Cyber attacks are always on the rise and they are growing not only in frequency but also in criticality.

In fact, cyber criminals continuously evolve their attack techniques, finding all the possible weaknesses of their victims or exploiting hot topics (as happened for the Covid-19 themed attacks at the beginning of the pandemic).

So what do Cyber Security and Digital Reputation have in common?

First of all, hiding a cyber attack becomes more difficult.

If it is not the company that admits it openly, in some cases, particularly in the case of ransomware, it is the criminal himself who communicates it on dedicated websites or even to journalists, in order to increase media pressure and multiply the chances of obtaining the payment of the ransom.

On one hand, we are now all more exposed to cyber attacks, and therefore the reputational damage due to the admission of having been victims of them is less than in the past.

But on the other hand, managing the emergency badly can have important repercussions.

Denying the attack and then colliding with the evidence, such as a data leak from the attacker, can be much worse.

Therefore, it is better to learn how to properly manage communications in the event of cyber attacks, rather than denying or taking time.

How then to prevent an attack?

As for prevention, however, things get complicated.

We are in fact exposed to different types of cyber attacks.

While most of the attacks (about 40%) are now perpetrated through Malware, and in particular Ransomware, a good part (about 25%) is carried out using techniques that remain unknown.

Furthermore, Vulnerabilities (known but also unknown, as in the case of 0day, or problems not yet in the public domain for which there is no patch to be applied to the systems) and techniques such as Phishing and Social Engineering continue to have some success.

But how to defend yourself?

In the case of generic Malware, antimalware solutions can offer an effective defense.

But, in the case of ransomware, the phenomenon of double extortion, i.e. the second ransom asked by criminals in order not to disclose stolen data before encrypting corporate systems, complicates things.

The choice for the victim is between paying a criminal or facing the media pillory for failing to adequately protect sensitive data entrusted to them.

To defend against known Vulnerabilities, the only solution is to periodically check the systems in search of problems or mis-configurations that must be found and resolved promptly.

The attack surface of a company can be very large and it would be good to carry out checks of this kind at least once a year, or even better, every 6 months.

Against Phishing and Social Engineering, on the other hand, we can find an effectively defense only through awareness courses for employees and collaborators.

In fact, by constantly refining their attack methods, criminals sometimes make it difficult to recognize threats.

Developing a cautious attitude, being aware of these types of risks and knowing the latest threat examples is the only effective way to decrease the success rate of these attacks.

Finally, it is important to understand that the threats are different, there is no single type of cyber attack.

Who are the victims?

In the same way, the victims are not all the same, but they differ by product sector, size, geographical distribution, attack surface.

For this reason, there cannot be a single universally valid solution, but the organizational and technological solutions must be targeted and customized in order to multiply their effectiveness.


Thanks to the cyber attack classification activity that Hackmanac has been carrying out for 10 years, we can help companies understand which threats they are most exposed to and how to optimize security budgets to manage them more effectively and cost-effectively.

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