VPN Cybersecurity: How to Prevent an Attack

Businesses large and small harness virtual private networks (VPNs) as a way to improve security for remote locations. As more companies embrace a workplace that extends beyond the walls of the main office, more employees are turning to their mobile devices to be productive and get things done. Designed to enable employees to work the way they need to, business VPNs also protect the company from cyberattacks. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are also attacking VPNs, demonstrating the importance of VPN cybersecurity.

Ransomware attacks still command the headlines, but VPN breaches are no longer rare. Criminals are opportunists and looking for ways to infiltrate your network. It's often difficult to determine the exact technical methods that hackers use in a specific attack. Still, there have been multiple examples of stolen credentials allowing for a VPN cybersecurity breach.

Two-factor AUTHENTICATION Your First Defense

Many organizations smartly employ two-factor authentication (2FA) as an additional security measure beyond only requiring a password. In most cases, this is a text message or email with a one-time code. It can also be biometric, such as a fingerprint or facial recognition. The goal is to prevent someone from access the network with only a password. 2FA practices are useful to protect against simple attacks, but it is not bulletproof for VPN cybersecurity.

A targeted, sophisticated attack on an organization likely won't be stopped by 2FA. A stolen cell phone can be all it takes to hack into a 2FA-protected VPN. Organizations are increasingly assuming that 2FA will not be enough, and that attacks are inevitable. The critical next assumption is that these attacks will be immediately isolated and mitigated once they are detected.

Machine Learning Aids VPN Cybersecurity

Machine learning is no longer only for science fiction or large enterprises. Businesses of all sizes are beginning to apply this technology in a wide variety of contexts, and protecting the VPN is one of them. For example, if an employee generally logs in from Seattle is suddenly logging from Europe, the system will notice the difference. Or if your employees are traveling globally, but access the network from a new device, it is going to raise a red flag. Today's technology can even detect differences in the files the user access, which can be incredibly helpful in a sophisticated attack.

If a user typically accesses non-sensitive data, but on two consecutive logins accesses sensitive data and cold data, those log-ins will be flagged as a security concern. Working from a remote location or moving a lot of data will always stand out, but machine learning can detect nuances in user behavior that help identify a potential breach sooner.

The combination of 2FA with machine learning can help organizations protect their VPN against cyber attacks. There are also cloud security applications that can help bring these technologies together. Don't risk your business. Contact us today for a free cybersecurity assessment and determine the best way to protect your business. 

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