Even the Vatican Is Vulnerable to Cyberattack – Are You?

You’ve heard it before: no one is immune from cyberattacks. Doubt that statement? The Vatican suffered an attack that prompted it to take its websites offline. Yes, even the Holy See can suffer a Denial of Service (DDoS attack).

The November 30, 2022 attack affected the official Vatican.va website. Several other Vatican sites were also inaccessible for hours.

The suspected hack came a day after Pope Francis condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In an interview, he singled out particular troops for their “cruelty” during the war.

You may think your business is not doing anything to provoke Russian cyber response, but that’s not the only way you become vulnerable to cyberattack.

Know your vulnerabilities online

A vulnerability is a point of weakness cyber bad guys exploit to access your systems. They can use these shortcomings to cause damage and undermine data privacy. Common vulnerabilities include:

  • firewall weakness
  • operating system flaws
  • network misconfigurations
  • unpatched software
  • weak access credentials
  • unencrypted information

Not every vulnerability is exploitable, as attackers may not have enough public information to leverage the weakness. Your existing security controls may be protecting the weakness, or the attacker may need authentication or local system access to target the vulnerability.

Still, vulnerabilities of any kind can put your business technology at risk.

Causes of vulnerabilities

There are many reasons for IT vulnerabilities. That’s one of the big challenges of cybersecurity. As your business enters 2023, take the time to look for symptoms such as:

  • complex systems which make misconfigurations and flaws more likely.
  • unsecured operating systems which risk viruses and malware.
  • poor password management with employees using weak passwords or reusing access credentials.
  • connectivity sprawl – each device and other connected endpoint expand your attack surface.
  • assuming user input is safe, which can lead to unintended consequences –instead, set up your systems to verify before access.

Identify vulnerabilities with network scans and by reviewing firewall logs. You should also map out your technology and all endpoints. You can’t protect it if you don’t know it needs security.

Also, update any software or hardware whenever possible. Plus, check the level of risk associated with any other vulnerabilities. Then, find countermeasures or patches to boost your security.

Protect against cyberattack

The Vatican had an $887 million budget in 2022, and you can expect they spent some of that on cybersecurity, but it proved insufficient. Still, the Holy See will rebound. The Catholic religion has endured many types of attacks over its nearly 2000 years. In fact, it also suffered a targeted attack by Chinese hackers in 2020.

Your business may not have the same resilience to cyberattack and unplanned downtime. Our IT experts can help you shore up your cybersecurity. Whatever your budget, there are steps we can take to ensure you’re ready to combat a cyberattack. Call us now at 508-617-1310.