Advanced Techniques on Evading and Spotting Cyber Criminals’ Activities

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Gone are the days when cyber attacks were carried out by a lone hacker. Now, it has transformed into an entire realm of illegal activities involving not just one sole cyber thief, but whole criminal syndicates. Criminals are exploiting the rapid advancements in IT and consequently, the crimes committed in this industry have also evolved.

In times when the word ‘hacking’ has become a regular ingredient of daily news, it is fitting to discuss how organizations can protect their systems from hackers by putting some creativity in protecting their IT systems. One should remember that bearing few exceptions, most of the hacking attacks are carried out through the same templates. Therefore, one can anticipate and preemptively prepare a strategy to trick and foil cyber thieves.

Establish a Data-Driven Defense

For a long time, data has been a vulnerable element from the viewpoint of IT security threats. Therefore, protecting data centers remains the first and foremost priority of any organization in the wake of a cyber attack.

However, the concept of using data to premeditate, identify and characterize hacking activities is gaining great traction nowadays. With the prevalence of the Internet cloud, it has made it comparatively easy to gather and access large chunks of data, overseeing network data streams through unhealthy outbound connections and advanced persistent threats have also become quite evident.

You can get the services of IT security firms that have a comprehensive monitoring mechanism consisting of thousands of network nodes. This extensive networking helps them to instantly identify an illicit activity by looking into your data streams through global and regional patterns appearing on their own network nodes.

So, you can change the vulnerability of your data into a strength by incorporating this security procedure into your network security measures.

Mislead Hackers with Fake Data

One sophisticated approach is to distract and mislead cybercriminals, as we are well aware of how fake news is used. You can adopt a similar approach, but for a noble purpose of protecting your organization from the shenanigans of cybercriminals. By littering your internal systems with some fake and fabricated data, you can set up bait for hackers, but make sure that you are monitoring your networks through data leak prevention programs to catch them.

For instance, a financial institution can use fabricated account details of fictitious individuals to lure hackers into their trap. By red-herring hackers through your data, you can achieve two significant objectives:

  • You can protect your actual data from theft and damage
  • Hackers can be caught or at least forced into exhaustion of stealing meaningless data

Honeypots: Extension of Fake Data

You can go on one step further to set up an entire mock network to draw in hackers. From server to clients, anything can be used as a prop in devising a honeypot. Companies can use their non-production assets that are soon to be retired as honeypots since they will look real to hackers because of their integration with the rest of the system.

Otherwise you can get a commercial open source honeypot assembled and designed to protect your actual network system from criminal misdeeds.

Set Up Fake Email Accounts

Like fake data and honeypots, setting up fake email accounts is another cost-effective measure to identify advanced persistent threats. Create some fake email accounts and make sure that they can’t be searched from the outside and neither be part of any internal communication. These accounts must only be reachable through the internal email system.

Now monitor these email accounts for any received mail. If any of these fake accounts are receiving emails and spam, it is an indication that your email system has been hacked.

Look Into their Inventories

A more proactive strategy of planning ahead is to look into hackers’ inventories, where most of the stolen data ends up. Domains in the dark web are often such places where hackers dump their stolen information. There are security companies that provide the services to monitor such websites. By keeping tabs on them, an organization can track hackers’ activities and improve their systems for future cyber attacks.

Make an Admin-Free System

In many of the hacking cases, admin accounts are the first to fall into the hands of attackers. Getting an access to a privileged admin account, hackers then can easily encroach upon the rest of the network and system. However, if you make your network free of admins then there is no way for hackers to break-in because one can’t steal or invade a thing which isn’t there.

For the implementation of this preventive measure, you have to go unconventional with your approach by striping admin accounts of all the privileges. For smooth sailing of administrative duties, a highly confidential session-based account can be set up with the integration of time limitation and task limitation in its features. A unique password for every session will also make it futile for hackers to steal login credentials.

Make Admin Workstations More Foolproof

If the admin-free idea seems quite radical or you don’t have enough resources to implement an alternative system, then improving the security of current admin workstations can also help in reducing the chances of getting skimmed by hackers. There are certain important features of a super secure admin workstation:

  • An internet connection can’t be established without multistep authorization
  • Every application and program requires two-factor authentication to run
  • Very limited number of whitelisted programs are present on its operating system

Create a Network Black Hole

You can create a ‘black hole’ in your network to limit and exhaust the activity of hackers. IP and DNS management can help you in creating and configuring a network black hole. Transmission of data in black holes get discarded, destroyed and slowed down with the help of packet corruption, severe latency, retransmission and super fragmentation.

A black hole configured by an expert acts and appears like any normal internet connection. So, in most of the cases, one can’t tell whether the connection is taking care of the data transmission or it is just a dead space of discarded data packets.

Of course, professional cybersecurity consultants are required to help your business provide these advanced security enhancements and they can be fairly expensive, but in the long run, saving your data and your client’s privacy may be well worth it!

Posted On June 11, 2018