Having an effective cybersecurity strategy can be complicated, with the threat of hackers and malware increasing in volume and proliferating every industry. Cybercriminals infiltrate your computer and smartphone to steal money, information, or even control over your system. It is more complex than ever to protect an organization’s IT network infrastructure.

Cybercriminals use a wide variety of methods for hacking into networks. These may include using banking Trojans on unpatched Windows systems or directly infecting the device with ransomware. Whatever the chosen tactics are, the point is that there are vulnerabilities that take a lot of research and resources for security professionals to fix, making it challenging to stay ahead of them all.

And that’s a problem because these kinds of attacks can spread like wildfire. Anyone who writes malicious programs is basically hacking based on a knowledge of how to exploit the weaknesses present in machines, networks and operating systems. If you’re not additionally keeping an eye on the perpetrators or taking the time to implement preventative measures — or if you’re not following cybersecurity news at all — you’re just asking for trouble.

How long does a cybercriminal’s timeline usually take? What are their moves? And what tools do they usually employ? To answer these questions, it helps to think like a hacker.

To enter and disrupt a network, hackers employ several methods and tradecraft along a typical timeline. By being familiar with these techniques, you will be able to detect the process and put in place safeguards to prevent infiltration.

Knowing how cybercriminals work and travel around networks is crucial to understanding how they operate. The stages and human behaviors that a person must go through in attacking an organization’s IT infrastructure are included in this procedure.

1.  Planning: Infiltration begins with planning, in which hackers pick their target, do research, and select attack techniques.

2.  Intrusion: A cybercriminal can penetrate your networks using a variety of tactics. They might send a focused spear-phishing email to steal a user’s credentials, or they could take advantage of unpatched software vulnerabilities.

3.  Enumeration: Upon access into the network, the intruder must determine which account they used, what that profile has access to, where they may go, and who they must become to accomplish their mission while remaining unnoticed.

4.  Spreading the damage across a network: Gaining access to one account is significantly less profitable than controlling an entire network. To overtake an entire network, the hacker must be persistent, constantly attacking additional accounts and devices in order to steal sensitive data, set up their persistence to re-enter the network, and spread malware or toolkits.

5.  The end goal: Cybercriminals will proceed on with activities such as data exfiltration, ransomware deployment, and network destruction once they have successfully acquired access to the network and systems.

Here are a handful of the most prevalent hacking techniques:

-Phishing: When cybercriminals impersonate a legitimate account or person who already has access to data, they can obtain access to sensitive information.

-Malware: The installation of malicious software may be used to steal data, disable accounts, and propagate it to other devices on the network.

-URL Redirection: Users are led to an unsecured website in order to collect personal information. These websites trick victims into entering their credentials, credit card information, or other personal data.

-Brute Force Attacks: Attempting to guess credentials continuously and methodically in order to obtain access to a user’s account.

-SQL Injection Attacks: To get access to your website or system, hackers will write code.

Some will try to delete data using this code, while others will try to steal user information.

-DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attacks: These occur when numerous sources overwhelm a targeted system, rendering it unusable. These operations are generally launched from machines that have been hacked as part of an existing system.

Early Detection of a Breach

Cybercriminals typically use methods to avoid alerting toolsets like endpoint detection and response (EDR), antivirus solutions, and perimeter defenses or firewalls in the early phases of a breach. As a result, it may be challenging to identify when hackers are at work since they are using fundamental procedures that the business and its workers utilize on a daily basis to carry out their duties. It may take weeks or months to detect a successful breach, and much longer to repair the damage.

What can an organization do to avoid and respond to a data breach?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA), frequent software patching, and staff training are all excellent places to start when it comes to cybersecurity. When a breach does occur, the main aim is to be able to identify the intrusion, enumeration, and lateral spread phases as soon as possible to prevent a hacker from achieving their ultimate objective. Many companies are utilizing advanced technologies like a Security Operations Center (SOC) and Managed Detection and Response (MDR) to be able to stop hackers in the earliest stages before any significant damage or data loss occurs.

In Summary

With cyberattacks increasing daily and growing more advanced, having layered cybersecurity procedures in place is more essential than ever. Although no one solution can prevent a hacker from abusing your network, having several preventive measures and “tripwires” in place will reduce your chances of being the next cyber assault victim.