Daria Shevtsova

Cybercriminals are launching more complex threats to breach network defenses and commit financial crimes. From ransomware attacks that cripple systems to spyware attacks that steal confidential data to other types of cybercrimes, online thieves are getting better at what they do.

Cybersecurity professionals have no choice but to fight back. They’re trying harder to study the online criminal’s mind to create more challenging network security. With more employees falling to social engineering tricks like phishing attacks, IT professionals are also creating more robust cybersecurity tools to protect people from themselves.

1. Honeypot Trap

A honeypot trap can be an excellent way to study threat actors. It’s essentially a decoy computer system designed to invite cybersecurity attacks. The data on this sacrificial computer is usually nonexistent if an IT professional only wants to understand where attacks originate from.

However, some honeypots are loaded with seemingly valid but fake data to give malicious hackers something to do. While malicious hackers greedily try to harvest the data, the network administrator may have more time to understand how they operate.

Sometimes, honeypots only exist to distract hackers from legitimate targets. Such bait usually has weak network defenses. However, honeypots can backfire if a team of malicious hackers uses the right plan of attack. For example, while one hacker engages with the honeypot, another may hit authentic targets. A hacker may also use a poorly configured honeypot to attack other systems in the network.

2. White Hat Hackers

White hat hacker is an outdated term used to describe a good hacker. It comes from old spaghetti Westerns where the good guys wore white hats while the bad guys wore black hats. Nowadays, they’re known as ethical hackers. Companies hire them to improve their network defenses. An ethical hacker can step into the mindset of a malicious hacker and develop a system that stops them or slows them down.

In a confrontation between an ethical hacker and a malicious hacker, the ethical hacker often comes out on top because it’s usually easier to play offense than defense in network security. While an unethical hacker must find a way through system defenses without getting caught, an ethical hacker only has to make the task very challenging.

Ethical hackers are pretty valuable to organizations and have lucrative careers. Typically, ethical hackers make much more than their counterparts each year. Of course, there are also grey hat hackers. These hackers try to breach an organization’s defenses without permission, either to help them or to earn a financial reward later.

3. Endpoint Security

With more employees working from home and using their own devices, cybersecurity professionals offer advanced endpoint protection software that secures every endpoint device in an organization.

Good endpoint protection tools feature machine learning, behavioral analysis, known attack detection, exploit mitigation, automation, and single-agent architecture to fight back against a more dangerous crop of bad actors.

Of course, no security system is foolproof. That’s why the best endpoint protection and response system includes remediation capabilities. After removing malware, the system rolls back changes from threats like ransomware to help an organization quickly return to operational capacity.

These are three ways cybersecurity experts are fighting back against people with malicious intent. They’re studying hackers more intimately, hiring the best people, and developing more robust defense mechanisms.