Cyber Warfare: 5 Notorious Cyber Attacks and How to Mitigate Them

A gloomy underworld in which the good guys must resort to intelligent tactics to keep cyber threats at bay.

Cyber Warfare: 5 Notorious Cyber Attacks and How to Mitigate Them

Cyberterrorism is the Evil Marie that has been haunting enterprises’ cybersecurity channels for a long time now. We are experiencing hostile warfare between the corporate world and the dark web.

The motivation usually varies. On Monday, it is a back-alley group hacking into computers for fun. On Tuesday, a dark web-operating entity tries to steal sensitive information for national security to demand ransom.

When all is said and done, cybercriminals seek financial or political gains through money theft, data theft, business disruptions, or even worse — devastating reputations.

Who needs a gun when you have a keyboard?

Time to Vaccinate the Cybercrime Pandemic!

Cyberattack prevention and practices have become a paramount part of enterprise-wide operations. However, the fatal pandemic of cyber-insecurity continues to release its latest variants leaving behind irreversible consequences.

The above-and-below-the-surface impact factors of a cybersecurity breach are showcased in the below illustration:

SOURCE: Deloitteion

To avoid these pitfalls, it is crucial to understand the nature of each cyber attack. Therefore, let’s delve in and seek out fruitful prevention tips against different types of cyber attacks in the light of real-world cyber incidents:

Phishing Attacks — Beware of Fake Friends

A homogenous blend of social engineering and technical trickery is labeled as phishing attacks. Hackers send fraudulent emails to a mass number of users with the sheer aim of infiltrating users’ cybersecurity fabric. These treacherous emails might appear friendly and credible, but they are linked to malicious files. Wicked!

One of the famous phishing attacks compromised the infrastructure of Colonial Pipeline on May 7, 2021. Hackers shut down their 5,500-thousand-mile fuel pipeline because they managed to bypass their defenses via phishing. This unyielding attack resulted in oil price inflation and state-of-emergency on the East Coast.

It does not end here. Phishing attacks have modernized and taken up different forms, briefly discussed below:

Spear Phishing — Time to hit the save mode

Spear phishing attempts, which rely on impersonation, a feeling of urgency, and trust, are more sophisticated than standard "spray-and-pray" phishing assaults. Because it all comes down to the art of persuasion.

Take, for the occasion, the 2020 SolarWinds breach. Nobelium, a group of attackers, was able to gain access to the networks, systems, and data of thousands of SolarWinds customers, including government departments such as Homeland Security, State, Commerce, and Treasury, after breaching the SolarWinds Orion system (a network management system that helps organizations manage their IT resources). In addition, private firms affected include FireEye, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, and Deloitte.

Whaling — Do not go swimming with whales

Whales - or CEOs — are the largest fish in the sea; they're difficult to capture, but if you do so, you can swim in their money!

In November 2020, the co-founder of Australian hedge company Levitas Capital clicked on a bogus Zoom link, which planted malware on the firm's network. Using fake invoices, the attackers sought to take $8.7 million. They barely got away with $800,000 in the end.

However, the reputational damage to the cybersecurity network was sufficient to cause Levitas to lose its largest customer, causing the hedge fund to shut down.

Pharming — When the stranger attacks

Type of phishing but without any enticing bait – hackers substitute the legitimate website with their own. Venezuela took the blow of a pharming attack in 2019 when the government announced the “Voluntarios por Venezuela” (Volunteers for Venezuela) movement. Volunteers were urged to join up using a website that requested their complete name, personal ID, phone number, location, and other personal information.

A week after the first website went up, a second website debuted. It was, however, a forgery. Regardless of whether a person visited the actual or phony website, their data would eventually wind up in the fake one.

Tragic!

Email Phishing — Spam! Spam! Spam!

Malicious emails are so well-crafted that it is challenging for users to identify red flags despite the activation of a cybersecurity firewall. These cunning cyber-criminals and their protégées blatantly exploited the Covid-19 fear and had everyone locked down through phishing emails about coronavirus and stole email credentials.

Prevention Tip

Secure your business intelligence infrastructure will the following cybersecurity risk mitigation strategies:

  • Utilize InvoZone’s unbreakable phishing simulation service as a first step to counter email phishing
    • Gauge the understanding of phishing attacks among employees and identify a flurry of phishing attacks via a dynamic simulation test
  • Install an anti-phishing toolbar
  • Verify the site’s security by ensuring that it starts with HTTPS and has a lock ico
  • Check for domain misspellings and syntax errors
  •  Consider using a high-quality DNS service
  • Give your employees hands-on training with InvoZone’s security awareness training services!

Malware — The Suite Life Of Malicious Attacks

Bad actors often design deceitful tricks and organize baited traps while targeting their prey. They render malware to infect applications on your software systems, making handsome amounts of money.

Let’s explore the generals of malware:

Viruses — Disinfect the replicating virus

Viruses often attach themselves to the source code of an application such as Microsoft Office. What actually happens? Well, when the user opens an app, a virus replicates itself and infects another source code on your computer — endangering your cybersecurity premises. Usually, a file is created with the same name but with a .exe extension. It is a perfect decoy to carry the virus.

Worms — Build fences to keep the creeps out

In the list of the most sophisticated worms, Stuxnet deserves a special mention. In 2010, this deadly malware was used to bring down Iran’s nuclear program for political purposes. It exploited various Windows zero-day vulnerabilities.

This super-creepy worm can infect devices via USB drives and take control of the system without the aid of an internet connection.

Trojans — Shut the backdoor!

Emotet is a curated trojan that spreads despicably across cybersecurity networks via malicious emails. Among various kinds of trojan, it gained unparalleled popularity in 2018 when the U.S Department of Homeland Security labelled this ignominious crime as the most destructive malware.

In the real world, this very trojan spread like wildfire around the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania and its networks. It self-replicated and harvested the credentials of the city's employees seamlessly. Although it was contained eventually, this mortifying trojan left the city with a cost of more than US $1 million to remediate the damage!

Spyware — Chase out the invaders

Spyware eavesdrops on your security weaknesses and infiltrates your cybersecurity barriers! One of the most famous spyware is Pegasus, zero-click spyware. It is allegedly claimed to be employed by foreign governments to snoop on politicians, journalists, and even private citizens. For instance, a Dubai ruler hacked his ex-wife’s phone using the Pegasus spyware program. Interesting, indeed!

This spyware invades your messages and calls, reads and tampers with your browsing history, monitors your device’s camera, and tracks GPS location, putting you at great risk. To prevent spyware from invading your privacy, you can always place your trust in InvoZone’s technical support services because our cybersecurity engineers jump into action to save the day with a well-defined risk management plan!

Ransomware — Encrypt the data

The ransomware attacks are on the rise! Your business is up against a 13 percent increase in ransomware breaches, a jump greater than the last 5 years combined, according to the Verizon Business 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report!

Amidst such cybersecurity threats, REvil, an old enemy, was revived in May 2020. The cyberattack caused a high-profile disruption, including the supply chain attack on Kaseya VSA in July 2021. Shortly after, the ransomware disappeared to reemerge on October 21, 2021.

Although Russia’s Federal Security Service debunked the REvil group then, it has made a comeback on a new payroll, targeting new victims.

Preventive Tip

Protect your business with InvoZone’s timely identification of threats and security breaches. Our penetration testing suite adheres to OWASP 10 standards. It leverages dynamic tools such as OWASP® Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), Burpe Suite, Acunetix, and more to secure your business premises without sacrificing quality.

Also, our designated teams for vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and red-teaming provide laser-focused security services. These include threat intelligence, code reviews, DevOps, Malware analysis, threat hunting, security monitoring, and incident response. Therefore, let’s express your security requirements without further ado and capitalize on our experience, integrated resources, and groundbreaking technology!

In addition, build your business immunity with the following tips, tried and approved by InvoZone’s cybersecurity engineers:  

  • Don’t delay updating your operating system. Patch your network system regularly with InvoZone’s full-cycle software quality assurance services 
  • Use secure authentication tools such as biometric tools and strong passwords
  • Use sandboxes -- dedicated workstations that automatically scan and test files, email attachments, and storage devices
  • Use full-disk encryption on all devices 
  • Install antivirus that automatically scans email attachments and devices across the network

Man-in-the-middle Attack — Overcome An Eavesdropping Attack

A perpetrator can position himself in a conversation between two parties without them knowing them! 

While this eavesdropper manages to steal sensitive information, the exchange of information appears absolutely normal to both parties.

Without any doubt, cyber threats have become ruthless. Namely, Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency based in Atlanta, became a punching bag for hackers in 2017. This cybersecurity breach was due to a man-in-the-middle attack and resulted in the compromised data of 143 million American consumers, including Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. 

Prevention Tip

Build never-failing defenses against Man-in-the-middle attacks with InvoZone’s pen-testing services. Now you can seamlessly identify the vulnerabilities in your network, such as inconsistent HTTPS — to avoid Equifax-like accidents!

Meanwhile, explore the following tips and solutions to cyber security threats from InvoZone’s certified penetration testers: 

  • Utilize strong SSL/TLS encryptions on access points 
  • Implement multi-factor authentication 
  • Secure your network by enforcing HTTPS. Ask your employees to install browser plugins for HTTPS
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi associations (e.g. cafes) while conducting financial transactions 
  • Employ VPNs to ensure secure connections

Watering Hole Attack — Build Fences Around Your Community Pool

Watering hole attack takes its name from the wildlife phenomenon, i.e., animal predators lurk around a water pool, hoping to attack their prey when their guard is down. Similarly, cyberterrorists stalk their target online. They infect a website commonly visited by their prey, demolishing the cybersecurity infrastructure. 

One of the most infamous watering hole campaigns was carried out by an espionage group, OceanLotus. The group successfully compromised 21 high-profile websites such as the Ministry of Defense of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, and several Vietnamese newspaper and blog websites. On the user level, this attack endangered the sense of security and safety, placing community mistrust in group networks and other regulatory agencies. 

Prevention Tip

For businesses, the experts of InvoZone recommend the following cybersecurity strategies: 

  • Deploy InvoZone’s pen-testing services with free technical security assessment and identify loopholes and vulnerabilities in the network
  • Try cloud browsers instead of local networks
  • Conduct website audits

Distributed Denial-of-service — Run up the hill When Traffic Jam Hits

Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are like an unexpected traffic jam clogging up a highway, disturbing the regular traffic flow and prohibiting them from reaching their destination. 

DDoS attacks are often launched from connected devices, also known as a botnet, overwhelming the website with fake traffic. These attacks do not try to break your security perimeter. Rather, they seek to render your website and servers unavailable to genuine visitors. Also, this crime is used as a cover for other malicious actions and to bring down security appliances, thereby penetrating the target's security perimeter. 

No one could have wondered that Microsoft lived for the day to experience such an appalling attack. In November 2021, Microsoft meditated a DDoS attack that targeted an Azure customer with a package rate of 340 million PPS and a throughput of 3.45 Tbps. 

Prevention Tip

Ensure high-level security with the following cybersecurity preventive measures: 

  • Activate firewalls and intrusion detection systems to act as a traffic-scanning barrier 
  • Employ anti-malware software 
  • Conduct penetration testing to identify web-based threats and block them 
  • Save money and gain a competitive edge with security audits! 

Rise Up Against Cybersecurity Challenges!

Beware of a cyberattack; it’s the mother of all deadly sins. 

To secure your business — Retail, eCommerce, Manufacturing, F&B, R&D, and Technology, InvoZone offers a pentesting service to secure your cyber premises. Our cybersecurity engineers employ tried-and-tested practices following OWASP 10 v4 testing guide. 

So what are you waiting for?

Block intruders with InvoZone’s vigilant cybersecurity services!

We help you evaluate and prioritize your risks by offering the industry's most comprehensive portfolio of consulting and worldwide managed security services. Rely on our expertise to provide industry-leading evaluations and security plans to manage risk and simultaneously speed up your business innovation and security.

Cyberterrorism is the Evil Marie that has been haunting enterprises’ cybersecurity channels for a long time now. We are experiencing hostile warfare between the corporate world and the dark web.

The motivation usually varies. On Monday, it is a back-alley group hacking into computers for fun. On Tuesday, a dark web-operating entity tries to steal sensitive information for national security to demand ransom.

When all is said and done, cybercriminals seek financial or political gains through money theft, data theft, business disruptions, or even worse — devastating reputations.

Who needs a gun when you have a keyboard?

Time to Vaccinate the Cybercrime Pandemic!

Cyberattack prevention and practices have become a paramount part of enterprise-wide operations. However, the fatal pandemic of cyber-insecurity continues to release its latest variants leaving behind irreversible consequences.

The above-and-below-the-surface impact factors of a cybersecurity breach are showcased in the below illustration: