5 New Year’s resolutions to combat cyber attacks

What changes should we commit to this year to keep our networks safe? Here are five resolutions for the coming year, including leveraging DNS.

Last updated on December 21, 2022.

With every new year comes New Year’s resolutions. So, what changes should we commit to this year to keep our networks safe? As we look toward 2018, we also must look back on 2017, which taught us that large-scale cyber attacks are just the beginning (think WannaCry, the Equifax breach, and the Deep Root Analytics leak). It’s safe to anticipate more of the same in the coming year. However, this isn’t a warning – it’s a wake-up call.

The new year is all about taking a fresh look at the tools in your arsenal, DNS included. Because the bottom line is that the security measures that organizations have been relying on just aren’t getting the job done.

Here are five resolutions to keep your networks secure and free from cyber attacks in the year to come.

1. Start leveraging DNS

With insider threats a top concern among CISOs, you can count on DNS to get more credibility and visibility as a security tactic. DNS is the foundation for all network infrastructure, so it’s no wonder it’s so widely used among bad actors looking to initiate an attack. Having tools that automatically monitor bad domains and other malicious indicators according to policies that you set is an invaluable strength.

2. Get to know AI and machine learning

Hotter buzzwords you will not find. While some are concerned that AI and machine learning will replace the need for human engineers, Chris Day, Chief Cyber Security Officer at Cyxtera believes that human adversaries cannot be battled with AI or machine learning alone. Only a trained human being can fully grasp the creativity and spontaneity of a human adversary. For him, artificial intelligence is about supporting his threat hunters, “augmenting human teams and helping them go through that ocean of [DNS] data.”

3. Stay ahead of the curve

The new year is the year of being proactive. Enter the threat hunter. Again, Chris Day emphasizes the growing importance of this role in mitigating cyber attacks in real time. The threat hunter’s aim is to act before the damage is done. “Cyber threat hunting is about taking that less structured look at your network,” he says. It’s about leveraging tools and data sources that aren’t typically part of your cybersecurity stack, and using them as a sensor for network activity.

4. Be prepared for breaches and cyber attacks

“It’s no longer a matter of if, but when, an IT breach will occur,” warns Dick Clarke, internationally recognized cybersecurity and counterterrorism expert and former adviser to three U.S. presidents. In a perfect world, you don’t need a breach plan. But our world is anything but perfect. In the event of a breach, it’s important to contain it. Having a plan in place ensures that everyone knows exactly what to do when it happens. A plan that accounts for everything from computer forensics, to legal, to crisis communications will help minimize damage from every angle.

5. Secure your IoT devices

Your security cameras shouldn’t be leveraged as a gateway for cyber attacks. Your cell phones don’t need to be connected to any other network but your own. That being said, you need to keep track of your IoT devices and make sure they are protected. Keeping your IoT devices on a separate network and connecting them only when necessary with strong passwords are a just a few ways to keep your IoT devices’ capabilities out of the wrong hands.

While bad actors are getting smarter and more strategic, so are organizations’ cyber security teams. It’s up to the CISOs and network engineers and others on the ground alike to take a long hard look at their cyber defense weapons and mechanisms to see what’s working and what’s not… And what they should consider in the future.

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