The continuous availability of a company’s server and protection of data stored in it is crucial for smooth operations of the business. Servers often store critical information regarding products, pricing, support, contacts, etc. which are not only essential for routine operations but also for generating business leads. Any attack on a server, which may lead to its downtime or any loss of data from it, could impact an organization negatively. It hampers not just the company’s reputation but also its operations which eventually convert into financial losses.
Before we look at the impact of a cyber breach on an organization’s servers, let us first look at some common attacks that cyber criminals use to breach a company’s infrastructure.
Common Types of Cyber Attacks
Brute Force Attacks – This is the simplest form of attack. The attacker tries a large number of random or popular passwords, one of which might grant him access to the server. They often develop and use automated tools that can try thousands of passwords in minutes and have a sophisticated algorithm to generate as many combinations of characters as possible. Multiple incorrect login attempts from a single IP can indicate such an attack. Using a complex password with special characters protects you against such attacks. Long, complex passwords buy you time to identify such an attack and ban the source IP.
Cross Site Scripting – Any part of the website, which allows the visitor to post, upload or send any content such as comments, images, or messages is vulnerable to cross site scripting attack. A skilled hacker can inject malicious code in the uploaded content that will execute next time the content is accessed. This script can run certain commands on the server just as if a legitimate user was executing them. This can be used to redirect the user to a phishing website or send the data from the server to the hacker. They could also disallow other genuine users from posting, uploading, or accessing your content thus harming the operation and reputation of your business.
SQL Injection – This attack uses a similar technique as cross site scripting but the target of injection of the malicious code, is the database connected to the application server. The script grants a read/write access of the database to the hacker, permitting him to play with the data in any way he wants. The code is also designed to run by itself, steal information and delete or corrupt the database. To protect themselves from such an attack, the administrator of the servers must always keep the software updated and block the malicious HTTP requests.
Software Vulnerabilities– Today a typical server runs many technologies together. As a bare minimum, there is an operating system, an application server software, and the application software. Every server application can be created using different technologies, but none of them is perfect. Each has its shortcomings, and since they are readily available to the cyber criminals, they identify the vulnerabilities in the software and target the same. The vendors work hard and release patches to plug the gaps, but unless server admins regularly update these patches, the vulnerability of the system towards a cyber attack stays high. Further, they must monitor all software for unexpected behavior as it can indicate a compromised system
Business Impact of Cyber Attack on Servers
Most cyber attacks translate into business impact which has far reaching consequences. Let us look at some of the consequences of a server hack.
Loss of Data – Loss of data by itself can have a huge impact on business. Imagine all the leads for marketing department getting deleted, or all the user generated content (say reviews) getting lost. A B2C company thriving on positive reviews will virtually come to a standstill in the absence of the customer reviews. It can be a huge loss to the business.
Theft of data – Data such as credit card details, personally identifiable information etc., can be sold to criminals for a huge profit. Intellectual property stolen from the server can also be sold to a competitor, depriving the original company of its rightful advantage in the market.
Business Impact – Public knowledge about the loss of data has a direct influence on the business. Old customer may leave, and new customers may not come to you at all. The company will need to spend a lot of time and money in rebranding and re creating the lost reputation.
Legal and compliance liability – Administrations all over the world are enacting regulations that require the businesses to protect the data and levy fines and punishments on the companies that lose the customer’s data. The legal settlement cost alone can sometimes wipe out entire finances of the firm.
Company servers hold valuable information about the enterprise. They are the first point of attack for the cyber criminals. Organizations need to implement robust security solutions to protect their servers and network from security breaches. An integrated security solution such as Seqrite Terminator acts as the first line of defense ensuring the safety of company’s infrastructure from cyber attacks.