5 common IT security incidents (and how to handle them)

In today's fast-paced digital world, security incidents are no longer a matter of “if” but “when”. According to the OIAC, cyber incidents increased by 26% in the second half of 2022; with the increasing reliance on technology and the internet, businesses and individuals alike must face the harsh reality of cyber threats lurking at every corner.

Get ready to dive into an engaging exploration of the most prevalent security incidents and arm yourself with actionable tips from industry professionals, ensuring that you're always one step ahead in safeguarding your virtual kingdom. Say goodbye to sleepless nights worrying about potential breaches, and hello to the newfound confidence in your digital fortress.

What is an IT security incident?

An IT security incident can be defined as any event or series of events that compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an organisation's information assets. These incidents can arise from various sources, such as malicious attacks, human error, or system failures, and they often result in unauthorised access, alteration, or destruction of sensitive data.

Unauthorised access attempts

Unauthorised access attempts, also known as intrusion attempts, occur when an attacker tries to gain unauthorised entry into a system or network. This can be accomplished through various means, such as brute-force attacks, exploiting vulnerabilities in software and hardware, or utilising stolen credentials.

The first step in combating unauthorised access attempts is to establish strong access controls. This includes enforcing the use of strong passwords, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) and identity and access management, and limiting the number of users with privileged access. Regularly monitoring and reviewing access logs can also help identify and respond to any unauthorised access attempts.

In addition to access controls, invest in intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) to monitor your networks for signs of unauthorised access attempts. These systems can detect and alert on suspicious activities, allowing admins to take swift action to contain and remediate any potential threats.

Insider threats

Insider threats refer to security incidents that originate from within your organisation, involving employees or other trusted individuals who intentionally or unintentionally compromise information assets. Insider threats can take various forms, including data theft, sabotage, and unauthorised access to sensitive information.

To address insider threats, establish a culture of security awareness. This involves providing regular security training and education for employees, as well as fostering open communication channels for reporting potential security concerns.

Technical measures can also be employed to mitigate insider threats. For example, data loss prevention (DLP) solutions monitor and restrict the movement of sensitive data. User and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA) will also identify anomalous activities that may indicate an insider threat.

Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are a type of social engineering attack in which cybercriminals attempt to deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that compromise the security of the organisation. Typically, these attacks involve the use of fraudulent emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, urging the recipient to click on a malicious link which will download an infected attachment, or provide sensitive information.

To defend against phishing attacks, prioritise security awareness training with a specific focus on recognising and responding to phishing attempts. Your employees should be taught to scrutinise emails for signs of phishing, such as unexpected requests, unfamiliar senders, and grammatical errors.

Malware attacks

Malware, short for malicious software, is a broad term used to describe any software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's knowledge or consent. Malware can take many forms, including viruses, worms, ransomware, and Trojans, and can be spread through various means such as email attachments, malicious websites, and infected software downloads.

To protect against malware attacks, invest in a comprehensive security solution that includes antivirus, antimalware, and anti-ransomware software. These solutions should be regularly updated to ensure they can detect and remediate the latest threats.

Another key aspect of malware defence is maintaining regular backups of critical data. In the event of a ransomware attack, having up-to-date backups can significantly reduce the impact of the attack, allowing for the prompt restoration of affected systems and data without succumbing to the attacker's demands.

Man-in-the-middle attacks

Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks are a type of cyber-attack in which an actor intercepts and manipulates communications between two parties without their knowledge. These attacks can be used to eavesdrop on sensitive information, alter the content of communications, or redirect users to malicious websites.

To defend against MITM attacks, use strong encryption protocols to secure communications. This ensures that any intercepted data remains unreadable to the attacker. Additionally, secure remote access solutions like virtual private networks (VPNs) will protect communications between remote employees and the corporate network.

Educating users on the importance of verifying the authenticity of websites and digital certificates is also vital. Users should be trained to look for visual indicators, such as the padlock icon in the address bar, and to exercise caution when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, where MITM attacks are more prevalent.

Incident management

Incident management is the process of identifying, analysing, responding to, and recovering from security incidents. A well-defined incident management process is crucial for minimising the impact of security incidents and ensuring that your organisation can resume normal operations as quickly as possible.

The key components of an effective incident management process include detection and reporting, analysis and classification, containment and eradication, and recovery and post-incident review.

A dedicated incident response team comprised of individuals with the necessary skills and expertise to handle security incidents is responsible for developing, maintaining, and testing the incident response plan, which should outline the roles and responsibilities of each team member, as well as the procedures to be followed in the event of a security incident.

Secure your business against security incidents with expert help

Navigating the top five security challenges requires a combination of robust technological defences, well-defined security policies, and a proactive approach to incident management.

The cyber security specialists at Essential Tech can arm you with the tools, strategies, and expertise needed to enhance your security posture and defend your business against cyber threats.

Got any Questions?

We listen and learn to understand your business challenges, so we can deliver effective solutions that meet your specific business needs. Speak with an expert now!

Request Quote

Top 10 best Cyber Security Companies in Brisbane - Essential

The 10 best cyber security companies in Brisbane Cyber security is an area of business that continues to grow in importance. Read article

Cyber Security For Law: Its Risks, Impact, & Action Plans

Cyber Security in the Legal Sector: Risks, Impact, and Action Cybercrime is fast becoming the biggest and most expensive threat to Australian businesses in the 21st... Read article

The Imminent Cyber Threats in 2022

The cyber threat landscape in 2022 Last year saw more cyber-attacks take place than ever seen before, with a surge of 105% in ransomware attacks alone. Cybercriminals... Read article