Malicious actors pose a threat to all businesses, regardless of their size. Such attacks can have serious effects for a company, disrupting critical infrastructure and resulting in a complete shutdown of operations.
Attackers are increasingly targeting critical infrastructure systems with cyber-physical attacks, which can result in disruptions and outages. Unfortunately, no company is exempt.
Ransomware, in particular, has emerged as one of the most serious threats to businesses today. Malicious actors can get unauthorized entry to devices on networks and install ransomware, essentially shutting down operations and demanding large sums of money to allow the company to restart operations. Frequently companies cannot make these payments, and without adequate backups, they can be catastrophic.
In the future, security risk management leaders and CISOs should define their high-value assets so that evaluation and decision-making about what to restore first doesn’t happen on the fly, and safeguard mission-critical backups on-premises or in the cloud. They must assess network segmentation in enterprise IT systems as well as high-value cyber-physical systems in mission-critical contexts.
Enterprises can adopt the following strategies to strengthen their security systems, which can go a long way in securing their defenses against cyber-threats.
Acknowledge risks and conduct risk assessment
The first step for any company is to recognize that it is vulnerable and that resources must be allocated to safeguarding its critical infrastructure. This acknowledgement includes the awareness that the company may lack the maturity or internal capability to assess where and what the risks to its critical infrastructure are.
Once the company has accepted that it is at risk and that it may not be equipped to understand that risk, the next step here is to employ someone to carry out a complete and detailed risk assessment of the company.
Patch known security flaws
Patching known vulnerabilities, like any other security preventive approach, is frequently recommended to reduce the time it takes an attacker to gain access to a restricted system. Temporary devices linked to the network, such as systems, mobile phones, and so on, can also be vulnerable.
Minimize attack surfaces
By minimizing attack surfaces, an organization can save money in the long run and focus its efforts on securing a small number of resources and locations. The number of individuals who have access to a network and the devices that connect to it can be closely monitored in this way. Data sent and received through these ways can also be monitored and managed restricted if necessary.
Secure external connections
External connections to internal networks should be evaluated and only allowed access on a need-to-know basis. The usage of remote and sensitive connections should necessitate the implementation of activation mechanisms that limit the level of access available to users. Furthermore, access can be restricted for specified time periods, enhancing the level of protection for critical infrastructure.
The relevant stakeholders must be involved from the start in order to successfully establish safeguards to protect critical infrastructure. This will ensure that they are aware of potential risks as well as the potential impact and consequences of a threat event. This will result in buy-in from key business units that may be affected by any policies implemented to safeguard critical infrastructure.