The modern plague of cyber attacks shows no signs of stopping, so constant vigilance is the only way forward. Because detection time depends on this vigilance (and a few other factors as well), there isn’t a universally correct answer for the question posed by our title. The time that it takes to detect a cyber attack will vary a lot, and it won’t really matter in which state you happen to reside. However, let’s take a dive into this subject and see what facts can be positively determined.
How Long Does It Take To Detect A Cyber Attack?
First, let’s look at some figures regarding the average time that it takes before a cyber attack is detected. The numbers vary, so we will look at several sources to get a better picture of the overall situation. First, let’s look at this report from Mandiant.
This report found that 53% of all successful cyber attacks are able to infiltrate their target systems without being detected. Obviously, they were detected later, but the damage had already been done by that point. This same report found that 91% of all suspicious cyber incidents did not generate an automatic alert. Right off the bat, we can see that the current range of detection tools is not adequate.
For a second opinion, let’s look at another report from a cybersecurity company called Deep Instinct. This one is definitely a bit more optimistic, although it deals with a different aspect of the problem. This report says that it takes cybersecurity teams at least 24 hours to respond to a successful cyber attack. Of course, this 24-hour period only begins after the problem has been detected. This basically gives an attacker an extra day to do their dirty work.
Just for good measure, let’s look at a third report on the subject of detection/response times. This one comes from Statista and the data is a few years older, as the report dates from 2019. In any case, we can see that the average detection time in 2019 was about 11 days. We can also look at their figures for 2014-2018 and the trend is actually positive. In 2014 the average detection time was about 86 days, and that number has been declining ever since. Thus, we can see that the detection problem is getting better year by year.
Ways Of Improving Your Detection Times
You can obviously see the trend here: These numbers are all over the place. Every study and report gives us a different set of average figures, which are obviously based on the data available to the writers. So, why is this data so inconsistent? Because it all depends on you and your organization. With that in mind, here are a few things that can help to reduce your cyber attack detection time.
1. Regular Penetration Testing
Penetration testing falls into the category of “white hat” hacking. Basically, you hire some experts to try and hack your system. This is simply a testing scenario that is intended to help you find the flaws in your security. Once those flaws are found, they can be remedied. Regular penetration testing will reduce the number of “weak spots” that can potentially be targeted by an attacker. Besides that, it will also test your various detection mechanisms and give you a chance to improve them. If nothing else, it will give you a very good idea of where you currently stand.
2. Network Monitoring
This might be the most powerful detection tool at your disposal. You probably know that the internet consists of data, and there is an enormous amount flying around at any one time. However, this is only possible because that mass of data is separated into small units called “packets.” That way, a given machine will not be overwhelmed as a result of getting too much data at once.
Using network monitoring, you can monitor the flow of packets in real-time, allowing suspicious activity to be detected much more easily. You see, most hackers and cyber criminals are after one thing: Sensitive data. Specifically, they want data that can bring them some money. However, that will usually require them to upload sensitive data to an external source. If your network is competently monitored, you can often intercept that stolen data before it is completely uploaded.
3. Employee Awareness Training
If you are wondering how these criminals can repeatedly bypass security measures, the biggest culprit is social engineering. That’s just a technical way of describing old-fashioned con artistry. Instead of trying to break through the digital defenses, they simply trick a legitimate user into giving them access credentials.
Because this method relies entirely on the human element, awareness training is the best solution available. The more your employees know about the various kinds of social engineering hacks, the less likely they are to fall for such tactics. Employee awareness will also aid your detection capability, as long as your employees understand the importance of immediate reporting.
In general, the time that it takes to detect a cyber attack will depend entirely on diligence and vigilance. If you simply don’t keep a sharp eye out for this kind of trouble, it can catch you unprepared and harm your organization greatly. Even if your detection procedures are sound, it still takes discipline and diligence to implement and follow those good ideas. If you would like to know more, feel free to call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500. As one of the best IT companies in Florida, we can help you to bring your security up to the next level.
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As of 2022, PCH Technologies has opened up a new location in Fort Lauderdale, FL in order to serve the South Florida Market. This expansion into the South Florida market aligns strategically with our plans to continue to grow a national presence as a managed service provider (MSP).
The growing South Florida region includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm, creating an opportunity for PCH to fulfill the expanding needs of the market.