You’re on Hackers’ Holiday Wishlist — Have You Checked Your Security Twice?

The Most Dangerous Time of The Year

The Holidays are upon us, a time where the nights get colder, food gets heavier, and wallets get lighter. The end of the year is typically a time of reflection, community and trust, and consumers pursuing some serious shopping. Unfortunately, it’s also when cybercriminals increase their activities to take advantage of the surge in transactions. The National Retail Federation reports that over $680 billion will be spent during the 2017 holiday season, presenting both retailers and adversaries with a wealth of opportunities. Holiday shopping spikes are anticipated by cybercriminals and for people who aren’t prepared in advance, a well-placed phishing email may have far-reaching consequences that can range from stolen identity to an undetected breach.

Today’s attackers aren’t just relying on malware to get into your environment. Fileless, malware-free trends in social engineering, credential theft, and legitimate program exploitation mean that targeted attacks slip past antivirus solutions without so much as a “jingle” to alert security teams. Adversaries continually strive to unwrap high-value endpoints where confidential customer information and valuable intellectual property reside. Often, targeted attacks provide the perfect avenue into organizations, particularly during the holidays. Employees eager to save will be more tempted to click on coupons emailed to them — and more likely to sign up for multiple rewards cards and conduct personal spending on work systems. Making matters worse, security teams are stretched thin as employees take vacations.

The Perfect Storm

Unfortunately, despite heavy investments in cybersecurity, solutions still fail to stop breaches. Malware-centric antivirus solutions do nothing to prevent the more than 50 percent of attacks that don’t use malware. And while legacy security vendors have implemented bolt-on solutions in an effort to stop increasingly innovative adversaries, this approach can cost organizations more and negatively impact endpoint performance, yet still fail to stop the breach. Security teams bear the brunt of this situation, as managing these solutions has become increasingly complex. The holidays amplify this frustration with rampant point-of-sale (POS) transactions and website security incidents leading to an ever-increasing volume of alerts. Without comprehensive event visibility and prioritization, prevention is impossible.

Your Holiday Checklist

The good news is that taking a few proactive steps towards strengthening endpoint security can get you off attackers’ wishlists. This holiday season, prepare against the onslaught of attackers with a few easy steps.

  • Check the Chimney: Although doors and windows may be locked, an open chimney still lets in the cold. Unprotected endpoints on your network provide attackers with a backdoor into your environment. Ensure that all your endpoints are protected so you can address any blind spots in your security.
  • Deck the Halls: A 99 percent chance of prevention is a 100 percent probability of a breach. Stop attackers with a layered approach to endpoint security that goes beyond prevention. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) provides the visibility to see and record all endpoint data and stop “silent failure” from impacting your organization.
  • Enlist Holiday Helpers: Resource-constrained security teams are often focused on tactical decisions. Motivated attackers continuously innovate, which makes strategic threat detection and response almost impossible. Augment your security teams with the expertise of proactive, managed threat hunting.
  • Clean Out the Driveway: Identify blind spots in your security architecture by determining which applications are running in your environment, who is connected to your network, and which users can access these endpoints.
  • Double Check Who’s Invited: Sophisticated adversaries often mask their intrusion by leveraging legitimate processes for malicious purposes. Incorporating threat Intelligence that tracks adversary tools, techniques and procedures (TTPs) can expose stealthy adversary activity other security measures miss.
  • Expect Company: Despite organizations’ best efforts, security incidents do occur. A proactive approach to incident response and detecting data breaches that includes detailed event playbooks prepares your organization should an uninvited guest arrive.
  • Trust Industry Experts: Attacker motives vary with organizations’ information and operation. Identify key regulatory compliance approaches relevant to your organization and adapt your security controls accordingly.

Your endpoints are on adversaries’ holiday target list. Get on the endpoint security “nice” list with a  proactive, comprehensive approach to endpoint security. The CrowdStrike Falcon® platform uniquely combines next-generation endpoint security, enhanced security operations and strategic threat intelligence to thwart would-be “cybergrinches” and stop the breach.

Learn more about the essential elements you need to ensure cybersecurity readiness for your organization: CrowdStrike Falcon: Setting a New Standard in Endpoint Protection (EPP)

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