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Avoiding Business Risks of Cyber Kill Chains

The methods used by cybercriminals continue to evolve over time, and one that's become of note in recent years is known as the cyber kill chain. Referring to an issue where hackers break into systems using a tiered format, cyber kill chains can be devastating for organizations if they're successful -- but the right precautions will protect you against these and similar risks.

At Onward Technology, these and other cybersecurity risks are just some of those we help protect you against with our quality IT support and managed IT solutions, which include addressing these kinds of threats proactively to prevent against them. Here's a primer on what a cyber kill chain is, plus some simple recommendations for protecting against it.

Cyber Kill Chain Basics

Generally speaking, a cyber kill chain involves a "chain" of actions a hacker will take during their attack. Typically, this will happen over three phases:

  • Breaking in: Often in a way that's unnoticeable to the user, hackers will break into the system. This will often be done via email, where malicious attachments or links are sent that exploit vulnerabilities in the system, or by "password guessing," where a hacker tries to find passwords that can be used to break into an account on the system.
  • Investigating: Once a hacker is inside the system, they familiarize themselves with the environment they're in. During this reconnaissance phase, hackers will make a note of all existing accounts and information that can be accessed with ease. This makes it easier for them to exploit their access once they finally begin the attack phase.
  • Executing: In this phase, hackers will execute their attack. They will often utilize ransomware to do so, encrypting information in the system and then holding it with a key. The hacker will then typically demand a ransom for this key, with prices varying greatly depending on the situation.

Cyber kill chains can impact both individuals and organizations, including on a wide scale. However, some basic steps will protect your company against them.

Protecting Against Cyber Kill Chains and Similar Threats

Here are some basic ways you can limit or even entirely prevent these risks:

  • Security monitoring: It's crucial that you have systems in place for monitoring the goings on of your network at all times. This will help you recognize when hackers are breaking into your system, which means you'll be able to take action against them before they do too much damage.
  • Firewalls: As hackers begin to investigate your system, it's common for them to probe the network connections of the units they're attempting to break into. Firewalls can help prevent this since they'll limit how much information a hacker can access within the network through doing so.
  • User education: One of the best ways to protect against cyber kill chains is by training your employees on what they should and should not do in terms of security. This can be as simple as teaching them to never download files from suspicious email attachments, or more complex like instructing them on best practices when it comes to dealing with social engineering threats.

For more on cyber kill chains, or to learn about any of our managed IT or other security solutions to protect against these and similar threats, speak to the staff at Onward Technology today.

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