Are you in digital danger? This is how you find out

Your neighbour sees someone trying to break into your shop. Luckily, they can warn you. But how do you find out if a cyber criminal is trying to break into your company network? There are a number of organisations in the Netherlands that watch out for online threats and warn companies. Find out how to get up-to-date threat information and what you should do about it.

Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) is knowledge about online danger. Which new harmful software are criminals using? Which smart devices are vulnerable?Which systems have been hacked recently? There is a lot of information available worldwide. Because cybersecurity companies, independent cybersecurity experts and national security organisations are monitoring the internet 24 hours per day.   

Not aware of danger 

You can use cyber threat intelligence to actively protect your company against cybercrime. Are you unaware of online danger? Then it is more likely that cybercriminals can successfully attack your company. For example, they install malicious code on your online shop without you noticing. This is how they steal your customers' payment details. 

You will receive threat information automatically. Make sure you can be contacted.

Organisations that alert you 

These organisations actively give free, up-to-date threat information. They automatically alert you when there is a specific digital threat to your business. 

Be reachable 

You do not have to sign up anywhere to receive this CTI information. Just make sure cybersecurity organisations can contact you easily: 

  • Check your domain name registration at SIDN. Make sure your contact information is correct there. That way, you yourself will be notified if something is wrong on your site, and not your website builder, for example,. 
  • In addition, create a security.txt file on your site. Many cybersecurity organisations use this standard way to reach you even faster and automatically in case of cyber threats. 

What action should you take?  

What should you do if you get an e-mail or phone call saying your business is at risk online? That is what the cybersecurity organisation will tell you when they alert you. They do not solve the situation for you, but give you practical tips on how to limit the damage. What the advice is depends on the type of vulnerability and threat. Advice might include installing security updates, changing passwords, or engaging an IT specialist.  

Can you trust the warning?

How do you know that a warning about a digital threat is not phishing or a scam? Check the cybersecurity organisation's website yourself. For example, you check on SIDN's site to see if their warning email is reliable. And DTC has a number of security checks (in Dutch) that let you check whether their notification is genuine. For example, DTC uses only one telephone number for its warning service. If you call the number yourself you will always be connected to someone from DTC. 

Types of threat information 

There are different types of threat information. 

 Vulnerable system 

Suppose a cybersecurity organisation has information about a vulnerability in one of your systems. They will warn you that you may be targeted by hackers. And also tell you how to protect yourself against the threat before anything goes wrong. 

Ransom demand in your junk mail 

Threat information can also be about actions that criminals have already taken. Then it is called victim information. For example, a cybersecurity organisation knows that your company has been hacked because cybercriminals report it on the dark web. They say there that your company has 9 days to pay a ransom. Otherwise, they will leak all your company data. The cybersecurity organisation will inform you about this extortion attempt. Sometimes you may not know about it yourself. Because, for example, the criminals' ransom demand ended up in your junk mail. 

Dangerous yourself without knowing it? 

A cybersecurity organisation can also alert you if your site has been hacked and you yourself are therefore a threat to other Internet users. Perhaps your website has been infected with malicious software, or malware, via an outdated plug-in. Or criminals have built a phishing page on your site without you realising. 

If you do not do anything about it yourself, an organisation like SIDN may take your website offline. This way they prevent even more visitors to your infected website from contracting malware. SIDN will take your website offline if you do not do something about the threat yourself within 66 hours of their warning. They often call you before then to ask if you are already working on a solution to the cyber threat. 

Keep track yourself  

In addition to specific alerts from cybersecurity organisations, you can also keep track of general, serious threat information yourself: 

  • Check the DTC Cyber Alerts page (in Dutch). Or subscribe to the corresponding RSS feed. 
  • Sign up for the DTC Community (in Dutch). Cybersecurity organisations share threat information here. You can also ask experts or other business owners your own security question.  

Make your business cyber-secure  

Ideally, of course, you want to prevent cybercriminals from penetrating your business or website. If you have the basics of your cyber security in order, you are already well on your way. You can keep your website and systems secure with regular updates, by making a good backup, and using strong passwords