Hey, Finance and Manufacturing Firms! More Than 50% of Recent Cyber Attacks Are Coming At You (and 7 Steps to Stop Them)

August 2017: No one likes to hear that they have a bullseye on their back. But if your company is in the financial or manufacturing sectors, you’re a top target when it comes to cybersecurity.

Finance, manufacturing, and oil and gas companies were the hardest hit by the worldwide WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks. And it appears that blackmail wasn’t the key driver — the real goal was disruption. Here are seven steps every company, regardless of sector, should take to help get the target off their backs:

1. TRAIN your team.
Hackers don’t have to hack into your network if they can trick your employees. Invest in the latest security awareness training. Your team is your first layer of defense, so make sure they’re not only aware of the dangers but also know their roles and how to behave when confronted with a variety of situations that could be related to a cyber attack.

2. UPDATE your systems.
Get rid of anything that’s running Windows XP or older operating systems (OS). The same goes for any older apps that aren’t patched or are running on a newer OS but haven’t been reviewed for compatibility. Pay particular attention to Java, Adobe and other apps that run on websites. Recent malware has attacked apps that haven’t been updated on networks even though the app updates had been available for months.

3. Implement the appropriate TOOLS.
Today’s cybersecurity tools are much more advanced than they were even just a few years ago. For example, new firewalls can better withstand the pressure of DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks and help keep anything questionable away from the network. New tools can use baselines to quickly identify anomalies that need to be investigated; and next-gen anti-malware can match the behavior of known viruses to new and unknown viruses by using advanced heuristic engines.

4. DETECT threats as soon as possible.
Implement a detection system so you know when someone is (or has been) in your IT environment. Threats like Petya can impact processes and control systems which, in turn, could be dangerous for the business, finances and human safety, depending on the company being attacked. Check out anomaly detection products like Tripwire and Varonis.

5. RESPOND to incidents quickly.
The key to stopping an event from being catastrophic is to cap the problem and get back to normal as fast as possible. This requires planning and practice so that you’re not doing it for the first time when there’s an actual event. Too many organizations do come up with a plan but then don’t practice it so they suffer more damage than they anticipated during an actual event.

6. TEST all system components regularly.
Your company could have something that isn’t working the way it’s supposed to but you won’t know unless you check. Like a pilot’s preflight checklist or the 50-point car inspection, each system and component in your IT environment needs to be tested. Conduct frequent risk assessments and penetration tests as well, which are more involved vulnerability scans. Frequent risk assessments can also be good for winning new business.

7. Have good BACKUPS.
Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before every company gets attacked in one way or another so having a solid disaster recovery (DR) plan is a must — don’t let an attack cripple your company. You can now get DR as a Service so the process is no longer a headache for your team (and there’s no longer an excuse to put it off).

Whether a cyber attack is meant to generate revenue via a ransom, disrupt business processes or something even more sinister, businesses in the financial and manufacturing sectors need to be ready. Leapfrog helps organizations across many sectors bridge the gap between how they’re currently protecting their IT environments and what they should be doing. By getting clients on track with best practices for IT risk management, including any or all of the steps above, and ensuring backups are ready to go, our team helps ward off cyberattacks and helps you better meet your business goals. Please let us know if you’d like more information — we’re here to help.

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