If you want to understand what is eradication in cybersecurity, you must know that it is related to the notion of cybersecurity incidents and their possible consequences, as well to the notion of incident response plan. 

What is Eradication is Cybersecurity – The Answer in Short

Eradication is a crucial part of any incident response plan. During this phase, the root cause of a cybersecurity attack and all the malware that got into a system are eliminated. More details, below.

What Is Eradication in Cybersecurity – Cybersecurity Incidents

Cybersecurity incidents can be understood in two main ways

Often cybersecurity incidents are associated with malicious attacks or Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), but there appears to be no clear agreement. […] The original government definition of cybersecurity incidents as being state-sponsored attacks on critical national infrastructure or defence capabilities is still valid. However, industry – fuelled by the media – has adopted the term wholesale and the term cybersecurity incident is often used to describe traditional information (or IT) security incidents. […]. The two most common (and somewhat polarised) sets of understanding – as shown in Figure 2 below – are either that cybersecurity incidents are no different from traditional information (or IT) security incidents – or that they are solely cybersecurity attacks. 

what is eradication in cybersecurity - security incidents

Source 

Disregarding which definition we choose, both basic and advanced attacks will make use of the similar attack vectors – malware, social engineering, hacking. They only differ in scale, sophistication and resourcing. 

What Is Eradication in Cybersecurity – Types, Sources and Consequences of Attacks 

The most common types of cybersecurity attacks are: 

  • malware – software that targets devices or networks and corrupts data or takes over systems. 
  • phishing – a malicious technique designed to gather sensitive information, usually carried out by email. 
  • ransomware – an attack during which data is encrypted and a ransom is demanded for allowing the victims access to their files again. 
  • man-in-the-middle – an attack in which the threat actor poses himself between the sender and the recipient of electronic messages and intercepts them.
  • denial of service or distributed denial of serviceDDoS is an attack in which cybercriminals “prevent legitimate users from accessing a website by targeting its network resources and flooding the website with a huge number of information requests.” 
  • IoT devises attacks – the Internet of Things refers to the network of physical objects that have sensors, software or other technologies that allow them to connect and exchange data over the Internet. 

Where do cybersecurity attacks usually come from? Well…from a variety of people and contexts: 

  • criminal organizations
  • nation-states
  • terrorists
  • organized crime groups
  • business competitors
  • industrial spies
  • insiders (or ex-employees), clients, providers
  • hackers that develop attack vectors with their own software tools

Depending on how elaborate and severe a cyberattack is, your business can face the following consequences

  • financial loss, due to theft of money, of corporate information, trading disruption, loss of contracts/clients. We must not forget to mention the possible repairing that the affected systems, networks and devices might require.
  • reputational damage. Losing your clients’, partners’ and investors’  trust can lead to a serious reduction in profits, which translates again in financial loss.  
  • legal actions. It is highly important to protect the data of your employees, clients and providers, especially in these times of GDPR and other similar regulations. If this data has been somehow compromised, you can expect fines and regulatory sanctions, maybe even civil lawsuits. 

What Is Eradication in Cybersecurity – Incident Response Plans

All this leads us back to the question of what is eradication in cybersecurity. The simple answer would be: eradication is a part of a proper incident response plan. Let me offer some more details. An incident response plan is a “documented, written plan with 6 distinct phases that help IT professionals and staff recognize and deal with a cybersecurity incident like a data breach or cyber attack.”  The six phases of an incident response plan include preparation, identification, containment, eradication, recovery, lessons learned. 

Preparation 

During the first phase of the incident response plan, you should make sure all your employees know exactly what their roles and responsibilities are in case a  data breach occurs. After this training part, you should conduct mock data breaches to check if everyone performs as they were instructed to. 

Identification 

The identification phase should determine if you have suffered a data breach or not by checking any suspicious activity in your network. If something is discovered, it should be reported as detailed as possible, by responding to the following questions

  • When did the event happen?
  • How was it discovered?
  • Who discovered it?
  • Have any other areas been impacted?
  • What is the scope of the compromise?
  • Does it affect operations?
  • Has the source (point of entry) of the event been discovered?

Containment

After the identification of a threat, the team responsible for the incident response plan should try to contain it in order to prevent further damage. The infected machines should be quickly isolated and any critical data on them should have backups

Eradication 

What is eradication in cybersecurity? Eradication represents the implementation of a more permanent fix, after the containment phase. It is essential because the goal of the response team should be to eliminate the access points the malicious actors used to attack your network.  The eradication phase includes patching and system and app application reconfiguration. All the actions unfolded during this phase should be thoroughly documented.  

Recovery 

The recovery phase of an incident response plan includes restoration efforts and the recovery of data. After verifying if the infected systems are properly restored, the response team should continue to monitor them for malicious activity. 

Lessons learned

In the final phase of the incident response plan, the response team should provide a detailed report of the incident in order to gather insights on how each of the previous phases could be improved The lessons learned from mock data breaches and real events should only help strengthen your cybersecurity defence strategy against future attacks. 

What Is Eradication in Cybersecurity – Further Recommendations

Apart from having a proper incident response plan in place in case you become a victim of a cyber attack and a data breach occurs, we also always recommend paying attention to prevention. You can do this by adopting a defense in depth strategy. As my colleague Alina Petcu mentioned in one of her articles, “Defense in depth (DiD) is a cybersecurity concept in which a series of security protocols and controls are layered throughout an IT network to preserve its integrity and privacy. The purpose of defense in depth cybersecurity is to protect against a wide variety of threats while integrating redundancy in the case of one system failing or becoming vulnerable to exploits.”   Heimdal™ Security can help you implement a great defense in depth strategy, due to the nature of our products suite: 

A nice advantage for you is the fact that we offer all these solutions in a single, unified agent,  which allows you to have all the information about your company’s cybersecurity in one place, just one click away. 

What Is Eradication in Cybersecurity – Wrapping Up 

Eradication represents probably the most important part of an incident response plan, because it eliminates the root cause of an attack and should ensure the removal of all malware from the attacker – which is critical for an efficient recovery.  However, if you’re interested in preventing cyberattacks and not responding to them, please remember that Heimdal™ Security always has your back and also that our team is here to create a cybersecurity culture to the benefit of anyone who wants to learn more about it.  Drop a line below if you have any comments, questions or suggestions – we are all ears and can’t wait to hear your opinion!

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