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  • Keep Your Business Safe From Watering Hole Cyberattacks

    June 15, 2021

    Is your small business safe from “watering hole cyberattacks?” This type of cyberattack is particularly detrimental to small businesses because hackers study an organization’s internet behavior to find a way to infiltrate their system. Let’s say that you are in the financial industry. Your employees are often likely to visit websites related to financial investments and information. In a watering hole attack, a hacker will exploit this type of Internet usage in your business to hack your system. An employee who inadvertently opens an email with a “link” to a financial website may accidentally allow malware to be introduced into your organization’s IT. Watering hole cyberattacks are commonplace and one of the most intrusive ways hackers exploit an organization’s weaknesses.

    How Do Watering Hole Attacks Work?

    This type of cyberattack usually involves a sequence of events that the hacker uses to gain access to a small business’s system. First, the hacker will identify a website, service, or piece of software that the intended target uses frequently and is familiar with. The technology in question typically has low security and is used often within the business. Let’s say that the vehicle for the hacker’s attack is a website. The hacker will get into the website with either JavaScript or HTML. When the victim of the attack visits the website, the malware or virus is then delivered into their system. The malware or virus may be delivered to the victim’s computer automatically or they may get a prompt to download something. Once the malware or virus is on the victim’s computer, it may jump to other devices on the organization’s network.

    Some common types of watering hole attacks include:

    • Supply chain attacks: This is an attack where a hacker will use a third-party service, such as software, that is compromised to put the virus or malware into a company’s system.
    • Honeypot attacks: This is a type of attack where a victim is prompted to do something, like complete a download, to gain access to the network.
    • MitM attacks: Man-in-the-middle attacks happen when information exchanged between a computer and a website (as an example) is the vehicle of the cyberattack.
    • Tailgating attacks: This type of attack happens when a hacker is following a victim’s online actions to gain information about how to access their system.

    Examples of Watering Hole Cyberattacks

    There have been several different watering hole cyberattacks that have happened over the years. In 2013, the US Department of Labor had a watering hole cyberattack. Users who were trying to get access to a resource on the department’s website were redirected to another URL that allowed the hacker to exploit vulnerabilities on the user’s computer. In 2015, Forbes.com was also utilized to launch a watering hole cyberattack. Issues with Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash allowed hackers to gain access to user’s computers in the finance and defense industry.

    Keeping Your Business Safe From Watering Hole Cyber Attacks

    Cyber attacks often take advantage of security vulnerabilities to infiltrate computers and networks. Updating your software and browsers are a great way to prevent watering hole cyber attacks. Also, checking up on security patches for your software will keep hackers from getting into your system. A company like Tech Seek can help small businesses make sure that their machines have the latest updates of all software being used.

    Tech Seek can also help you monitor your network security. Tools like intrusion prevention systems monitor suspicious network activities before they can cause a problem. Additionally, bandwidth management will also let you observe user behavior, detect patterns that could indicate a cyberattack, and pinpoint large downloads or file transfers that could be indicative of a cyberattack.

    You can also prevent cyberattacks by counseling your employees on how to correctly use your business’s technology. A VPN can help employees work remotely in a manner that does not impact your organization’s safety. Antivirus programs are also a great way to make sure that your business’s network is protected from cyberattacks. Another way to keep your business safe is to make sure that your network firewall is on and the most protective settings are active.

    How Your IT Support Team Can Prevent Watering Hole Cyberattacks

    Many businesses lack a dedicated IT support professional. Working with a company like Tech Seek can help you mitigate watering hole cyber attacks. Here are some of the things that we do to help you keep your IT safe:

    • We can make sure that your firewalls are active and have the proper settings.
    • Our team can help train your staff to make sure that their antivirus and malware protection programs are updated and working properly.
    • We can ensure that endpoint protection is set up for your tablets and mobile devices.
    • Our team will also make sure that backups are in place if you need to reset your system.
    • We will work with you to make sure that access to your system’s is tightly controlled.
    • If you use WiFi, we will make sure that it is properly secured.
    • If you have a large team, we can make sure that all technology in your organization has a personal account set up so that employees can access it.
    • We will also make sure that you have a good password rotation procedure in place within your organization.

    Can Tech Seek’s Business Class Membership Help Prevent a Cyberattack?

    If you are concerned about security within your organization, Tech Seek has a business class membership program to help you. We can review your existing system and make sure that your security is up to date. We can also educate your team on the best practices to make sure that their online activities are safe and not a risk to your organization.