Common Attack Vectors

And Keys to Protecting Your Business

Identify. Prioritize. Protect.

Your company has its own unique set of cyber risks. Your lines of business, your technical infrastructure, threats, employees, third-party vendors, and other variables all factor into your cyber risk profile.
Each year, risks continue to grow more complex and new threats raise their ugly heads. Though you can’t control the evolving cyber landscape, you can control your cybersecurity strategy. 
By adopting a risk-based, proactive approach to cybersecurity aligned with your specific business objectives, compliance regulations, and desired business outcomes, you can prevent and protect your organization against cyber threats. Partnering with Pondurance will minimize your risk of falling victim to costly and damaging cyberattacks and build your cyber maturity and resiliency.


Malware, short for malicious software, is a term that encompasses a wide range of software programs designed with the intent to cause harm to computer systems, networks, and users. Cybercriminals create malware to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data, disrupt computer operations or networks, or simply spread chaos in the digital world. With the rise in our reliance on technology and the internet, it has become increasingly important for individuals and organizations alike to understand what malware is, how it works, and how they can prevent cyberattacks.
Protecting against malware requires an ongoing effort, and in many cases, organizations will implement foundational controls and partner with a cybersecurity adviser like Pondurance to ensure they have cybersecurity programs with comprehensive methods focused on their specific needs.  Download our eBook to get started:

  • Install reputable antivirus software and ensure it remains up to date
  • Regularly update your operating system and all installed applications
  • Enable built-in firewalls on your devices
  • Be cautious of email attachments and links from unknown sources
  • Utilize strong passwords and enable multifactor authentication (MFA) where possible
  • Create regular backups of your important files and store them securely offsite
  • Employee training – Educate staff members about potential threats such as phishing emails and social engineering tactics employed by cybercriminals
  • Network segmentation – Divide your organization’s network into separate zones to minimize the spread of malware should an attack occur
  • Vulnerability management – Regularly assess, identify, and remediate vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure before they can be exploited by attackers
  • Incident response planning – Develop a well-defined incident response plan outlining roles, responsibilities, and procedures to follow when faced with a security breach


Ransomware is a malicious type of software designed to encrypt an individual’s or organization’s data, rendering it inaccessible until a ransom demand is met. Ransomware attacks are becoming more prevalent against companies of all industries. Cybercriminals are changing the techniques they use to execute attacks. Initially, ransomware had a single function where the attacker entered a network and encrypted the data. It then evolved to double extortion where the attacker now steals data and threatens to leak it and encrypts the data and holds it for ransom.  
Cybersecurity organizations like Pondurance take a risk-based approach to your cybersecurity needs and focus efforts aligned with your business objectives and desired outcomes. Pondurance assists organizations with implementing foundational controls and offers specialized services aimed at helping clients protect against potential threats like ransomware attacks. Download our eBook, or check out our blog library on ransomware to learn more. 

  • Keep all computers and devices patched
  • Enable MFA
  • Limit user access
  • Allow only authorized applications
  • Use network segmentation
  • Limit remote access as much as possible
  • Establish 360-degree visibility
  • Monitor and analyze logs
  • Provide consistent security awareness training
  • Encrypt endpoints


Phishing is a deceptive practice that cybercriminals employ to obtain sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, and personal data from unsuspecting individuals. Cybersecurity experts have identified this nefarious activity as one of the most prevalent threats in today’s digital landscape. With a primary focus on email communications, phishing attacks often involve fraudsters posing as legitimate entities to deceive their targets into revealing valuable information or executing actions that could compromise their security. Organizations must remain vigilant in educating their staff about the various phishing examples and how to protect against such threats.

Additional Phishing Resources

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a highly targeted digital social engineering attack that aims to deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information or granting unauthorized access to their accounts. This form of cyberattack has gained notoriety in recent years due to its increasing prevalence and sophistication. Unlike traditional phishing techniques, which cast a wide net in hopes of ensnaring unsuspecting users, spear phishing involves meticulously crafted messages designed to appeal specifically to the intended victim. By impersonating familiar contacts or trusted organizations, these malicious communications can be exceedingly difficult to recognize and resist. 
Protecting against spear phishing requires a multifaceted approach that combines employee education and training, robust email security measures, and swift incident response capabilities. By partnering with cybersecurity experts like those at Pondurance who offer managed detection and response and incident response services, organizations can significantly enhance their security postures and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to these highly targeted and deceptive attacks.

Additional Spear Phishing Resources

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

BEC is a sophisticated form of phishing attack that targets organizations and their employees. By exploiting human vulnerabilities, BEC perpetrators deceive victims into transferring funds or disclosing sensitive information to unauthorized recipients. A typical BEC attack often begins with a phishing email that appears to come from a trusted source such as a high-ranking executive within the organization. 
The key to organizations protecting themselves and their employers from falling victim to a BEC scam is educating employees on how to scrutinize incoming emails for signs of fraudulence and how to validate requests for sensitive information. Organizations can instruct employees to contact the purported sender through an independent channel such as a phone call or text message, establish robust internal controls within the organization, implement policies requiring multiple approvals for large financial transactions, and conduct periodic audits and reconciliations to detect unauthorized payments.

Additional BEC Resources

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How to Protect Against Ransomware

Let’s start by answering the question, what is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a malicious type of software designed to encrypt an individual or organization’s data, rendering it inaccessible until a ransom demand is met. Ransomware attacks are becoming more prevalent against companies of all industries. A large-scale survey shows that more than one-third of companies worldwide have been hit by one or more ransomware attacks or breaches in the past year. Ransomware is an evolving and increasingly prominent threat in the digital landscape. Cybercriminals are changing the techniques they use to execute attacks. Initially, ransomware had a single function where the attacker would enter a network and encrypt the data. It then evolved to double extortion where the attacker would steal data and threaten to leak it and the attacker would encrypt the data and hold it for ransom. Let’s explore the different types of ransomware, how they work, and methods for prevention are crucial to securing sensitive information.

There are numerous types of ransomware that can infect computers and other devices. If you are looking for ransomware attack examples, there are many to research like CryptoLocker, WannaCry, Petya, and Locky. These attacks may differ in their complexity and payloads but share a common denominator in ransomware attacks: utilizing encryption algorithms to lock files or systems.

Ransomware typically enters a computer through phishing emails containing malicious attachments or links. It can also infect systems by exploiting vulnerabilities present in outdated software applications or operating systems. Once installed on a device, ransomware begins scanning and encrypting files while displaying a message demanding payment from the victim for the decryption key.

Many times, people ask the simple question…how do I prevent ransomware? Prevention is crucial when dealing with ransomware threats. A comprehensive ransomware prevention checklist should outline various security measures such as keeping software up-to-date with patches, employing strong email filters to block phishing attempts, backing up data regularly to ensure quick recovery if compromised, and educating users on safe browsing practices. While you work to combat ransomware with technology and human defenders, keep these key tips on how to prevent ransomware that Pondurance recommends in mind.
Keep all computers and devices patched.
Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA).
Limit user access.
Allow only authorized applications.
Use network segmentation.
Limit remote access as much as possible.
Establish 360-degree visibility.
Monitor and analyze logs.
Provide consistent security awareness training.
Encrypt endpoints.

Cybersecurity organizations like Pondurance offer specialized services aimed at helping clients protect against potential threats like ransomware attacks. By following guidelines outlined in resources like Ransomware Prevention Checklist PDFs provided by experts in cybersecurity field organizations can take steps towards safeguarding their data from these attacks.

In conclusion, understanding what is ransomware attack and taking preventive measures play a significant role in defending against them effectively. Awareness about what is ransomware in computer systems helps individuals recognize potential risks associated with this malicious software variant. To mitigate the impact of such attacks on businesses and individuals alike, it’s essential to invest time into understanding how does ransomware work? And proactively implement strategies laid out within your organization’s ransomware prevention checklist. Partnering with cybersecurity experts like Pondurance can further enhance your defenses against the ever-evolving landscape of ransomware threats, ensuring peace of mind and a secure digital environment.

What is Ransomware in Cybersecurity

Ransomware in cyber security refers to a type of malicious software that encrypts the victim’s data and holds it hostage until a ransom is paid. This form of cyber attack has become increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, posing significant challenges to businesses and organizations worldwide. The adverse effects of ransomware on cybersecurity are far-reaching, often causing disruption of operations, loss of sensitive information, financial losses, and damage to an organization’s reputation.
Companies continue to fall victim to ransomware attacks for many reasons. Having the right products, the proper configurations and hardening in place for the environment and the cybersecurity talent needed to monitor 24/7 is critical when fighting against cybercriminal groups.

With so many different threats on the cybersecurity landscape, a company must have confidence in its in-house ability to respond to an attack. To help increase confidence, the company should consult with an outside team for help, whether that means hiring an incident response team to keep on retain or securing a team that can parachute in during an emergency situation. There are a number of scenarios when a company should strongly consider hiring outside help.

Steps to take if you have been hit with a ransomware attack
The first step to take after a ransomware attack is to contain the threat and assess the extent of the damage. Implementing an incident response plan based on guidelines such as the NIST Ransomware Playbook or CISA Stop Ransomware Guide can help organizations expedite their recovery process. These playbooks provide comprehensive guidance on ransomware incident response steps, including identifying affected systems, preserving evidence for forensic analysis, and engaging law enforcement when appropriate.

Combating ransomware effectively requires a combination of technology and human defenders working in tandem. Cyberattacks are launched by human attackers. Responding to these threats requires human expertise. While technology is important, it can pose new challenges such as difficulty deploying, configuring, and maintaining. Trained analysts have an advantage when detecting and responding to ransomware. They spot malicious code and warning signs, understand the context of alerts, and more. As the cybersecurity threat landscape continues to expand, it is important to provide the people, process, and technology to maximize your cybersecurity budget and reduce your risk of experiencing a cyberattack. Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services such as those offered by Pondurance specialize in detecting, analyzing, and responding to security threats like ransomware. MDR services leverage advanced technologies alongside skilled security analysts to protect against evolving cyber threats.

Mitigating ransomware attacks involves implementing preventive measures like backing up critical data regularly, updating software promptly, training employees about phishing attacks, and using multi-factor authentication for accessing sensitive systems. Organizations should also develop a robust ransomware incident response plan that outlines how they will address potential threats proactively.

In cases where an organization falls victim to a ransomware attack despite having implemented preventive measures, quick action is crucial. Engaging experienced cybersecurity firms like Pondurance can significantly enhance their ability to identify, contain, eradicate and recover from the attack. Being prepared for emergencies enables these firms to step in when needed most and help minimize the impact on businesses.

In conclusion, understanding what is ransomware in cyber security is vital for organizations looking to protect their digital assets and mitigate the risks posed by cyber threats. By adhering to best practices, following guidelines such as the NIST Ransomware Playbook and CISA Ransomware Guide, and engaging expert MDR services like Pondurance, organizations can develop a robust defense against cyberattacks. It is essential to recognize that technology alone cannot deter human bad actors; skilled defenders are needed to combat these threats effectively.