How to safeguard yourself from cyberattacks

How to safeguard yourself from cyberattacks

Organisations worldwide are facing an increasing cost of doing business. This is driven by escalating energy costs, labour shortages, ongoing supply chain issues and other factors. Another cost that companies tend to overlook or misunderstand is the cost of a data breach. 

According to IBM, 51% of organisations plan to expand security investments as a result of increased data breaches. In 2023, the average cost of a data breach stood at $ 4.41 million (Global) and $ 8 million (Middle East).  

As we navigate an increasingly complex digital landscape, protecting data from cyberattacks is paramount. As such, organisations must equip themselves with continuous, up-to-date knowledge of security technologies, best practices and other measures to protect data. 

This article will explore some practical tips to strengthen data protection and enhance organisational cybersecurity.

Know and understand the different types of cyberattacks:

There are many different types of cyberattacks that can threaten data. These include malware attacks, DDoS attacks, phishing and many more. It is crucial for security specialists to fully understand how these attacks work in order to generate long-term mitigation plans for each.

By continuously monitoring and analysing network traffic, organisations gain valuable insights into potential security breaches and data exfiltration attempts before they can do damage.

Employee training and awareness:

Employee education is also important. Training staff on how to spot signs of a cyberattack and empowering them to follow secure practices will ensure an enterprise-wide approach to security.

Well-trained employees can support security efforts by reporting potential threats – like phishing emails – and creating a defensive wall against bad actors.

Regular training enhances the overall security posture by instilling a culture of caution among employees, fostering a joint sense of responsibility and encouraging care, this fortifies an organisation’s defence mechanism.

Employing Artificial Intelligence (AI):

AI can benefit both sides of the cybersecurity battle – hackers and defenders. For security teams, AI helps in early detection, quickly identifying unusual activity to generate an automatic response that prevents or limits an attack. Just as threats continuously evolve, so does AI, which learns from new threats to predict future problems, making businesses safer in an increasingly complex and unpredictable world.

By implementing predictive analysis through AI to facilitate real-time monitoring, improving the ability to promptly detect, react and reduce the damaging impacts of cyberattacks.

Detect early signs to prevent attacks:

Early indicators of an attack can be detected through the collection of session and traffic details, among other data. This can help organisations prevent cyberattacks before they occur. Consistent monitoring of the entire IT environment will establish a network capable of recognising and stopping threats while maintaining critical visibility across network traffic.

Additionally, it enables security experts to develop effective incident response strategies and organizations can enhance the security of their critical data and infrastructure against cyber threats by integrating resilient outbound monitoring and analysis functionalities with conventional inbound prevention methods.

Leverage packet data:

Leveraging packet data helps organisations identify anomalies and launch signature-based detection when analysing network traffic, ultimately supporting threat detection. Security experts can examine single data packets to find uncommon patterns, unexpected traffic or things that don’t act like they normally do. This helps them find potential security issues.

Examining packet data is a crucial part of incident response as it helps experts thoroughly analyze and rebuild the network traffic.

Regular software updates:

Bad actors often target older versions of software. Regularly updating software is essential to maintaining data security. It helps by fixing vulnerabilities, strengthening systems and incorporating the latest security features or patches. 

Use DDoS protection strategy:

Cybercriminals launched approximately 2.4 million DDoS attacks in the EMEA region during the first half of 2023. This shows an increase of 15% over the second half of 2022, with Saudi Arabia listed among the top five countries targeted. The increasing level of DDoS activity calls for a robust strategy to stop these attacks.

By checking their websites often, security teams can ensure any changes made to websites are aligned with the plan to stop DDoS attacks. 

Defending organisations from cyberattacks requires proactivity. In addition to regularly updating software, using strong and unique passwords and being aware of phishing attempts, it is important to follow good cyber hygiene. By combining caution with proactive measures, the impact of cyber threats can be reduced.

-Emad Fahmy, Systems Engineering Manager, Middle East, NETSCOUT.