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2 min read

What are initial access brokers (IABs)?

What are initial access brokers (IABs)?

Initial access brokers are malicious actors that sell stolen credentials on the dark web. The goal is to give other cybercriminals access to vulnerable networks and make it easier for them to carry out attacks. Keep reading to learn more about IABs and some important ways to reduce your risk across your organization. Also, find out how a HIPAA compliant email provider can help healthcare providers stay one step ahead.


What do IABs do? 

IABs play a big role in ransomware attacks by eliminating the need to obtain initial access and move laterally through the network. As a result, ransomware groups are able to spend all of their time and energy on spreading malware.

IABs use many different techniques to infiltrate networks. If an organization has outdated software, it may be able to breach the network faster. IABs often uncover user credentials through brute force tactics such as password spraying. Another common strategy is spear phishing. These are customized messages sent to targeted groups to trick them into sending money or sharing confidential information.


Types of access 

Domain administrator access is the most valuable type. This gives hackers the opportunity to enter an organization's entire active directory. IABs can also sell access to control panels, which typically include credit card information and other valuable payment details. The recent shift to remote work has also given IABs an advantage. More exposed remote services means more opportunities for IABs to infiltrate vulnerable networks.

Therefore, remote desktop protocol (RDP) access has become an especially popular one to sell. Since it only requires a username and password, attackers can seamlessly conduct huge scans for many RDP servers at once. Similarly, more companies are implementing virtual private networks (VPNs) for remote employees. If a company hasn't set up two-factor authentication, this is another easy sell for IABs.


Ways to protect your organization 

There are a number of steps that organizations can take to protect their network from IABs. These include:
  • Make sure to update all software and install patches regularly. This restricts threat actors from exploiting known vulnerabilities.
  • Educate and train your staff on how to recognize a phishing email and other suspicious activity.
  • Enforce a strong password policy that prevents employees from using the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Use multi-factor authentication as often as possible.
  • Disable remote connections for privileged accounts.
  • Enable security plugins for panels if available.
  • Activate Network Level Authentication for RDP access.


Strengthen security with Paubox

As IABs and other cybercriminals continue to evolve their methods, best practices alone aren’t always enough to keep your network secure. Therefore, it's important for healthcare providers to cover all bases with a stronger inbound email security strategy.

That’s where Paubox Email Suite’s HIPAA compliant email platform comes in. In addition to enabling healthcare email encryption, Paubox Email Suite’s Plus and Premium plan levels are equipped with robust inbound email security tools. These stop malicious emails from even reaching the inbox in the first place.

Our patent-pending Zero Trust Email feature uses email AI to confirm that an email is legitimate. Plus, our patented ExecProtect solution works to quickly intercepts display name spoofing attempts.

Try Paubox Email Suite Plus for FREE today.


HITRUST CSF certified 4.9/5.0 on the G2 Grid Paubox secures 70 million HIPAA compliant emails every month.

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