As we enter 2022, we are all evaluating our cybersecurity strategies to lower risks and best defend against potential threats – and if not, "You gotta get to it!"

Through budget, risk tolerance, compliance, and more, businesses have varying priorities for their security needs. Two things to consider in that planning are the ever-growing threats of ransomware, phishing, and zero-day vulnerabilities as well as nation-state and Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks.

These APT threats and how they choose targets.

While you may not have been hit by a cyber-attack over the past year (Phew!), chances are high that a partner or vendor in your supply chain has. APTs are generally established to deliver objectives with national-level implications, like espionage for political gain, theft of intellectual property, or destruction of infrastructure. Ultimately, the bad actor’s end-goals impact who or what type of organization will be targeted.

In recent years, many nation-state attacks focused on intelligence gathering. While these attacks for the most part are industry-agnostic, the majority target critical infrastructure. Of these, most point towards government agencies where attackers exploit or create security vulnerabilities to maximize collection of sensitive data with minimal effort.

Should you be concerned? “YES!!!!!”

Hacking campaigns requiring months of planning and high-level computing skills needed to penetrate defenses and move across networks undetected were once reserved for nation-backed threat actors. Today, these resources are made readily available to anyone, bought and sold over the dark web as pre-packaged malware or hired services.

The APT threat has not changed, but it is the growing number of those who now have access to tools to launch powerful attacks. As businesses move sensitive data to the cloud and incorporate connected devices into operations, the attack surface widens, compounding the APT threat.

You should have a healthy level of concern and prioritize cybersecurity strategies in terms of budget, staff, and other company resources that directly address APT detection and response. While larger organizations may have more resources, companies of any size are in the crosshairs. Smaller organizations should prepare accordingly, as many APTs view smaller targets as an entry point to larger attacks.

Protecting your company against these threats.

There are a variety of steps you should consider. First, it’s critical to understand your own threat landscape. Take note of the intersections your organization sits in, and factor in how that may make you at risk. From there, build on the capabilities most relevant that will protect you from those threats. For example, deploying robust Endpoint and E-mail protection in conjunction with a 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) that detects new patterns and thwarts attacks is a MUST.

River Run will not take on any new client under a managed services agreement that does not. While we debate strategy, not agreeing to these protections is a non-starter. Either our clients do it, or they are not managed clients where we share liability.

Overall, the most important way to protect against these attacks is to be proactive. Assume compromise, understand what compromise may look like for your organization, and go look for it.

For River Run clients, we do it for you. If you don’t have detection and response capabilities, work with a security partner who does like River Run. If you have an IT “person” or department, we can simply be your security partner to deploy the tools at our volume, “Big Company” pricing, and also have our SOC monitoring your network 24/7 to detect and thwart threats as an affordable solution.

Looking forward.

This year will bring new APT, ransomware, phishing, and zero-day threats as the Bad Actors grow and the money they steal keeps pouring into their dirty pockets. Unfortunately, this means any operation in every industry with an online presence is at risk.

You are at risk. We are all at risk.

Your leadership and security team need to allocate a proper budget that strikes a balance between prevention, detection and response technologies, and skilled personnel to continuously monitor, eliminate threats, and limit any impact back should a successful breach occur.

River Run’s R-Security “Umbrella” of services, tools, and expertise can be customized to fit your industry, culture, and budget to give you the peace of mind to focus on your productivity and growth in 2022. When it comes to security in 2022, “We Got This!”



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