5 Hacks to Monitor in 2021

Of all the polls, round-ups, and end-of-year wrap-ups, none gives us as much trepidation as the 2021 projected line-up for MVP hacks. As provider lists grow longer, and monitored data grows broader, we decided to distill our list of culprits down to the most likely suspects you’ll need to monitor. 

 

Ready? Okay!

Supply Chain Hacks

Cheerleaders falling out of pyramid, illustrating supply chain hack

S.U.P.P.L.Y. You ain’t got no alibi!

 

Supply Chain hacks are a type of Phishing. The goal is to target the weakest link in a company’s supply chain – meaning the supplier or service with the lowest level of cyber security in place. That company becomes a doorway for hackers to work their way up the chain to the biggest fish, taking information and toppling each company on the chain along the way. 

Big picture monitoring makes all the difference in your defense, and the big picture doesn’t just mean an entire site view of your own business, but also assurance that the companies and third-parties you have relationships with are covered as well. 

The more partnerships, the more points of access. You don’t just need eyes in the back of your head, you need an internal system of checks and balances to keep tabs on everything from transactions, to logins, to traffic on landing pages. This particular attack has been painted all across the recent news. We covered it as well here, and gave our two cents on monitoring for this kind of breach.

 

Phishing Hacks

A supply chain hack is purposeful, the hackers know they’re after a bigger prize, so they’re just looking for their initial way in. Phishing in general isn’t always so calculated. It’s more like Storage Wars, the hackers pick a target not knowing for sure exactly what data they’ll be able to snag. Is your service hooked up to a database? Do you record personal user credentials?

 

General Security Protections

Anyone that says their code is 100% hacker-proof isn’t being honest, they’re just trying to sell you something; but it doesn’t just matter that you have strong code, you also have to protect it. When it comes to preventing Phishing attacks, protection equals internal visibility and external reputation management.

Checks that look out for your reputation include WHOIS, Blacklist, and SSL.

SSL is your Secure Socket Layer and not having it is the equivalent to having a “private” conversation while live streaming. Everyone (hackers), will be able to tune into your operations. 

HTTP – without the (S), sends packets that can be read by third-parties in transit. HTTP(S) secures the information in transit through encryption. It’s what protects your user’s credit card information and other site details you want kept under wraps. 

Security Vs. Privacy

Security is about defending and monitoring your site with suites of checks, anti-virus, and IT/Security teams. Privacy is about protecting your data and your client’s data. To stay secure in 2021 you’ll want to prioritize accountability with visible practices like SLA reporting and up-to-date Status Pages. You’ll also want to look carefully at the privacy policies and disaster management policies for your third-party vendors before you go jumping into bed with them.

 

DDoS Attacks

A DDoS attack uses packets to overwhelm the routers that manage your traffic. Not only does this cause outages and interrupt your services, but it’s an expensive attack to weather. Even if your servers and load balancers can handle the influx of traffic, the extra data will cost you and may kill, or at least cripple, your business. 

To protect yourself, take a few main precautions to monitor this hack; 

  1. Monitor for errors like 404, and 503 from failed HTTP(S) checks – these let you know there’s some kind of communication error between your servers and your site. 
  2. Monitor your Load Balancers if you have them, and use Real User Monitoring, (RUM) to keep an eye on traffic patterns. 
  3. Beef up your security. Use 2 Factor Authentication, and encrypt your data while in transit and at rest. 

PRO TIP:  To effectively monitor your secure sites, whitelist the servers for your trusted monitoring vendor. 

 

Decryption

You have a beautifully protected and encrypted site but don’t get cocky. Vigilance is the best prevention against hackers. Decryption might not register as an individual hack type like a DDoS or Virus, but it is a primary element of a lot of hacks. Sometimes, network monitoring and encryption can exist at odds due to advanced security measures. How does a third-party service monitor a site that is tightly locked down?

Here’s what we need to understand about Encryption:

  • Encrypted web traffic has surpassed the volume of unencrypted traffic
  • Encrypted traffic makes it harder to monitor for attacks
  • Encryption requires a secure approach to monitoring 

 

As we’ve seen so many times, attackers are sophisticated and precise enough to exploit even the smallest weaknesses in your network. This is another reason why whitelisting trusted servers is a good way to monitor your network infrastructure while safely getting around your Firewall. 

TIP: Especially if you are Enterprise and have a large employee base, it’s a good idea to implement SSO to moderate and control user sign ons. You can also determine user permissions for your Uptime.com account at various levels to control who can see and manipulate aspects of your monitoring. 

 

Malware Attacks

A hack classic, and also a broad term that sums up what the average Joe on the street thinks of when someone says “Cyber Attack”; with catchy names like Worms, Viruses, and Trojan Horse.

Malware is goal-based; usually either to extract data and information, or to disrupt services, but also to demand payment as some Malware attacks are reminiscent of a kidnapping or data-hostage situation.

Generally, Malware attacks need some kind of vehicle; either email, a vulnerable service, a suspicious file that needs to be downloaded, or some kind of device like a USB or a floppy disc (back in the day). These types of attacks are growing more sophisticated, mostly in the spamming methods used; perhaps a crafty payment notification, disguised email, or other alert seemingly from a service provider you use.

The good news is that there are a lot of prevalent defenses against Malware; We offer a once-per-day monitoring approach that checks your domain against major malware indexes to be sure you are not unwittingly distributing malware.

Regulation Malware protection. Recommended dose, once daily with food.  

 

It’s scary out there in the digital landscape and we’re in a bit of a Westward Expansion phase with continuously increasing web traffic, growing reliance on e-commerce, and yet unknown types of attacks. Like we said before, vigilance is the best way to stay ahead of the game. So monitor your systems, either with us or another trusted vendor, and face 2021 with a secured network.

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Emily Blitstein

Emily Blitstein is a technical content writer for Uptime.com. With a background in writing, editing, and global HR, Emily is committed to delivering informative and relatable content to the Uptime.com user community. Aside from travel, she enjoys making short stop-motion animations, and live music.

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