The Wolf vs. the Fixer: 4 data breach response wins

November 2, 20185 minute read

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“It’s time for you to learn.”

The Wolf has arrived at your network, armed with digital Molotov cocktails. He’s going to turn your unprotected endpoint devices into bricks.

No, we’re not talking about a four-legged carnivore. “The Wolf” is the moniker of the villain and star of HP Studio’s web series of the same name, played by Christian Slater. Fictional or not, he’s got a lot in common with the real attackers your company faces on a daily basis, as each installment of the series clearly displays.

In the original Wolf film, we see just how easily networks can get hacked through insecure endpoints. We then met a tough-talking good guy named the Fixer (played by Jonathan Banks) who’s here to teach you about data breach response. In the third installment, “The Wolf: True Alpha,” the stakes and tensions between good and evil are higher than ever. Trust us when we say these films are worth a watch.

Just as there are real-world Wolves out there in the form of savvy hackers targeting your business, there are also real-world Fixers: you. And, unfortunately for the Wolf at your office door, you’re already wising up to data breach response and prevention. Here are some Wolf vs. Fixer scenarios that may not have made the films, but if you’re not prepared, they may make it to your office.

4 ways data breach response can stop the Wolves

Scenario 1: The caffeine-addicted sales star

The Wolf knows that way too many office printers are left unprotected, and that’s what he’s decided to target. He’s latched onto a recent epidemic of hackers worming their way into wide-open printers and sending PDF-disguised attachments that contain ransomware or malware.

Hacking the second-floor printer was easy, and before long, he’d sent an email to Siva in sales. Siva was salivating over the opportunity to buy more soy lattes with the “coffee gift card” attachment sent from the printer. The Wolf was salivating over how much bitcoin he’d get with that ransomware.

The Fixer knows the best solution to such attacks is a smarter, more secure printer that can’t be used as a weapon against your employees. Make sure your endpoints aren’t left wide open, and Wolves won’t send ransomware to your sales staff.

Scenario 2: The click-happy communications intern

The new intern Iris seemed like an easy way to gain access to the company’s most valuable data. Creating a spoofed email address that looked like it was from her department director, the Wolf knew she’d leap at the opportunity to make a great impression.

“Hey Iris, I’m running late for my meeting with the board. Can you do me a huge favor and print 10 copies of the document attached to the fourth-floor printer? I can grab it from the tray. Really appreciate it.”

The Fixer, however, knows that the attachment is really a connect-back backdoor attempt to load malware onto Iris’ computer. While training employees to detect spoofed emails matters, you also need technical safeguards. Ninety-three percent of data breaches involve phishing or false narrative, per the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.

Cybersecurity hygiene involves looking for and blocking external IP addresses on your network. Your team should filter emails with automated tools for network security and real-time visibility.

Scenario 3: The “do-it-later” IT manager

People like IT Manager Damian kept the Wolf in business. It wasn’t that Damian wasn’t smart. He just had an unofficial motto of “I’ll do it later.”

Damian wanted to catch up with patching. He was hoping he could do some vulnerability assessments next week, and maybe he’d have been able to put passwords on the VoIP phones if he didn’t have so many meetings.

The Wolf’s a big fan of Damian’s unofficial motto. A few clicks and search queries on a search engine for unprotected endpoints revealed there were several hundred open devices on Damian’s network.

The Fixer knows Damian is counting the minutes until he’s dealing with a data breach response situation unless he gets a better grip on endpoint security. It’s time to call in some security advisors and assess these risks. Damian needs a cyber attack prevention plan that involves visibility, expert guidance, and smarter endpoints.

Scenario 4: The time-crunched accountant

The Wolf didn’t like working any harder than he had to, and he loved it when his prey had wide-open Facebook accounts that detailed their schedules. It took him just five minutes to craft the social engineering attack of the century, complete with a spoofed email account under his target company’s CFO’s name. Who knew harpooning a whaling target was so easy?

The Wolf hit send exactly 10 minutes before accountant Basia needed to leave for her daughter’s soccer game:

“Basia, sorry to bother you. Can you upload full financial data for our top 10 percent client base to my personal cloud? Here’s the link.”

Research shows that whaling attacks tripled in 2017. When it comes to these targeted attempts to steal high-value data or big bucks, your data breach response options are limited. The Fixer advises training employees like Basia to say no to similarly sketchy requests, or at least to call and verify them—especially when high-value data or dollars are on the line.

Don’t get caught off guard by the Wolf

Nothing vexes the Wolf more than IT pros and employees who expect his visit. Prepare your organization to fight back with knowledge, cybersecurity hygiene, smarter endpoint protection, and a strong cyber attack prevention plan.

The Fixer knows the IT security game is tougher than ever. But he has some tips that will help you win it. Check out some additional Tektonika articles to learn how to thwart hackers, build a print infrastructure that keeps the wolves at bay, and become a Fixer for your own organization.

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