Guest Post: 7 Ways to Protect Your IT Infrastructure from a Data Breach

Succumbing to cyber attacks can hurt your brand image. Fortunately, there are many techniques to infiltrate your systems such as having an IT security and audit check.

Consumers allow you to connect with them in more ways than one whenever they provide you sensitive information like name, email address, birthday, and mobile number. In exchange for this privilege, customers need to know you value their privacy.

One of the most valuable assets you have as a business owner is your server, and IT security issues like a data breach is a huge business nightmare.

When adulterous website Ashley Madison, was hacked in 2015, hundreds of account profiles of its 37 million users were leaked, and the aftermath was catastrophic. Avid Life Media (ALM), the parent company of Ashley Madison, had to offer a bounty reward to track down its infiltrators.

But, that wasn’t the only cyberattack to make headlines. Early this year, 24 million accounts were reported to be compromised, where security researchers discovered that usernames and passwords were being traded online. This alerted Gmail account users because email addresses are often used for confidential accounts like online banking or credit card purchases.

Unraveling the Weak Spots in Your IT Infrastructure

You can prevent becoming a cyber victim by educating yourself about IT weaknesses. There are several vulnerabilities hackers can use and some of these include:

  1. Injection Vulnerability – In this scenario, the hacker could perform an injection attack, which leaves your system susceptible to data loss and breach. It affects SQL, LDAP, XPath, XML parsers, and program arguments.

An example of injection vulnerabilities is the Bash Bug or Shellshock. Through the Shellshock, attackers could execute commands to export your data.

  1. Security Misconfiguration – When you use an outdated software or an application in debug mode, you run the risk of hackers gaining control over your IT infrastructure.
  2. USBs – The most common thing you use to transfer files can be a source of the virus, as cyber attackers can use these to install a malware into your servers.
  3. Wireless Network Connection – Hackers can launch an attack through your wireless connection called wardrive.

TJ Store, the owner of Marshalls and TJMaxx, fell victim to a wardrive where the hacker was able to access customer transactions including debit and credit card information. The cyber-crime was reported to have cost over $500 million in damages.

  1. Office Email Network – Hackers can sometimes use your employees’ email address to phish for confidential information. Important data can be stolen by sending a downloadable link that contains the virus.

Construct Your IT Protection from Data Breach

Hackers can access your data only if you allow weak spots to go unnoticed. So, protect your IT infrastructure through the following:

  1. Modify your default autorun settings – It might be tempting to allow systems to auto-run certain applications to avoid delay. To safeguard your systems from potential virus attacks, you can review which applications can run automatically.

This is an important precaution to do because it also prevents inserted USBs to run malware files automatically. If you suspect a hacker is using an autorun.inf to open a virus, you can install Windows Hotfix or disallow auto-run functionalities through Group Policy Object or the registry key.

  1. Set passwords – Add another layer of protection by encrypting your files.
  2. Verify third-party personnel identification – Similar to the Trojan horse, a Trojan human can disguise themselves as third-party personnel who need to work on your systems. This might sound like it came from an espionage movie, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Once a hacker has gained control over your IT infrastructure, it might be too late for you to notice the infiltration.

  1. Run an anti-virus software – This anti-virus or anti-malware software is designed to detect cyber threats running on your systems.
  2. Implement asset control policies – You might be worried about people saying your company is strict and controlling, but asset control policies protect your business from infiltration. Some organizations, especially financial institutions, ban the use of mobile phones, camera, or any media to ensure that unauthorized individuals capture no data.
  3. Threat modeling – Analyzing where hackers could attack your IT infrastructure can help you prevent it. Run through the list of IT systems you have that could be affected by viruses.
  4. Risk management – In the end, you can only do so much to protect your IT infrastructure from being hacked. A risk management team can run an IT audit to help you identify which aspects of your IT security you need to work on.

Cyber-crime can be prevented by learning how hackers think. When you understand the vulnerabilities of your system, it becomes easier to create the necessary steps you need to resolve them.


This article was written by Vladimir de Ramos. Vladmir has been in the IT industry for more than 22 years with the focus on IT Management, Infrastructure Design and IT Security. He is a certified information security professional, a certified ethical hacker and forensics investigator and a certified information systems auditor. Outside the field, he is a professional business and life coach, a teacher and a change manager.

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