Hacking your way to stronger InfoSec: Part 2

March 1, 2017 | InfoSec Workforce | By Brian Dulany |
The best way to make sure your security team is prepared for hackers' sophisticated tactics is to have them trained in their methodologies.

As discussed in the first part of this blog series, there are different types of hackers, all with varying motivations. Most, however, use shared techniques and sophisticated schemes.

That said, similar to how easy it is for a cybercriminal to infiltrate a sensitive system, it's also entirely attainable for companies to adopt sound strategies for preventing these attacks. It's all about knowing what to look for and understanding how infiltrations are carried out.

How hackers hack

Most of today's breaches are still executed using traditional tactics that we've heard about for years, including phishing and malware. But there's no denying that cybercriminals are executing increasingly sophisticated attacks with complex methods. There will always be new families of malware in development that are better at bypassing cutting-edge security systems. And attacks and data infiltration now take less time to complete - leaving many companies unaware that they've been breached until it's too late.

"To best defend against hackers, InfoSec pros need to be trained like them."

According to Verizon's 2016 Data Breach Investigation Report, in a whopping 93 percent of cases, attackers needed no more than a few minutes - if that - to compromise systems. Eighty-three percent of these incidents took weeks for the victims to realize the breach had occurred.

For years, phishing schemes have deceived users into clicking or downloading an infected link. And while certainly not new, this method is evolving and becoming more powerful when paired with social engineering capabilities. These provide attackers with increased insight and information about the interests and behaviors of their victims thanks to social media, allowing them to tailor phony messages in a way that's more likely to spark engagement. The Verizon report found 30 percent of phishing messages last year were opened - strong evidence indiscernible phishing schemes have become.

Malware also continues to be a popular vehicle of attack. Recently, a new family of fileless malware was discovered that is virtually undetectable by security programs because it doesn't drop files onto the hard drive.

Adopting the mindset of a hacker

Because the amount of time it takes to link a breach with the damage it causes, organizations can't rely on protection alone. More emphasis needs to be placed on detection, which is where the hacker mindset comes into play.

Tapping into the knowledge of expert InfoSec professionals allows organizations with limited in-house proficiency or staff to gain the kind of insight needed to better protect their sensitive data and systems. Moreover, the best way to prepare your InfoSec workforce to understand, identify and mitigate the risks posed by hackers is to have it trained by them - well, white hat versions of them.

InfoSec training gives IT pros opportunities to learn about the methodologies used by adversaries and hone the skills needed to actually hunt and emulate them. This type of aggressive training teaches InfoSec teams how to identify behaviors that aren't detected by traditional tools. It also allows them to leverage advanced exploitation techniques to conduct penetration testing, pinpoint areas of weakness and patch vulnerabilities.

To learn more about the skills your team should learn from InfoSec training, download our white paper.