How to respond a data exfiltration attack

Sometimes, no matter how many preventive measures you have in place and how much you train your employees, disaster strikes, and you find yourself experiencing a data exfiltration attack.

How to respond?

The first step is to detect not only the attack but its origins as well. You can use a security information and event management (SIEM) tool to analyze logs and detect anomalies. Don’t forget about intrusion detection systems that can provide real-time alerts to any suspicious activities.

Once you know where the attack is happening, the next step will be to contain it. Block malicious IPs, isolate affected systems, and quarantine infected devices to prevent the attack from spreading.

Once the attack is contained, it’s time to remove it from your system so you can regain use of all your devices and applications. How you tackle this step depends a lot on the type of attack you’ve experienced.

If malware made data exfiltration possible, run comprehensive scans to remove it and clean affected systems.

If you identify vulnerabilities in your systems, apply the necessary security patches to fix them and prevent further attacks.

Of course, if an employee’s account was compromised, they’ll need to change their access credentials. It may also be a good idea to add more layers to the authentication process, like MFA or adaptive authentication.

After eradicating the threat, it’s time to recover your systems. Restore data from backups, rebuild systems, and run a thorough verification to make sure everything is working as expected.

It may feel like your work is done now, but we’re not quite there yet. To minimize the risk of the same attack happening again, you need to understand what made it possible. Conduct a detailed post-incident analysis to find out what went wrong and how you can improve.

Create a detailed report with your findings and discuss it with stakeholders and authorities when needed. Use your findings to improve your detection methods and create a more robust security system for your company.

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