Know Your Enemy
As an MSP company, you’d do well to read key excerpts from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Specifically, “know your enemy.” Ironically, a lot of your enemies in terms of hacking will be foreign “black hat” startups from China. However, you’ll deal with plenty of vermin in the United States as well.
What to Watch Out For
Cybercrime is a multi-trillion-dollar industry that has almost the same economic impact as “white hat” tech. That’s the bad news. The good news is: because there is so much of this going around, common cybercriminal tactics are known. Here are a few threats that are well-known and which you should prepare to encounter:
- The graymail threat
- Links embedded in the text
- Microsoft office attachments disguising “macros”
- Anachronistic or poorly managed firewalls invite cybercrime
The Graymail Threat
Graymail is a non-spam bulk email; think newsletters, product updates, coupons, etc. As an MSP company, you’ll likely find yourself and your employees involved in varying email marketing outreach programs.
Similarly, other companies design email lists to constantly update clients. You might be the recipient of marketing emails like newsletters. This is no big deal, but now cybercriminals are gaining access to such email lists and delivering malicious software through things like newsletters.
Links Embedded in the Text
Text links entered into the body of an email are converted by Google to hyperlinks, and some of these can be malicious. They’ll get past spam filters because essentially the hackers are exploiting a loophole.
Don’t click on links in questionable emails. You might make it a policy not to click on links in emails at all, then again this may not be feasible. Consultation and regular education are key to combatting this particular issue.
Microsoft Office Attachments Disguising “Macros”
Macros are a bit technical, as an MSP you’re probably quite familiar with them. Essentially, a “macro” is a preset pattern defining input mapping and output sequences according to particular protocols.
These can be attached to Microsoft Office documents. Sometimes hackers use macros as a means of camouflaging malware. Again, these can skate right by your filters. Watch out for macros, design protocols to manage them, or perhaps make a policy to restrict them.
Anachronistic or Poorly Managed Firewalls Invite Cybercrime
Firewalls become outdated eventually. A military firewall from 1995 probably wouldn’t stand up against malicious software from a cellphone today. You must update your firewalls, you’ve got to manage those firewalls, and you’ve got to be proactive about it. If you’re not, you’re basically painting a big red target on your business in the eyes of hackers.
Safeguarding Operations from Hackers
When an MSP company takes a strategic approach to security management which outpaces hackers, you’ll safeguard your data, clientele, and ultimately your overall sustainability. Steps to focus on include keeping firewalls up to date, screening emails to filter out malicious macros, educating staff, screening messages for embedded links, and designing operations that can anticipate graymail.