Jun 05, 2023 By Priyanka Tomar Back

Cyber Incidents: Types and Steps for a Strong Incident Response Plan

  • Malware Attacks: Malicious software (malware) such as viruses, worms, trojans, or ransomware is designed to infiltrate computer systems and cause harm. These can infect your devices, steal your personal information, or encrypt your files and cyber criminals never decrypt the data until a ransom is paid.
    Example: The WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 affected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, including those in hospitals, businesses, and government agencies. It encrypted files and demanded ransom payments in Bitcoin to unlock them.
  • Phishing: Phishing is a technique where cybercriminals deceive individuals into providing sensitive information like passwords, credit card details, or social security numbers by posing as trustworthy entities via email, text messages, or fake websites.
    Example: A person receives an email claiming to be from their bank, asking them to click on a link and provide their login credentials. However, the email is actually from a cybercriminal, attempting to steal their banking information.
  • Data Breaches: Data breaches occur when unauthorized individuals gain access to sensitive or confidential information, such as personal data, credit card numbers, or login credentials. These breaches can lead to identity theft, financial losses, or reputational damage.
    Example: In 2013, retail giant Target experienced a massive data breach where hackers gained access to customer credit card information, affecting around 40 million customers. This incident resulted in significant financial and reputational damage for Target.
  • Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks: DoS attacks overwhelm a target system or network with an excessive amount of traffic or requests, making it unavailable to legitimate users. These attacks can disrupt online services and cause financial losses.
    Example: In 2016, the Mirai botnet launched a massive DoS attack on Dyn, a major DNS service provider. This attack disrupted access to popular websites like Twitter, Netflix, and Reddit, rendering them inaccessible to users.

Creating an Effective Cyber Incident Response Plan:

  • Preparation: Identify potential cyber risks and vulnerabilities within your organization. Develop clear guidelines and procedures for incident response. Establish roles and responsibilities for your team members during an incident.
    Example: Conduct regular vulnerability scans and penetration tests to identify weaknesses in your network. Create an incident response team consisting of IT staff, security experts, and management representatives.
  • Detection and Analysis: Implement monitoring tools and techniques to detect cyber incidents promptly. Establish a process to analyze and verify the nature and scope of the incident.
    Example: Set up an intrusion detection system (IDS) or security information and event management (SIEM) system to monitor network traffic and detect suspicious activities or anomalies.
  • Containment and Eradication: Isolate the affected systems or networks to prevent further damage. Remove malware, close security gaps, or apply patches to vulnerable software or systems.
    Example: If a malware infection is detected on a computer, disconnect it from the network to prevent the malware from spreading. Use antivirus software to scan and remove the malware from the infected device.
  • Recovery and Restoration: Restore the affected systems or networks to their normal working state. Ensure data integrity and availability. Implement security measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.
    Example: Restore data from backups after a ransomware attack, ensuring that the backups are clean and free from malware. Update software and systems with the latest security patches to prevent similar attacks.
  • Lessons Learned: Conduct a post-incident analysis to identify lessons learned and areas for improvement. Update the incident response plan based on the findings. Provide training and awareness programs to educate employees about cyber threats.
    Example: Analyze the incident to determine the root cause, such as an employee falling for a phishing email. Conduct security awareness training sessions to educate employees about identifying and avoiding phishing attempts.

Remember, an effective cyber incident response plan requires ongoing maintenance and regular testing to ensure its effectiveness. Stay vigilant, keep your systems updated, and educate yourself about the latest cyber threats.