'Low-Hanging Fruit' In Cyber Security - What Is It?

Cyber security is often seen as a game of whack-a-mole as you try to keep up with new threats and vulnerabilities. To some extent, it’s true: the threat landscape continues to change at an alarming rate – just look at the rise in phishing attacks in the first quarter of this year alone (1,025,968 – an all-time high). As companies look for ways to boost their cyber security posture, there is a lot of focus on high-value assets like IT systems and data centres. But what about all of the low-hanging fruit? What are they? And why are they so important?

What Is Low-Hanging Fruit?

First, let’s explain what we mean by ‘low-hanging fruit’. In simple terms, low-hanging fruit refers to anything that can be easily accessed or exploited by cyber criminals. The term comes from the analogy of picking up fruit that is easily accessible. In the context of cyber security, it refers to the easy targets within an organisation’s network. These are often something that can be fixed quickly and easily. For example, if your organisation has an unpatched vulnerability in its internet facing web server, it would be considered low-hanging fruit because it is easy to find and exploit… or fix.

How Low-Hanging Fruit Can Affect an Organisation

Low-hanging fruit is a serious problem for many organisations because if cyber criminals are able to make minor compromises, they can often use this as a steppingstone to carry out further attacks on the other systems within that network.

High-value assets like sensitive information, financial and health records, intellectual property, employee, supplier and customer data can and should be looked after well. However, when they are not, an attacker can move laterally across the network to access this information as ‘low-hanging fruit’. Due to the critical nature of high-value assets, they are more likely to become targets for hackers looking for ransom money or intellectual property theft. The impact of a breach can be devastating for companies that rely on these types of data for their business models.

If you want to gain access to a network, for example, it’s much easier if you can target an executive with access privileges than it is if you have to go through several layers of security. The same is true for data theft or fraud. Low-hanging fruit here could be reflected in the executive’s ability to detect phishing scams, password strength and device security (both in a digital sense through its environment and its physical location).

Often, low-hanging fruit is problematic because organisations don’t know enough about these risks or there isn’t enough budget available for upgrading defences against them (or both). It is important to have a plan in place for how you deal with low-hanging fruit when it comes up.

Addressing Low-Hanging Fruit Within an Organisation:

Of course! Apples!

When it comes to addressing your low-hanging fruit to stop it from being picked, there are two sides of the coin that must be addressed. Your people and your technology.

1) People

Understandably, humans are the weakest link in cyber security. No one is perfect and human error is expected. However, with 9 in 10 cyber attacks being fault of the people within an organisation, the human element of cyber security can come at a hefty price. Although human risk cannot be eliminated, it is important to find ways to reduce it wherever possible.

A great place to start is to implement behavioural-based cyber security training, online or through in-person training sessions (contact us to arrange this). By educating staff on best practices, the specific risks facing them and the indicators of an attack, the chance of falling victim to a social engineering attack like phishing can be greatly reduced.

When installing a cyber-security vigilant culture within your organisation it is important to remember that change doesn’t have to consume a lot of time or effort. Even minimal changes like adopting strong password security practices (with MFA) across critical systems can go a long way to protecting an organisation.

2) Technology

Technology is frequently exploited by cyber criminals in the form of low-hanging fruit. Why? Because it is so easy to get it wrong. It is no shock that people rely on technology for everything in their daily lives – especially when it comes to setting-up and running a business. However, in business (particularly in the start-up phase), securing the infrastructure that your everyday technology sits on is often not viewed as a priority.

Poorly configured networks with outdated and unpatched software/devices are the leading cause for a network compromise. Weak passwords with insecure security configurations are vulnerabilities ready to be exploited. Common examples of network vulnerabilities (which amplify the severity of a vulnerable low hanging fruit) include vulnerable/OoD mobile/IoT devices, misconfigured firewalls, single-factor authentication, unsecure email services (no email security) and the risk of an insider threat actor (as knowledge of poor infrastructure can be leaked to or exploited by a malicious actor)

Conclusion: Garden Your Security Environment

Whether you are an organisation with 10 staff, or 10,000, It is important to water your fruit trees to avoid any vulnerabilities from falling into a criminals reach. By this, we mean adhering to the cyber security policies and standards that your company sets and ensuring that all employees follow best practices (e.g., through cyber security training). This will bolster the security posture of the organisation and harden internal infrastructure, thus leading to no easy attack vectors for the malicious actor.

Depending on the size and needs of your business, a bespoke approach can be taken to minimise your risk and prevent any fruit from being picked (exploited) by a criminal.

Government-backed certifications like Cyber Essentials and IASME Information Assurance work by assuring security against typical low-hanging fruit like ‘firewalls’ and ‘end encryption’. If you need some help tackling your low-hanging fruit by ‘gardening’ your cyber security ‘orchard’, or if you aren’t sure where to start, speak to one of our experts directly:

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Karamo

Karamo Njie

Infrastructure and Network Engineer

Karamo Njie is Riela Tech’s Infrastructure and Network Engineer, working closely alongside Tim and Marc on the tech team as he pursues his passion for technology and problem-solving. Karamo is committed to maintaining cutting-edge technologies with an up-to-date industry knowledge.

Working as an Infrastructure Support Engineer, Karamo is actively involved in engaging and helping clients on a daily basis, troubleshooting networking (windows, CISCO, Linux). Using bespoke tools to circumvent network and cyber security threats.

Email: karamo@riela-tech.com

Alexandria halsall

Marketing Executive

As a Marketing Executive, Alex is responsible for all marketing duties spanning the Riela Group.

Alex joined the Riela Group in August 2020, shortly after graduating with a Psychology degree from Nottingham Trent University.

With past work experience in content marketing, event management and web design, Alex is able to apply her creative and analytical skills into the Riela strategy.

Email: alex@riela-group.com

Telephone: +44 1624 640555

Peter Astell Burt

Director

Peter is an experienced technology consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the IT and cyber security industry.  Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), IT Strategy, Start-ups, Regulations, and Online Gaming. Strong consulting professional with a DPhil focused in Natural Sciences from ChristChurch, Oxford.

ROBERT TOBIN

Riela Group Managing Director

Robert Tobin is the Managing Director of the Riela Group of Companies and is responsible in overseeing our business operations, our people and driving excellence in all we do.

Rob brings over 25 years’ of successful leadership and entrepreneurial experience across a range of industries including Family Office, corporate services, construction engineering, Superyachts, cyber security and information technology development to our Group, and to our customers.

In the past 15 years Rob has gained a prominent reputation within the Superyacht industry for his passion, integrity, innovation and achievements to date.

“Being part of an awesome, capable and forward thinking team that have a shared passion for Superyachts, people and the environment is the highlight of my career and puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step everyday”.

Email: rob@riela-group.com

Telephone: +44 1624605650

Christian Goelz Riela Cyber

christian goelz

Director

Christian is involved across the Riela family of companies with particular attention to the technology businesses, Cyber and Tech.

Christian gained a postgraduate Master in Finance degree at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland and completed his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Before joining us, Christian worked for six years at Argosy Capital, an Isle of Man-based private equity and venture capital business focusing on early-stage growth businesses. At Argosy, he focused on managing investment companies, research and financial analysis and served as a director on several boards.

Dr Joseph Ikhalia

Joseph Ikhalia

Cyber Security Engineer, Risk and Threat Management Lead

Joseph is a Cyber Security Engineer and Risk lead in the security operations centre team. Joseph is responsible for internal audit and cyber risk management, vulnerability assessment, threat hunting and penetration testing to provide effective oversight of internal and client risk postures.

Joseph brings 8 years’ experience in risk & cybersecurity research, focusing on web-based technologies, security awareness innovation, malware threats, reverse engineering and systems audit.

With a PhD in Computer Science and a penchant for security innovation, Joseph specialises in threat detection using an avalanche of industry tools, techniques and methodologies to efficiently mitigate known and emerging threats facing our high valued clients.

SAÎD

Cyber Security Engineer & Incident Response Lead

Saîd is a Cyber Engineer & Incident Response Lead in the Security Operations Centre team.  Saîd brings his vast wealth of technical knowledge of security technologies to analyse and respond to security threats.  After 13 years experience in Cybersecurity, focusing on Identity & Access Management, PKI, Incident Response and SIEM, Saîd is instrumental in helping formulate our strategic approach.

Saîd has a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering and specializes in Information Security with certifications in CEH, CCSK, and Splunk.

Carey Cooper maritime security expert

Carey Cooper

Cyber Security Engineer & Security Operations Lead

Carey is the Cyber Security Operations team lead at the Riela Group of Companies.

He has a wealth of infrastructure and cyber security experience across the medical, financial, retail, and telecom sectors.  In addition he has a strong entrepreneurial spirit which is an asset in bridging the divide between technical and business.

Carey also holds numerous certifications in Microsoft, Cisco, Linux and the Cyber Security Disciplines.  He has a passion for anything related to technology.

Matthew Roberts

Group Head of Sales

As the Head of Group Sales at the Riela family of companies, Matthew leads the company’s sales strategy, execution, and growth.

Matthew has a successful record building trusted client relationship and delivering upon set expectations. An accomplished sales leader, he delivers a sales process that provides clients with the information and support they need to make the right decisions for their organisations and their constituents.

Matthew has significant experience within the maritime industry having previously worked across various sectors including insurance, security, satellite communications and managed IT. Matthew’s most recent experience encompasses almost 5 years spent with the leading satellite communications and managed IT provider in the maritime industry, focusing on their superyacht clientele.

Email: matthew@riela-group.com

Telephone: +44 7425 314973

Marc Dorey

Infrastructure & Managed Services Lead

Marc is our Group’s Infrastructure and Managed Services lead with over 18 years’ experience in delivering infrastructure projects across multiple industry verticals and international jurisdictions.  From projects in Aerospace and Engineering through to Banking and Insurance, from Europe, China, Africa and Australia.

This experience is matched with a varied list of certifications from leading industry vendors such as Hp, Cisco, Microsoft, Ruckus, CompTIA and more.  As a qualified technical trainer Marc is comfortably able to take complicated technical concepts and deliver them in simplistic terms to key decision makers and end users alike.

Most of Marc’s experience has been gained working for managed service providers, both large and niche and as such is able to take real world experience and blend it with industry standards to help align our service delivery with our clients values and processes.

jamie mills

SOC Analyst

Jamie Mills is the Riela Cyber SOC analyst, working alongside Joseph and Saîd. Jamie’s role involves the monitoring of client’s network and endpoints for malicious activity, thus mitigating cyber threats. This is done through using our software stack of security products and conducting OSINT (open-source intelligence) investigations to solve security incidents.

Jamie studied at the University of Portsmouth completing an undergraduate degree in Computer Forensics & Cyber Security, and achieved a masters degree in Data Analytics.

With previous experience as a Junior SOC analyst, Jamie is a highly motivated cyber security professional with a strong interest in Malware Analysis and Binary Exploitation.

Email: jamie.mills@riela-cyber.com

Josh Kingett

Technical Sales & Support

Josh is a Cyber Security Engineer specialising in Technical Sales and Support. Josh builds trust into each client relationship by working closely with business functions to deliver professionally tailored solutions for our clients from sales through to production and after care.

Having spent 4 years as an Officer Cadet in the British Army, Josh has had a great opportunity to develop his interpersonal and management skills to the highest standard possible. Josh is an avid public speaker and presents material regularly across different industries through seminars and online hosted events.

With an extensive competitive background in eSports and eGaming, both as a sponsored player and coach, Josh has been at the forefront of evolving technology, security and mitigation. It is this sort of experience that enables Josh to help facilitate the growth of Riela Cyber, alongside a highly qualified team of Cyber Security professionals.

Email: josh@riela-tech.com

Luke dawood

Infrastructure Engineer

Luke is an Infrastructure Engineer for the Riela Group with over 7 years of experience providing infrastructure support and solutions.

He currently holds his BSc in Computer Science, Microsoft Azure Administrator, Comptia A+, and Comptia N+ qualifications.

Most of his experience has been gained by working for Managed Service Providers that provide full IT support and solutions to companies ranging from small to large enterprises.

He is extremely passionate about technology and excellent customer service delivery, ensuring he is always kept up to date with the latest technologies and providing the best solutions to clients.

Andrew Clucas

Network Engineer

Andy is a qualified Network Engineer with in-depth knowledge of architecting, implementing and supporting networking solutions in the SMB, Enterprise and Service Provider environments.

He has over 20 years of experience working across multiple vendor operating systems, including Cisco, Juniper, Linux and Microsoft, and has also been responsible for implementing a variety of large scale network services deployments, taking projects from design to rollout and support.

Andy also has experience of deploying and migrating a range of virtualisation technologies including VMWare, Hyper-V and KVM based systems.

Murat Guner

Infrastructure Engineer

Murat Guner joined the Riela Group in the Summer of 2021 as an Infrastructure Engineer.

Murat began his career in Turkey as a computer teacher for primary and secondary schools before migrating his skills into IT infrastructure. After honing his IT experiences throughout a colourful career path, Murat gained numerous qualifications which he is now excited to apply to the management of our Riela Tech infrastructure.

Paul Cocker

Service Delivery Coordinator

Paul Cocker joined the Riela Group in late 2021, after spending just under 20 years with his previous employer.

Paul is responsible for the Riela Tech service levels, working on both the dispatch function and SLA management. Paul carries out a variety of duties across the Network Operations Centre and works closely across the wider team to deliver professionally tailored solutions for our Riela Tech clients.

Linette joseph

Cyber Intern

Linette Joseph is Riela Cyber’s cyber intern. Linette supports Riela Cyber’s Security Operations Team (SOC) part-time whilst completing her A-Level studies. Linette has a keen interest in Digital Forensics and aspires to become a Cyber Security Analyst.

Linette’s interest in cyber security developed in year 12 after learning in-depth about web programming and JavaScript. This further developed Linette’s interest in the subject and sparked her curiosity and she began coding.

Through her internship with Riela Cyber Linette hopes to apply and expand her knowledge the industry and encourage other young women into cyber careers in the future.

Email: linette.joseph@rielacsc.com

kurt SCHRAUWEN

Director

Kurt Schrauwen is a Director of the Riela Group of companies which includes Riela Yachts, Riela Cyber and Riela Tech. 

Kurt brings more than 20 years of leadership experience having been an early part of the global success of Microgaming in becoming a market leader. Kurt was responsible for the commercial, contractual, and technical sales for Microgaming and with this experience will complement the company’s growth strategy.

Kurt is passionate about business optimisation and prides himself in having an intrapreneurial outlook to maximise staff potential, reduce inefficiencies as well as identifying and maturing revenue growth opportunities.

Email: kurt@riela-group.com

Telephone: +44 07826396008

Tim Bliss

Tim Bliss

Director

Tim Bliss, Managing Director of Riela Tech since the company foundation in 2015 and Director of Riela Cyber, brings over 20 years’ of successful leadership experience across a range of industries including finance and banking, software development, and manufacturing, as well as cyber security and information technology. Prior to forming the company he led the technology for Manx Financial Group PLC, where he was instrumental in business systems transformation.

“It is our hugely capable team of experts that drives our business – it is fantastic and rewarding to be able to use technology, intelligence, and great customer service to help make our clients’ business and staff progressively more efficient resilient and secure”

Email: tim@riela-tech.com

Phone: +44 7624 469677