Nation State Hackers

Nation State hackers are the best of the best.  Their attacks are evolving and are not often seen or discussed in the day-to-day world because attribution of an attack to a nation state is very difficult to prove. These cyber criminals are state-sponsored hackers whose goal is to steal critical and sensitive data to provide their country a competitive advantage on a global scale.  Victims of these attacks are varied but typically include government facilities, businesses with critical data (think Healthcare or Finance), and companies operating in the defense industry.

Related Terms: Hacktivists, Insiders, Organized Crime, Script Kiddie

Source: CSO Online

Should SMB’s worry about Nation State Hackers?

SMB’s often fly under the radar of Nation States and fortunately, are targeted less frequently.  However, you must not let your guard down.  Your SMB may be attacked by a Nation State for one of the following reasons.

SMB’s working in high value industries such as Healthcare, Finance, Defense Contractors, or in businesses with highly valuable intellectual property will be targeted.

Other SMB’s who support very large companies may be targeted because they represent a backdoor into the company of interest.  For example, in the Target breach in 2013, hackers broke into the HVAC vendor who had remote access into Target stores nation-wide. The hackers used the HVAC breach to hack into Target and stole 70 – 80 Million credit cards.  The HVAC vendor was targeted because they had backdoor access into a larger target (puns intended).

You have to prepare yourself for the inevitable attack whether its from a Nation State or one of the other hacking groups (see related terms above for links to other hacking groups cybrary articles).

What makes a Strong Cybersecurity Program for SMB’s?

Make sure as an SMB Owner that you do the following:

  1. Train your employees with a Training Awareness program that covers common attacks and how to avoid them.
  2. Govern your employees with cybersecurity policies to guide and regulate their computing behaviors.
  3. Deploy strong technical measures to protect your business when your employees forget their training (they will) and their policies and click on attacks.
    • Enabled two-factor authentication on all critical applications and remote access;
    • Ensure you have a SPAM filter in place to reduce incoming email attacks.
    • Deploy Up-to-Date Antivirus to all computers in your environment;
    • Patch everything to current state; and
    • Adopt a Password Manager for all your employees and ensure people use it.
  4. Complete a Risk Assessment. You have finite time and money to address the risks you face to cyber-attack.  Spending your time and money wisely can only occur if you have a Risk Assessment to guide you to the most critical risks you face.
  5. Lastly, buy Cyber Insurance to protect you in a catastrophic event just like Car, Flood or Fire insurance.

CyberHoot can help with many of these items.  We even train you on common Password Managers so you can learn the tools we recommend to protect you.  Visit us today and sign up for our Newsletter and our training programs.

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