Cyber Threat Actors: Know, Stop, and Counter the Adversary

Cyber Threat Actors:
Know, Stop, and Counter the Adversary


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Cyber Threat Actors Know, Stop, and Counter the Adversary

In today’s connected world, where almost everything is linked to the internet, the risk of cyber threats is always present. With the rise of IoT devices, the shift of apps to the cloud, and the transfer of personal and work-related data online, the potential economic damage from cyberattacks could exceed a massive $10.5 trillion by 2025.

So, how can you shield your data, systems, and networks from these looming threats? It all starts with understanding the individuals behind these malicious actions. Who are they? What motivates them? Most importantly, why do they target your systems? 

Getting a grasp of the concept of a “threat actor” in the cybersecurity world and recognizing the different kinds of threat actors is crucial. It empowers you to create an effective defence strategy and can help reduce the potential damage these actors can cause, potentially saving your organisation a significant amount of money.

What is an adversary in cybersecurity?

A threat refers to a harmful action or event caused by a vulnerability that has adverse effects on a computer system or application. In simpler terms, it means that there are weak points in our devices (endpoint), systems, or networks that individuals or groups with malicious intent can exploit to cause harm. These individuals or groups are referred to as cyber threat actors.

Know the adversary – Common type of threat actors

It’s essential to know your adversaries. From financially-motivated cybercriminals to hacktivists supporting social causes, this overview sheds light on seven common types with distinct motives and strategies. Here are common type of threat actors:

  1. Cybercriminals: These actors are mainly driven by the desire for financial gain. They engage in various malicious activities like stealing data, phishing, ransomware attacks, and fraud.
  2. Hacktivists: Hacktivists use hacking to support social or political causes. They often target organisations or websites that go against their beliefs or ideals.
  3. Insider Threats: Insider threats come from within an organisation. These are employees or individuals with privileged access who misuse their position to steal data, commit fraud, or compromise security.
  4. Nation-State Actors: These actors are typically associated with government intelligence agencies or military organisations. They engage in cyber espionage, sabotage, and data theft to advance their nation’s interests.
  5. Terrorists: Terrorist threat actors use cyberattacks to spread fear, disrupt operations, and pursue ideological or political goals. Their targets may include critical infrastructure, governments, or high-profile organisations.
  6. Script Kiddies: Script kiddies are amateur hackers who may lack advanced skills but use existing scripts or tools to launch attacks for fun or to gain notoriety in the hacking community.
  7. Organised Crime Groups: These groups operate with a profit motive and engage in activities such as credit card fraud, identity theft, and cyber extortion. They often operate on a large scale and may have sophisticated hacking tools.

These threat actors engage in malicious activities for various reasons. Cybercriminals aim to make money through data theft or ransomware attacks, while insider threats may be motivated by personal grudges, selling secrets, or engaging in malicious activities for entertainment. 

Nation-state actors act in the interest of their nations, often involving espionage or disruptions, while terrorists and hacktivists pursue political or social goals to spread fear or advance their beliefs. In the face of cyberattacks, early detection is crucial for a swift response and minimal damage. 

To stay one step ahead of modern adversaries, effective threat intelligence must transition beyond understanding threats to rapid action through proactive threat hunting.

Stop the adversary – Identify and take action

1. Identifying vulnerabilities

To effectively defend your organisation, it is essential to address a critical question: What makes adversaries successful? 

The first step in securing your company involves identifying vulnerabilities that threat actors can exploit. There are four key vulnerabilities that demand attention:

  • Stolen or Compromised Credentials: Cyberattacks often leverage unauthorised access through stolen or compromised login credentials.
  • Edge Devices: Laptops, servers, and PCs, acting as gateways between your data centre and the real world, are susceptible to exploitation.
  • Microsoft Exchange – Email: Given its prime target status, understanding how attackers exploit email vulnerabilities is crucial.
  • External Apps and Shadow IT: Security risks can arise from unvetted external applications used by employees if not properly managed.

2. Key Takeaways for Effective Defence

To defend your organisation effectively, consider these key takeaways:

  • Threat Intelligence: Stay vigilant by keeping a close watch on emerging threats and tactics. Leverage threat intelligence solution to adapt your security measures accordingly.
  • User-Centric Security: Invest in robust user identity and access management solutions. Multi-factor authentication and continuous monitoring can prevent and detect unauthorised access.
  • Rapid Response: In a period of 7-minute breakout times, an agile and well-rehearsed incident response plan is critical for containing and mitigating threats swiftly.
  • Cloud Security: Secure your cloud instances and APIs with strong access controls, regular audits, and vigilant monitoring to detect unauthorised activities promptly.

How to Counter the Adversary

1. The Need for Elite Protection

Stealthy adversaries are moving even faster, with a breakout time down to just 79 minutes. ArmourZero Endpoint Protection, equipped with EDR and Threat Intelligence as-a-service powered by Crowdstrike, provides enterprise-wide visibility, detects advanced threats, and responds automatically across your environment. This service also includes an elite monitoring team, the ArmourZero’s in-house SOC. 

2. Elite Cybersecurity with ArmourZero’s In-House SOC

In today’s digital world, cyber threats could strike at any hours, and ArmourZero’s in-house Security Operations Center (SOC) is your round-the-clock shield. Our dedicated professionals ensure your digital assets remain secure.

3. What Our SOC Provides

  • 24/7 Vigilance: Your IT infrastructure is under constant protection.
  • Real-Time Detection: Swift identification of potential threats.
  • Rapid Response: Immediate threat detection, minimising damage.
  • Integrated Services: Seamlessly complements all ArmourZero services.

4. Why Do You Need ArmourZero’s In-House SOC?

In a world of relentless cyber threats, our elite SOC is a necessity, not a luxury. Protect your assets, reputation, and business with ArmourZero. Your cybersecurity is only as strong as your defence. Being prepared is the best way to shield yourself from threat actors. By staying alert and following essential guidelines, you can avoid becoming a victim of cyber threats in today’s digital landscape

5. Unlock Comprehensive Protection

Your all-encompassing shield is just a click away. Take advantage of our free 15-day trial and discover top-notch solutions for your business:

  • Defend against malware and phishing with Endpoint Next-Gen Antivirus, powered by Crowdstrike.
  • Bolster your security with our USB device control add-on, enhancing visibility.
  • Stay one step ahead with real-time insights, powered by automated threat intelligence with Endpoint EDR and Threat Intelligence by Crowdstrike.

Don’t wait; secure your digital assets and future with our robust solutions.

ArmourZero: Your Complete Endpoint Security

ArmourZero provides a wide range of services designed to cater to various endpoint types, allowing you to comprehensively orchestrate your endpoint security. 

Protecting your endpoints is paramount in today’s threat landscape, and ArmourZero is here to provide tailored solutions to keep your systems secure. Ready to get started? Try ArmourZero services now and book your demo. You can find a list of ArmourZero services here.

Nadia Ishak - Customer Success at ArmourZero

Written by: 

Nadia Ishak (Customer Success), Seasoned B2B Customer Success Expert for SMEs, Mid-Enterprise, and Large Corporations.

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