Wednesday, 06 October 2021 19:06

Hackers have evolved since COVID-19 - have cyber defences kept up with them?

By Greg Wyman
Greg Wyman, Comodo Security Greg Wyman, Comodo Security

COMPANY NEWS by Greg Wyman, Comodo Security:  COVID-19 has been an incredible opportunity for the attackers and hackers. As home remote working was an absolute game changer and an enabler for the hackers.

Today ransomware infects another business every 10 seconds globally. *

Every attacker and hacker knows that every file or malicious attack must go through antivirus, NextGen antivirus, sandbox technology, and/or an EDR product. The hackers have become experts at evading detection.

All attackers need to evade detection, steal data, infect, then extort money. If their files are caught by existing security products, there will be no infections.

In Australia, we are seeing the volume of reported threats explode. In the 12 months to June 2021, we saw a cyber-attack every eight minutes, equating to over 65,700 attacks per year. **

With Australia approaching ‘Freedom Day’, it is an ideal opportunity for organisations to revisit and review their cyber security strategy. As a suggestion, don’t assume everything is working perfectly.

How to avoid becoming another ransomware victim

Start with a very simple question to your AV or security vendor:

“In the past 12 months, have you prevented breaches and ransomware across 100% of your customers, and if not, how many were breached or infected?”

It is critical to understand how effective each security product is in stopping the new tactics that the hackers are using since COVID-19. Depending on the response, it may be worth looking to the market to identify a solution based on prevention, not detection, and incorporates isolation, containment and elimination (ICE) technology.

Always assume the worst case, and that a hacker has already breached, or is about to breach.

Reduce the attack surface: Update / automate your server and desktop Windows operating systems updates and patches at least weekly, if not daily, to reduce the opportunity for zero-day attacks to breach and infect. Repeat with applications.

Understand vulnerabilities: Run a real-time, always-on vulnerability assessment across your network and fix at least the critical vulnerabilities.

Stop zero-day and never-before-seen threats: Automatically isolate and contain every .exe and .DLL that has an unknown SHA or HASH value before it is allowed to run.

User Education: Educate users to what to look for BEFORE they open a file, or click a link.

Macro based attacks still prominent: It is essential to ensure that whenever a user clicks on a file which unknowingly launches a macro, that the macro (whether it is unknown or malicious) is instantly isolated and contained from being able to infect the device and the rest of the network.

Understand data privacy risks: Know what regulated and sensitive data is located where, and automatically track the flow inbound and outbound, so that in the event of breach, you need notify only the people affected, not the entire customer database.

Backup and recoverability: Critical are air-gapped backups that are resistant to ransomware and ensure that data is recoverable, and test that recoverability in case of infection.

The last line of defence is a strong offense. Isolation, containment and elimination (ICE) technology puts organisations back in the driver’s seat to protect against all unknown files from infecting them.

Again, the first step is asking an existing antivirus vendor if they have protected 100 percent of their customers endpoints globally in the past 12 months. Make sure that cyber defences are strong enough to prevent a breach from occurring.

Prevention is better than trying to remediate after a breach.


* Check Point Blog

** According to the ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report - 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021

Greg Wyman – Regional VP, Australia and New Zealand, Comodo Security

Phone: 0402 259 359


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