Lateral Movement Hacking: What It Is and How to Defend Against It

Lateral movement hacking seems to be in the news more often in today’s world. People use credit and debit cards for the majority of their transactions instead of cash. This has given hackers a new opportunity to steal personal information through companies who handle these types of transactions and has costed millions of dollars of damage and stolen data. Below you will learn what lateral movement hacking is and how you can protect your business from it.

What is Lateral Movement Hacking?

Lateral movement hacking is when personal credit and debit card data are stolen through a company. Hackers that are able to hack into the system of a company can access the personal data of thousands of users. One example of lateral movement hacking that has occurred recently is when information was stolen from Target.
The way attackers get into the company networks is by accessing desktops and programs using virtualization servers. When the environment is misconfigured, the hackers can access other parts of the network. This type of remote access usually only requires a simple authentication, which is usually just the username and password.

Precautions to Take Against Lateral Movement Hacking

One of the major ways hackers are able to get into these networks is usually through single-factor authentication. This simple authentication process makes it simple for hackers to gain the information needed (username and password) to gain access to the network. One of the first line of defenses you can take against lateral movement hacking is to have a two-factor authentication system.
Another thing you can do is geolocation maps and authentication logs with detailed information. When you can see who is trying to log into their network, you can identify where the source of the hacking is coming from.

What Other Measures Can Companies Take to Prevent This Type of Hacking?

Companies, especially retail companies, are vulnerable to lateral movement hacking. There are extra security measures you should take in order to prevent this type of hacking from occurring. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, also known as PCI DSS, segregates the cardholder data from the rest of the network. PCI systems that are being accessed should also go through a secured server to manage devices in a high-security zone. This is also further protected with a two-factor authentication.

The domains of companies should also limit the network traffic that is outbound using only an approved list of only the much-needed connections. One example is only providing outbound access to third-party vendors.

Lateral movement hacking is a serious security risk for companies. When these hackers gain access to personal information, they can cause thousands if not millions of dollars of damage. Personal credit and debit card data can also be stolen through a company network. Other data, like usernames and passwords, can also be taken and used to hack into user accounts. Money has been stolen during these type of cyber-attacks and can make it hard for companies to recover from them. Taking these extra network security precautions can help to protect not only companies, but their user information too.


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