Preventing data exfiltration

Data exfiltration can cause serious havoc on your business, and hackers have no shortage of options to carry out such attacks.

This variety makes some feel it’s nearly impossible to prevent data theft. After all, there’s no guarantee that an inattentive employee won’t download malware, even after hours of training on cybersecurity best practices. While that’s true, the right prevention techniques can minimize the risks even when an employee makes a mistake.

Standard prevention techniques include:

1️⃣ Using identity and access management (IAM) solutions, such as MFA and role-based access control.

2️⃣ Encrypting sensitive data both in storage and during transmission so that only authorized people can access it.

3️⃣ Adding network security measures like firewalls and intrusion detection systems to provide a barrier against malicious activities.

4️⃣ Using threat detection and response tools like EDR to keep an eye on endpoint devices, or XDR if you want to monitor the entire network.

5️⃣ Creating data security policies to ensure proper data handling and incident response.

6️⃣ Training your employees to security best practices.

Last time, we saw that the rise of AI brought with it a fresh set of challenges with more sophisticated data exfiltration attacks. There’s also good news here, as AI also enhances prevention techniques. They include:

Predictive threat detection, which analyzes patterns and can spot an attack much faster than standard methods.

Adaptive authentication, which requires additional authentication details when the user switches devices, logs in from a different location, or has other context changes that could be the result of fraud.

✔ Enhanced anomaly detection, where AI algorithms identify subtle anomalies and changes that would otherwise be missed.

AI can also help you classify data more effectively so that you can focus your security efforts on the most critical data first.

If you know anything about cybersecurity, you probably know that even the best prevention methods can fail sometimes. It only takes a moment of inattentiveness, forgetting to update a patch, or not noticing a firewall is down, and an attacker can take advantage of that vulnerability.

In some cyber attacks, you’ll immediately know you’ve been hit. A denial-of-service attack, for instance, we’ll make your systems slow or take them down altogether.

A data exfiltration attack, though, can be more subtle. If you’re not careful, all your data will be stolen before you realize you’ve been hit. Next time, we’ll cover the most common signs of a data exfiltration attack.

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