emerging attack vectors

How to Avoid Emerging Attack Vectors in 2021

Today, every enterprise must protect themselves from manipulations of an attack surface made up of several exploitable attack vectors on their systems and networks. An attack surface’s complexity and magnitude increase every day as organizations introduce new technologies and applications and cyber attackers discover fresh vulnerabilities.

Your job can be overwhelming if you are an IT professional, cybersecurity professional, or even a cybersecurity enthusiast living in the present attack-plagued cybersecurity landscape. You have to constantly stay on top of malicious hackers and still keep your enterprise safe. Besides, cybercriminals seem to have an unfair advantage over you. They get to choose the time and place for an attack, and they only need to detect a vulnerable point to launch an attack.

However, you don’t have to operate blind. Regardless of the business or industry you operate in, you can learn to combat emerging attack vectors. If you’re wondering how, you’re in the right place. Read on as we explain how you can combat emerging attack vectors.

What Are Vectors of Attack?

Vectors of attacks are pathways or the means by which a malicious attacker can gain unauthorized access to a computer or network server. The intent of the attacker is often to steal sensitive information or data and extort money from you by probing known attack vectors. They also try to leverage vulnerabilities to infiltrate the targeted system.

Attack vectors allow hackers to infiltrate desired systems and networks, install various types of malware, launch cyberattacks, and also exploit the human element. They require some planning and analysis, which makes them dangerous.

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4 Emerging Attack Vectors to Watch Out For

The following are some of the emerging attack vectors to watch out for in 2021.

1. Manipulating domain name infrastructure

Now more than ever, malicious actors are exploiting credentials they’ve hijacked to log into DNS providers and registrars to manipulate DNS records. For instance, hackers can manipulate email records that are meant for your organization by redirecting them through a server they control. This lets them intercept your messages.

To avoid this:

  • Watch out for public changes to DNS records and digital credentials linked with your company.
  • Deploy DNS security comprising both validated and signed records.
  • Use multi-factor verification for modifications made to the DNS infrastructure.

2. User privilege escalation

This is a type of network attack exploited to gain unauthorized access to sensitive systems or systems within the security perimeter of an organization. Malicious hackers find weak points to penetrate within an organization’s system. After which, they’ll try to privilege escalation to obtain access or more permissions to other, more sensitive systems.

You can mitigate this by:

  • Implementing endpoint protection to detect active anomalous activities.
  • Using network analytics to identify and prevent initial penetration and privilege escalation on your organization’s network.
  • Using behavioral analytics to detect malicious activities on user accounts and the organization’s system.

3. Targeted cloud individualized attacks or cloud-jacking

This occurs when the attacker is aware of your conversations, physical locations, and other sensitive personal information. Part of the issue is that people are openly sharing their personal information such as birthdays, photos, our first pet’s name, etc., on social media.

Most people don’t understand how broadcasting their personal information, such as their location data, is retained by the services utilized on their personal devices and stored in the cloud. It’s not just your mobile devices that are capturing information. Your smartwatches, vehicles, tablets, fitness trackers, and PCs, that have location services turned on by default, also put you at risk.

Hackers can exploit these routes to access your information through social engineering, hacking weak passwords, and phishing emails. While most of these attacks are individualized, organizations can suffer where personal devices can access private networks — for instance, BYOD.

It is recommended that you:

  • Evaluate privacy settings on the services you use and authorized third-party applications with access to your data.
  • Ensure you use two-factor authentication (2FA) through a trusted second factor to minimize the number of security breaches that occur within your organization. However, if a service doesn’t offer 2FA, you should seriously rethink your use of that service.
  • If you adopt BYOD-style cultures, request disclosures if they find out that their devices have been breached.
  • It’s crucial that organizations have useful password policies that assure appropriate password strength since popular usernames and weak passwords can compromise credentials.

4. Encryption and visibility issues

According to Bricata, this can be categorized as an emerging attack vector. Recently, you must have realized that encryption is no longer the panacea for cybersecurity attacks. It definitely didn’t help Equifax.

When users visit a website, the client machine calls a recursive server typically managed by an ISP or enterprise. Once the first connection between the network traffic can be intercepted, attackers can see what you’re doing. Cybersecurity teams also want to observe this connection to detect if there’s malware on the host.

Although this has brought up data and privacy issues, DNS over HTTPS helps protect the client connection to the recursive server, and it’s great for data and privacy security. However, this technique has eliminated the capacity security teams had to detect malicious activities.

What you can do:

  • Implement a bona fide VPN for personal remote working.
  • Restrict private web browsing on an organization’s network.

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The Basics Are Not Enough to Combat Cyberattack Vectors

Most companies defend against cyberattacks by adopting one or two best practices. This includes implementing vulnerability scanners to search for flaws, quickly patching all applications and systems, and applying a powerful set of security controls. However, more than a few indicators have proven that these measures are hardly ever successful on their own.

Enormous amounts of security data

An average enterprise has thousands of vulnerabilities on their networks at any occasion, with innumerable policy rules entrenched in IPS, firewalls, and other security systems. However, it’s almost unfeasible for network and security analysts to capture and compare the enormous amounts of security data generated by these changes.

Intricate network topology and configurations

The most severe vulnerabilities are typically the outcome of combinations of misconfigurations and exposures of network security systems like firewalls. For instance, a malware attack may find its way into the network via a connection to a third party, despite the fact that the connection is secured with security protections like a VPN. There are hardly any methods to predict these paths into the heart of the organization.

Security silos

Nearly all IT organizations operate in silos. System operations, security networks, and applications teams apply their own point solutions. This produces inconsistent pools of security data. As such, they don’t have enough interest or visibility into fields that intersect or fall outside the range of their responsibility.

For instance, the IT staff in charge of desktops might act against a threat by spending several hours patching a vulnerability on PCs and desktop systems. However, this defense could have been offered more competently by having the network security team alter some of the IPS rules at the network edge.

How to Protect Organizations from Threat Vectors?

Cybersecurity professionals usually adopt a firefighting approach after a security intelligence source has exposed an emerging threat against businesses in their industry or when incident response teams identify indicators of compromise (IOCs), indicating a continuing attack.

Sadly, after cybersecurity teams have ascertained the weaknesses that can be exploited by emerging attack vectors, they often spend long periods finding and patching all the systems compromised by those vulnerabilities.

Nevertheless, the best response to attack vectors is a visualization solution. A visualization solution can:

  • Enable cybersecurity teams to detect all the vulnerabilities across the organizations within hours.
  • An attack surface visualization solution can also assist security teams in discovering less apparent but more efficient measures to remediate a threat.
  • Administrators can rapidly identify and fix all the devices that have the same misconfiguration when it has been discovered that a security policy has been misconfigured on one device.
  • This visualization solution can also simplify audit preparation by generating updated maps of network topology and significantly decreasing the work needed to document vulnerabilities.

One way that you can combat emerging vectors is to test your system for vulnerabilities via ethical hacking.

About the Certified Ethical Hacker Certification Course

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential offered by EC-Council is the most extensively recognized and respected certification in this industry. The average salary for a Certified Ethical Hacker in the United States is USD 110,000. CEH is a knowledge-based exam that will evaluate your competencies in attack prevention, attack detection, information security threats and attack vectors, procedures, methodologies, and more! For more information, visit our course page now!


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