Could the DNC Hack Have Been Prevented? | DFLabs

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Could the DNC Hack Have Been Prevented?

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DNC Hack

This past summer, many cyber security experts expressed their concerns that certain Russian groups were involved in the hacking attack on the U.S. Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computer network, leaking 20,000 emails from various Democratic Party officials. The DNC hack made the headlines around the globe, and for good reason.

No matter who the perpetrator was, one thing is clear: the hack of the DNC servers inflicted serious harm to both the Democratic Party as an institution, as well as many of its members, mainly related to the public image of the party and of various individuals.

However, it could have had further, more wide-ranging implications, including an impact on the upcoming U.S. presidential election, which is why it is very important to understand what could have been done to prevent it, and what kind of response and management process for the incident should have been chosen.

Was the Hack Avoidable?

Even though it’s difficult to confidently say whether the DNC hack could have been avoided, without knowing the confidential specifics of the incident, there are a lot of things that could have been done that would have probably protected the DNC’s computer server much better.

The consensus among leading analysts familiar with this incidents is that the DNC hack was most likely conducted through spear phishing, which is one of the most common methods for initiating a cyber attack. With that in mind, one of the easiest ways to avoid falling victim to such a fraud is to train people within your organization on how to recognize and react to such security threats. People should be familiarized with the spear phishing technique and how it works, making them more aware of the difference between legitimate emails and links and malicious ones, with the latter being the basis of all phishing scams.

What’s the Appropriate Response to These Types of Incidents?

Sometimes, no matter how well every person within an organization is trained and educated on cyber security threats, attacks on a company or an institution server or network occurs, and that is when you need to be able to react as fast and as efficiently as possible to prevent the loss of confidential information, and avoid a major blow to your organization’s reputation, and consequently, your bottom line.

To that end, having a cyber incident response plan in place is key to bringing cyber incidents under control and minimizing or completely avoiding the potential consequences of a breach.

According to statistics from a recent AT&T report, 62% of organizations admitted to being breached in 2015, but only 34% of organizations polled had an incident response plan. These statistics inevitably point to the need for increasing awareness of the fact that every organization is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks, and the necessity of devising a plan and having the right tools that would help them mitigate the impact of any breach and go about their business as soon as possible.

Concrete Steps to Prevent Future Attacks

● Educate and train employees about phishing emails, how to detect them, and steps necessary to take if they find one;

● Insist on using strong and unique passwords for the email system throughout the company;

● Avoid public webmail services for internal communications, however, if you must use them, insist on the use of multifactor authentication

● Train and educate the team for suspicious actions that might interfere or corrupt your company's security activities, such as phony requests to transfer money.

Conclusion

Not a single institution, organization, nor company can be completely safe from all cyber attacks at all times, nor can these attacks be completely eradicated with a single tool or technology. These attacks happened and will be happening in the future. It is however possible, and also highly recommended to take all necessary precautions so as to minimize the possibility for such occurrences.

With all things mentioned above, it is clear that the battle with hackers will continue to be a tough one, and it's not going to end any time soon. As cyber attacks are gaining sophistication and are getting harder to prevent and detect, proper and efficient training and awareness of the problem can go a long way in preventing the success threat actors anticipate in this ongoing struggle.

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