Vice President, Senior Technologist and Fellow at Neustar

Credit: ID 103572427 © Artur Szczybylo |

The new hybrid threat that has surfaced in the cyber world has helped cybercriminals in their pursuit of malicious attacks. For as little as a few dollars, cybercriminals can purchase DDoS services that are capable of delivering larger hybrid attacks. A DDoS attack can be unleashed for a range of different reasons from testing an organisation’s network security to creating a smokescreen distraction or even to locate a backdoor for exfiltration. In fact, the emergence of ‘DDoS for hire’ services and shops on the dark web has increased the popularity and scale of DDoS attacks opening the door to hybrid attacks, which can cause more damage than just taking an organisation offline and infecting it with malware or ransomware.

‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’

Most cybercriminals do not like to waste money or resources attempting to infiltrate an organisation with a robust security network, which is why it’s common practice for cybercriminals to use a round of DDoS attacks to determine whether or not an organisation is an easy target. Commencing one round of DDoS attacks can be enough to showcase the defence systems of an organisation.

If criminals have an easy time infiltrating a network, a second round of DDoS attacks, malware or ransomware may be launched to shift the focus from invasion to mitigation. This distraction allows cybercriminals to access the network and cause further damage. Gartner revealed worldwide spending on security products and services is predicted to grow 8.7 per cent to $124 billion in 2019 as organisations try to prepare and defend themselves against potential attacks. This comes as cybercriminals are shifting from large scale, monster attacks to smaller, targeted, short burst attacks —an approach that will likely continue with ferocity into 2019. Therefore, being prepared is crucial for organisations who want to mitigate future cyberattacks.  

In addition to accelerating network security protocols, organisations must evaluate potential vulnerabilities with IoT devices, particularly those that are low cost and low security as these devices are often readily available but have not gone through security checks.  IoT is a primary focus for organisations as they have the potential to be easily compromised giving hackers access to internal hybrid attacks.

Change your strategy and get prepared

Establishing a two-tiered network security approach is highly beneficial in order to strengthen security. The first tier should be focused on perimeter security with steps in place that prevent initial threats before they access the network. The second tier of security focuses on threats that may have already infiltrated the network and present protocols to follow which will help fight against threats already established within a network.

In this fast paced digital world, organisations must recognise their digital platforms and the influence they have. Auditing digital platforms is just as important as others and are also susceptible to attacks. The best practice is to hold weekly audits, however, companies that make frequent changes should consider daily audits.

As cybercriminals grow and enhance their attacks to become more complex and refined, it is recommended that organisations compose a business continuity and disaster recovery plan that encompasses every area of their organisation—including public relations, sales, finance, marketing, procurement and human resources. To be truly effective this plan must describe the overall business continuity response management structure, identify specific roles and responsibilities, designate coordination and communication between entities, and describe a general concept of operations for efficiently and effectively addressing the life cycle of an incident.

According to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) cybercrime is costing the Australian economy up to $1 billion annually in direct costs alone and organisations are well-aware of the devastation cyberattacks can cause. Ultimately, without the proper preparation and without investing in hard network security, they remain vulnerable to hybrid attacks.

Tags DDoS attackssecurity spendingcybercriminalshybrid threatshybrid attacksDDOS services

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