Judging from the viscous gallons of malicious traffic that internet users decant daily, it is correct to say that a huge chunk of the internet is malicious. Imperva’s bad bot report called the pandemic of the internet has revealed how bad bots have leveraged the upsurge in internet use resulting from the pandemic. Malicious traffic accounts for over 25% of all internet traffic from the report.
Malicious activities occur across all organizations and in patterns that are almost impossible to predict. These activities have dire consequences to victims and the world’s economy at large. A 2018 report by the US Council of Economic Advisers shows that in 2016 alone, malevolent cyber events cost the US economy an average of $83 billion. Hackers will continue to terrorize the streets even in the years to come. In the words of Ken Levine, the CEO of Comodo, the mastermind company behind Comodo and its premium SSL certificates, “Look at you hacker: a pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you run through my corridors.” We can only expect more of such outcries because hackers are not stopping any time soon.
Organizations and firms share common risks and susceptibilities to malicious internet activities. It means that cybersecurity risks, costs, and mitigation measures correlate across all firms and networks. Organizations must rise to the occasion and install adequate measures to prevent such threats. It all begins with knowing some techniques to detect malicious hacking activities. This article will explore some effective measures firms, governments, and individuals use to detect malicious activity.
- Use An Intrusion Detection and Prevention System
An intrusion detection system is one of the most effective techniques for detecting malicious and suspicious network activities. It puts organizations at a watch-tower to discover and prevent looming danger. The system will monitor incoming and outgoing web traffic to filter malicious traffic and other irregularities and stop these threats from finding their way to their target application.
There are two types of IDS. The network intrusion detection system uses packet metadata and content to discover and filter out looming threats, thereby protecting a network in its entirety. A host-based intrusion detection system, on the other hand, is specifically designed to monitor the traffic of a particular endpoint or device.
The IDS works through a process called pattern correlation. It observes web traffic and matches the traffic patterns to popular attacks. Upon detecting malicious activity, the IDS will alarm IT administrators, who will begin immediate troubleshooting to stop the impending threat.
- Network Behaviour Anomaly Detection
The second important technique for detecting malicious activity is network behavior anomaly detection. The system works by keeping a close eye on the proprietary network to detect unusual trends or events that could be dangerous to the safety of the network. The network behavior anomaly detection system aids in tracking all system performances and activities in real-time and will alarm the system administrator upon detecting bizarre behaviors. In a layman’s definition, network anomaly detection deals with an organization’s attempt to detect network irregularities. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is the most-watched out network irregularity.
- Watch Out for Anomalies in Outbound Traffic
One of the perfect ways to detect malicious activity on your network is monitoring your outbound traffic. One of the most effective tools for detecting outbound traffic irregularities is the Sophos Cloud Optix. This tool offers analysis by modeling time-series and patterns in a network’s outbound traffic. It will learn the normal outbound traffic flow based on time and locations. All outbound traffic will be weighed upon these patterns, and suspicious traffic spikes that signal an attack will be reported. The tool has a self-training period of 21 days, after which it will start showing alarms in case of anomalies. Moreover, the Sophos Cloud Optix system can be reinstructed more often to capture the prevailing traffic patterns.
- Unusual Activities in the Privileged User Accounts
A recent study points out that 80% of cybersecurity threats aim their missiles towards privileged accounts. Suppose this figure is something to go by; in that case, it means that proper management and monitoring of privileged accounts could go a long way into protecting one’s organization or firm from catastrophic cyber-attacks. It would be best to have a clear strategy or guideline that guards these accounts against malicious actors. Standard authentication controls are also essential.
But of great essence is knowing how to identify malicious activities within the privileged user accounts. Several indicators tell you if a privileged user account has been compromised or not what it says. Irregularities in the Log-on time are significant indicators of malicious activities within your privileged accounts. Privileged user accounts tend to have standard periods of activity. Unusual log-on times such as those at 2 a.m; on Sunday should raise eyebrows.
Secondly, indiscretions in the typing style could point to a probable network intrusion. Typing cadence is unique to every individual. Therefore cybersecurity personnel should leverage advanced biometric analytics to learn keystrokes related to authorized account owners. Such data can help detect typing anomalies that suggest a possible intrusion. Uncommon titles of windows, nonconforming geolocations, and sudden changes in the lengths of sessions could also indicate a possible malicious activity in the privileged accounts.
- Use Web Application Firewalls
Besides the SSL certificate, IT experts strongly advocate using a web application firewall as the two most important cybersecurity tools. Secure Sockets Layer certificates are largely meant for encrypting vital data as it travels across the internet.
The reason firewalls are must-have security tools is because they monitor web traffic to filter out harmful traffic. Web application firewalls are the best tools for detecting and mitigating malicious activities. They play a great role in securing your network and data against virus attacks and other forms of hacking. So as you go shopping for an SSL certificate, remember that you also need a web application firewall for the sake of your network’s safety.
- Login Protect- Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication requires a user to enter an additional log-in credential other than the username and password. When logging into their accounts, users will first have to enter their usernames and passwords. After that, the user will have to enter a secret code or a one-time password sent to them via text. The user might also be required to use biometric authentication features such as fingerprints or face recognition.
It is hard for a hacker to access the extra authentication factor, which means that the hacker will not access the account. Users will be notified of such malicious login activities. Moreover, users who receive one-time passwords without initiating a login procedure will have to take action by changing their passwords because such cases might indicate that passwords have been compromised.
- Run Regular Anti-virus Scans
It is also vital that you run regular virus scans. Scanning your network for viruses will help dish out viruses that indicate malicious activities, such as someone trying to hack through your system. You can use antivirus software to remove all viruses from your network and stop hackers from compromising your networks.
The best approach to protecting your network from hackers’ malicious activities is knowing how to detect such activities. A compromised network could be a great liability to your organization, and therefore you have to use multiple approaches to detect and mitigate impending cyber-attacks. Always ensure that you implement all the tips explained above for maximum security.