In the rapidly evolving landscape of cybersecurity, understanding the tactics employed by threat actors is crucial for defending your school. Here are some of the most common tactics used by cybercriminals today:

  1. Exploiting User Error:
    • Weak and Reused Passwords: Many breaches occur because users employ easily guessable or repeated passwords.
    • Misconfigured Security Settings: Incorrectly configured security settings can provide an easy entry point for attackers.
    • Improper Handling of Sensitive Data: Mishandling sensitive information can lead to leaks that cybercriminals exploit.
  2. Phishing and Social Engineering:
    • Phishing/Spear-Phishing: Attackers use deceptive emails or messages to trick users into revealing confidential information or downloading malicious software.
    • Social Engineering: Techniques such as pretexting and business email compromise exploit human psychology to gain access to sensitive data​ (CrowdStrike)​.
  3. Stolen Credentials from the Dark Web:
    • Credential Theft: Cybercriminals often use stolen credentials available on dark web marketplaces to infiltrate systems. The use of compromised credentials has surged significantly​ (Unit 42)​.
  4. Exploiting Trusted IT Tools:
    • Leveraging Existing Tools: Attackers use legitimate tools and applications within a network to move laterally and avoid detection. This includes using administrative tools for malicious purposes​ (CrowdStrike)​.
  5. Deploying Ransomware with Double Extortion:
    • Ransomware: Ransomware remains a prevalent threat, often combined with double extortion tactics, where attackers not only encrypt data but also threaten to release it unless a ransom is paid​ (Blackpoint Cyber)​.
  6. Cloud Security Breaches:
    • Cloud Intrusions: As organizations migrate to the cloud, threat actors are increasingly targeting these environments, exploiting misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in cloud platforms​ (CrowdStrike)​​ (Blackpoint Cyber)​.

Understanding these tactics is the first step in building a robust defense. Implementing strong password policies, educating employees about phishing, securing sensitive data, and using advanced threat detection tools can help mitigate these risks. Stay vigilant and proactive in your cybersecurity efforts to stay ahead of threat actors.

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