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Cybersecurity Experts Say This New Cyber Attack Could Be Even More Dangerous Than Ransomware

Ransomware has been the number one cyber threat of the last few years, but a new cyber threat is giving business leaders headaches across the globe: Data Exfiltration. Earlier this year, Nvidia, Microsoft, and several other large tech companies highlighted how big of a problem it has become. Some even claim it can be a more significant threat than ransomware itself.

Data exfil is the process of a bad actor stealing proprietary information and moving it to a system that they control. Then, they threaten to release the confidential information and/or sell it to third parties. It is somewhat like ransomware, with the primary difference being that the cybercriminal already has your data before you even know that you are compromised. A hacker would not even need to encrypt the system if they did not want to. This is frightening as that means the attack would most likely occur without the victim even knowing.

While ransomware is still a top threat for any business, at least an organization can pay the ransom and move on if they have no choice. On the other hand, with data exfil the information is already compromised and in possession of the threat actor. The information that is typically targeted is intellectual property and personally identifiable information (PII). This means that not only sensitive data about the business is at risk, but also any personal customer data could be compromised. The permanent damage caused by an exfil shows just how dangerous it can be.     

An attacker could be in your system for months before performing the data exfiltration, making it challenging to detect without proper controls in place. Suffering a ransomware or data exfiltration attack can have major repercussions such as financial loss, loss of customer trust, potential downtime, and more. Fortunately, the same cybersecurity practices recommended for ransomware are still the best practices to follow. These include maintaining regular backups, implementing strong access controls, training employees for cybersecurity, having a managed detection and response platform in place, patching in real-time, and more. Following these industry-best practices can help protect your organization against data exfiltration and other cyber threats.

With new cyber threats and exploits constantly being discovered, it is more crucial than ever to stay up to date so that you are not caught off guard. Stay tuned for more information and blog posts on the latest cybersecurity threats. In the meantime, if you have any questions or want to learn more about how Alliant Cybersecurity can help protect your business, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!