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Addressing Physical Security Threats In The Digital Age – Part 2


In our previous blog, Addressing Physical Security Threats in the Digital Age, we explored the importance of physical security awareness in organizations to reduce the risk of unauthorized access, theft, and damage to physical resources. We covered topics such as the most common physical threats and how to protect yourself. Now, we will go one step further and discuss additional frequent physical threats often occurring in organizations. Recognizing these threats and knowing how to protect yourself from them is important. In this blog, we will familiarize ourselves with different types of physical threats and how to prevent them.

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Power issues

An increasing number of devices and systems rely on a constant power supply. A sudden loss of electricity could make the company and individuals vulnerable to cyber attacks, and the consequences could be devastating. There could be a data breach and loss of sensitive information that would endanger the company and individuals. Hardware damage may also occur as a consequence. Apart from power failure, an unstable power supply, i.e., frequent power fluctuations, can cause hardware malfunctions.

Suppose the business of the company relies on a constant connection. In that case, it simply cannot afford to lose electricity and the Internet, as it would result in a loss of productivity. In IT companies, most backup power supplies are provided by UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

Interception of physical signals

Wiretapping refers to the unauthorized interception and monitoring of electronic communication. Access to this data is done without the knowledge or authorization of the person whose communication is being wiretapped. These techniques are used to gather sensitive information for later use. Wiretapping can be done through physical access to communications infrastructure or by digitally exploiting vulnerabilities in networks or devices.

To protect against wiretapping, the following security measures should be followed:

  • Use strong encryption protocols.
  • Use secure communication protocols such as SSL/TLS for web browsing or VPN for remote access.
  • Implement network monitoring using an intrusion detection system to identify any suspicious network activity.
  • Perform regular software updates with the latest security patches.

Physical espionage

Espionage involves a set of methods for collecting data. When discussing physical espionage, we can cite many examples of how to conduct it, including using bugging devices like keystroke loggers.

Bugging devices are pre-installed hidden microphones or cameras used to record confidential information. These devices range from simple audio recorders to sophisticated equipment that can intercept and decode digital communications.

A keystroke logger monitors and records every keystroke on a specific device, such as a computer or smartphone. Besides being a hardware device, it can also be software that cybercriminals often use to steal personal information, login credentials, and sensitive company information.
To protect against devices like keyloggers, using a password manager that automatically fills in the username and password fields can help. Additional precautions include using a security token as part of two-factor authentication.

Dumpster Diving

Dumpster diving is an attack where an attacker attempts to access sensitive documents by searching through what the victim has thrown in the trash bin. Although it may not sound like a serious threat, the potential damage can be significant. Cybercriminals can find sensitive data in trash bins, such as credit card numbers, passwords written on paper, and other confidential information. This data can then be used to launch further cyberattacks, such as social engineering. This attack targets both individuals and businesses.

Reducing the likelihood of sensitive documents ending up in the trash is best to prevent organizations from falling victim to such an attack. Additionally, physical barriers such as fences and locked trash bins serve as the last line of defense.

Impersonation

Impersonation is the practice of impersonating another person to gain confidential information or access to a company or computer system. These scams can be carried out via social networks or phones, using social engineering. However, these frauds can also carry out these scams as physical threats, using false representation to gain physical access to the organization. An example might be a malicious actor pretending to be a food delivery person to gain entry into an organization.

To protect themselves from this type of attack, organizations should educate their employees about physical threats. When facing this threat, the company should encourage employees to notice and report unknown or suspicious individuals.

Conclusion

Physical security is the protection of data from physical actions and events that can cause serious loss or damage to companies or individuals. Although many companies today focus more on cybersecurity, physical security should be at an equally high level. By establishing a balance between online and physical security measures, it will successfully protect the company and keep its reputation, while also providing employees with safety in the workplace.

Strong physical security measures deter insider threats and mitigate risks from various types of threats by controlling access to sensitive areas and educating employees on security protocols. Ultimately, we can say that physical security is the cornerstone of cybersecurity because it is the first line of defense against a wide range of threats.

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Anđela Milenković


Anđela Milenković

I am a Cybersecurity Engineer with professional experience since 2018, dedicated to protecting organisational computer networks and systems against a diverse range of threats. Holding a master’s degree in cybersecurity and numerous certifications, I am dedicated to perpetually enhancing my skill set and expanding my knowledge base. My passion for sharing knowledge with others has led me to embark on a writing journey, where I aim to impart my cybersecurity insights and expertise to a wider audience.

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