Introduction

 In modern times, one type of cyber-attack that has increased is Data Exfiltration. By Data Exfiltration we define the theft of important data of a company with the purpose of exporting it to the external environment. This happens so that the hackers can sell the data. 

The consequences of such an attack can have a negative impact on both the company’s reputation and finances. For example, in case a business falls victim to Data Exfiltration, the damage will not be limited to data loss only. Additionally customers will lose their trust in the company, and there will be associated fines. 

In this article, we’ll break down how cyber criminals do Data Exfiltration, its types, and how companies can protect themselves against it.

How is Data Exfiltration performed? 

The ways in which cybercriminals perform Data Exfiltration are either through attacks from external actors, or from insider threats within the company.

1.Threats from external factors: 

They usually come from actors outside the business such as competitors or other malicious users who intend to steal important company data. 

An example of such an attack is the case of eBay in 2014, when the company fell a victim of Data Exfiltration. Through a series of compromised employee login credentials, hackers breached the corporate network and stole data. The attack affected 145 million users and caused losses to the company, both regarding customer confidence (because of the loss of data) and financially as well (because of the fines that followed).

2.Threats from insiders: 

In this case, these threats come from threat actors inside the company such as disgruntled employees who can extract company data and sell it to a third party.

An example of such an attack is the case of Anthem Health Insurance. One of this company’s employees was extracting important company files for 9 months such as Personal Identifiable Information (PII) of their customers with the intention of sharing it to third parties for profit. As a result, data exfiltration by an insider can have the same consequences as if it had been performed by an outsider. 

Types of Data Exfiltration and attack techniques

 The most common Data Exfiltration and attack techniques are the following: 

1.Social Engineering and Phishing attacks: 

These attacks usually consist of emails and their purpose is to trick its victims into downloading it and giving up their account credentials through malicious software . 

2.Outbound emails: 

Hackers exploit e-mails to infiltrate data that may exist in an organization’s outgoing e-mail attachments, such as calendars, databases, images, and design documents.

3.Downloads to insecure devices: 

In this case, the malicious actor would be able to access sensitive company information on its  trusted device and then transfer the data to an unsecured one, such as an external drive, camera, or unprotected smartphone. This fact puts it at great risk of data extraction.

4.Uploads to external devices: 

This is the opposite of the previous attack that we mentioned. This type of data intrusion comes from malicious information insiders. An attacker infiltrates data by downloading information from a secure device and then uploading it to another external device, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. 

5.Human error and non-secure behavior in the cloud:

Although the cloud offers several advantages, it also has some exfiltration risks that requires attention. If an authorized user accesses cloud services in an unsafe way, a malicious actor can make changes to virtual machines and install malicious code. Human error plays an important role in Data Exfiltration, as the appropriate protection may no longer be in place. 

How you can detect and deal with data exfiltration 

The sophisticated techniques used by hackers to carry out Data Exfiltration attacks make it particularly difficult to detect. They can remain on corporate networks undetected for months or even years. Therefore, it is important for businesses to look for and use tools that discover any malicious or unusual traffic in order to detect the presence of bad actors. In this matter, Logstail can also help by using the monitoring features that its platform offers. This way you will receive proper notification if it notices any suspicious activity on your systems.

In addition to identifying the threats of Data Exfiltration, businesses will need to take some protective measures when it comes to preventing it. In this case, a Security Information and Event Management system (SIEM), which Logstail can offer you, will be particularly useful. Through this system you can identify possible weak points, as well as threats that could cause the business even bigger problems. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, Data Exfiltration is a particularly dangerous threat, which has been constantly growing in recent years. This makes it essential for businesses to invest in their security by using the right systems to both prevent and counter this threat. 

Logstail.com with the advanced systems and technologies helps you to have full control regarding the security of your systems to prevent a threat or improve a weak point. Now, it is not necessary to have engineering knowledge to build and use a log management and security analysis tool. You can turn your data into useful information easily and without many processes. You can increase the performance of your infrastructure or be alerted to potential problems and take appropriate action. Sign up for a free demo to realize Logstail’s capabilities.     

Logstail also offers the services needed to effectively mitigate cyber-attacks. Our rapid incident response and advisory, penetration testing and red team operations are specifically designed to help our customers reduce cyber-attack incidents. Contact us at sales@logstail.com to receive a custom quote for your business or get free advice from our team of experienced security experts.

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