Cloud security

Mastering Cloud Defense: Cloud & Cybersecurity Expo 2024 Recap

Andy Hornegold
Andy Hornegold
VP of Product

Key Points

Here at Intruder, we work tirelessly to ensure our customers stay a step ahead of attackers but occasionally that does involve leaving our desks to rub shoulders with the rest of the cybersecurity industry and share best practices. Last week, a number of our team attended Cloud & Cybersecurity Expo in London, with our VP of Product, Andy Hornegold, presenting his thoughts on Mastering Cloud Defense.

If you weren’t able to attend his presentation, fret not; just stick with this article for a summary of the key points. And, after reading, if you’d like to learn more about cloud security, watch our webinar all about it on-demand or speak to us about signing up to Intruder today.

SMBs beware

Here’s some bad news for SMBs. According to recent research – as well as discussions on the “Risky Business" podcast - ransomware gangs have got SMBs in their sights now.  

Why? Well, it seems the big fish are getting tougher to reel in, with some large enterprises deciding that paying ransoms just isn’t their style anymore.

Leading the charge against SMBs is a ransomware group called LockBit and it’s really going to town on this segment, targeting SMBs in about 80% of their attacks. This means that while the big corporations usually grab the headlines when they get hit, it's the smaller businesses that are bearing the brunt of LockBit's antics.  

So why the sudden interest in this group? It turns out, from the attackers’ perspective, SMBs are kind of like low-hanging fruit. They often don’t have the hefty cybersecurity budgets that the big players do, making them easier targets. Plus, larger companies usually have solid backup systems in place, making it easier for them to bounce back after an attack.

But here's the kicker: in today’s hyper connected world, breaking into a small business can sometimes open the door to bigger, juicier targets. This just goes to show why it’s so important for businesses of all sizes to beef up their cybersecurity game.

There is some good news, however. Recently, LockBit got a taste of its own medicine when a team-up of law enforcement and intelligence experts from eleven different countries successfully counteracted the gang's operations. This collaborative effort led to widespread disruption of LockBit's activities, providing some relief to potential victims. While this has given everyone a bit of breathing room, the nature of ransomware gangs is such that they can quickly reform. Members may just pop up somewhere else with a new name and the same old tricks.

How threat actors get their foot in the door

Let’s turn our attention towards just how cybercriminals are able to cause havoc and walk through the cyberattack lifecycle.

The journey of a cyber attack is like a stealth mission where hackers infiltrate organizations, lay low, and navigate through systems to hit their targets. This mission unfolds in stages, starting with the attackers gaining unauthorized access and gradually increasing their control. They sneak around, hunting for sensitive information, all while plotting the perfect moment to strike. The grand finale of this operation often involves unleashing ransomware, holding valuable data hostage, and demanding a ransom.

But how do they infiltrate organizations in the first place? The reconnaissance phase. They've got a whole toolbox of sneaky tricks up their sleeves to scope out your online presence that looks like this:  

  1. IP subnet correlation: Here, attackers turn into digital detectives, using public info to map out IP addresses and subnets back to you. It's like piecing together a puzzle that points right at your digital doorstep.
  2. Certificate monitoring: Ever heard of CRT.SH? It's a tool threat actors use to keep tabs on new certificates for domains. Imagine they get alerts every time you add a new certificate, giving them clues about new places to peek into.
  3. Internet spidering: This involves crawling the web to find hyperlinks and other connections to an organization’s digital assets.
  4. Internet scan databases: Certain organizations perform regular scans of the internet and create databases which attackers then use like a treasure map to find exposed assets.
  5. Subdomain brute forcing: Attackers get creative, making long lists of potential subdomains based on your known ones, hoping to stumble upon uncharted territory.
  6. Passive DNS databases: These databases are like history books for DNS changes, offering clues to domains and subdomains tied to you. It's another way for attackers to sketch out your digital family tree.
  7. Search engine dorking: Using search engines (but not as we do), attackers exploit advanced features to dig up hidden information about your internet-facing assets.
  8. Source code analysis: Last but not least, diving into source code (especially the data you left public) to sniff out vulnerabilities or get a sneak peek into your infrastructure.  

In short, attackers have a wealth of tactics up their sleeves. Keeping ahead of their game means knowing these methods and making sure your digital assets are well guarded.

The magic of external attack surface management

The game plan for keeping this digital menace at bay is effective external attack surface management. In other words, spotting potential entry points before the bad guys do, assessing risks and fixing vulnerabilities as soon as you can. Knowing your digital footprint inside out and keeping tabs on it like a hawk is key to stopping these attackers in their tracks.

Now for a large enterprise with an even larger cybersecurity budget, that’s not too much of a problem, but unfortunately, SMBs are not so lucky. Budget aside however, the issues most frequently encountered by SMBs concerning cybersecurity revolve around two main problems.

First off, a lot of SMBs have what you might call a "set it and forget it" approach to their online presence. From their perspective, their digital doors and windows to the world don't really change much over time, perhaps every six months or so. But in cyber time, that's an eternity. Cyber attackers are changing outfits faster than a chameleon at a disco so, if an SMB isn't keeping its online look fresh and secure, it's basically rolling out the welcome mat for trouble.

Then there's problem number two: keeping an eye on the whole shebang. Understanding where you're vulnerable is like playing the world's most stressful game of whack-a-mole, where missing one could mean big trouble.

In a nutshell, staying ahead of ransomware like LockBit isn't just about putting up defenses; it's about being proactive, staying vigilant, and adapting quickly to an ever-changing threat landscape. It’s not enough to just be inwardly looking, you, and more importantly your tooling, need to be able to react to changes in your threat landscape – including new vulnerabilities, new exploitation of old vulnerabilities and more.

Where to start

We used a range of support sources in our presentation to help SMBs in this never-ending game of cat and mouse, including:

Armed with these resources and a solid understanding of the sneaky tactics used by attackers, even the smaller guys can stand their ground against the ever-evolving cyber threats.

The cavalry is here

Of course, this is still a tall order to manage alone. At Intruder, our approach is to keep our customers’ digital domains safe from unwanted guests.  

Our secret sauce is our ability to keep a continuous watch over your systems. While others might check your digital assets every now and then, Intruder is on patrol daily. It’s like having a guard dog that never sleeps, always on the lookout for trouble.

But Intruder doesn’t just stop at scanning. We have a whole suite of tools designed to give you a crystal-clear view of your digital landscape. From spotting new vulnerabilities at lightning speed to sending out alerts about emerging threats directly to your team—even in the wee hours—Intruder’s got your back.

We also push for 100% coverage in application and API vulnerability scanning and you can even send us IP addresses for a deep dive into specific endpoints. And we’re not stopping there. Join our upcoming webinar on cloud security to gain a sneak preview of some new features we’ll be adding soon to make things even easier for our customers to stay protected. Watch this space.

In short, we’d love for you to think of Intruder as your very own cyber guardian angel, keeping those digital demons at bay while you focus on growing your business. Get in touch with us for a demo of how it easily it can work for you or try it for free today.

Want a deeper dive into cloud security? Watch our webinar on-demand: Mastering Cloud Defense: Insights Into Protecting Dynamic Environments here.

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