With Chaos Comes Opportunity

No doubt by now you’ve been hearing or reading about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) on the west coast or Signature Bank (SB) on the east coast, but have you given thought to how this may impact your organization, your employees, or your customers? Often in cybersecurity, we like to view our worlds as segmented and closed off, but that mindset is not only myopic, it’s a weakness that bad actors count on.

Current news is a primary driver in attack effectiveness as it removes the guesswork in relation to what people will click on. There are, of course, old favorites that drive fear of missing out and false urgency, but events like the SVB situation can cause a general destabilization ripe for social engineering, phishing, and credential harvesting attacks. So much so, that often in the height of such chaos, we often overlook easy clues like grammatical mistakes and or plain falsehoods.

Now is the time for us to be vigilant and proactive. Rest assured, bad actors are crafting attacks right now to prey on people looking for clarity and security. Likewise, there are things we can do to keep ahead. Below are some passive and active recommendations your organization can take to protect your environment.

Passive/Transparent Security

  1. Employ and/or review your end-user protection mechanisms. Are you using front-end security measures to screen and proactively block bad data from hitting your users?
  2. Have you tuned your front-end systems recently? Have you reviewed the data coming in and analyzed the ever-changing patterns? Do you understand the types of attacks that typically reach your environment?
  3. Is your organization up to date on security awareness and phishing education?
  4. Have you employed multi-factor authentication and identity access management tools throughout your environment?

Active Security

  1. One of the best tools our cybersecurity teams have at their disposal is a friendly disposition and a wealth of knowledge. One of the best ways to increase effectiveness is to realize that we’re all human, we all have questions, and we all would like reminders that pertain to us as people MORE than employees. Craft advisories for your employees and customers just because this is good information to share.
  2. Specifically, call out common techniques such as fear of loss and sense of urgency to calm the people around you and help them walk through questioning the social engineering attempts they will encounter.
  3. Encourage your teams to be extra vigilant with any financial-based emails.
  4. Review and re-educate the appropriate teams on sensitive transactions such as wire transfers, ACH transaction, and basic items such as password controls and identity validation.
  5. Finally, realize that as humans, we are naturally prone to certain techniques, phrases, and situations. As security professionals, we aren’t trying to be everywhere to protect everything… we’re trying to help our people jump out of base behaviors by asking them to stop, think, process, and, if needed, ask before acting.

With chaos comes opportunity, and it’s our job to reduce chaos.

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