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Latest Challenges to Cyber Security

December 9, 2016 | By  

Threat to IT security is more serious than believed. Governments, organizations, enterprises, small and medium businesses, and individuals must provide more thought to IT security than before. The world is going digital, with governments in some countries forcing digitalization upon its citizens to curb unaccounted money and wealth generation. Digitalization is the “in” thing now and ensuring IT security has become more important than before. The coming years will be more challenging as cybercriminals try to stay a step ahead of IT security measures. As with all types of threats, there won’t be any end of cyber crime threats to IT security.

The massive data breaches; theft and misuse of card data; data and systems held to ransom, etc…, portray the dire necessity of robust IT security measures. Businesses, organizations and enterprises must ensure that they all implement possible measures to protect customer data. Loss or theft of data could have severe implications as it could lead to loss of trust, business and misuse of customer card data. Many high profile security breaches have occurred – Google Android accounts, Yahoo accounts, major healthcare networks (Anthem, Premera BlueCross), dating networks, adult websites, gaming websites, social networks, banks, and financial institutions, etc.., Hackers have not spared any kind of organization. That they have attacked, breached and stolen data from healthcare networks (or held healthcare websites and data to ransom – ransomware attacks) portrays that they attack all kinds of industry.

Enterprises have encouraged utilization of mobile devices and BYOD for enterprise work as they have found these to have multiple benefits. This has also increased avenues for attacks. More connections to enterprise systems and data means more potential vulnerabilities and opportunities to attack the websites and data.

Malware, facilities to unleash attacks (DdoS), malware-as-a-service are quite freely available on the dark net, which allows not-so-technical hackers to conduct cyber criminal activities. All this has contributed to a 3500% increase in cyber attacks in 2016, according to reports.

Ways to mitigate IT Security threats

Government legislation – More robust cyber security law must be defined and stringent protocols must be put in place. A way of regular auditing too, must be defined which would ensure that Enterprises follow all the protocols necessary for cyber security. SSL for websites/ web pages – Webpages with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) offer greater protection against hacking. Google also encourages “https://” webpages with a higher ranking. Enterprises must have SSL for their payment/ card processing web pages. However, it it advantageous to have “https://” for all webpages.

The weakest point in an enterprise in terms of vulnerability is a user/ employee as they need to access the enterprise network. Once cyber criminals gain access to an employee’s device/computer they can gain access to other devices and servers on the network, where malware can be installed. Some times cyber criminals first breach smaller enterprises (which is completely easier and through them they gain access to the larger enterprises.

Cyber security education – Employees must be provided education on cyber security. They must be taught to identify genuine websites and identify SSL certificates. The importance of SSL from reputed CAs must also be impressed upon them. They must be taught about social engineering threats, phishing, spear-phishing emails, spoofed emails, tricks used by hackers to make users open malicious links and attachments, documents with macros, etc.., Employees must be constantly enlightened about novel ways and schemes cyber criminals use for infection attempts – lottery wins, invoices, tax return info, and other business documents.

Advanced cloud-based antivirus that includes a robust firewall and effective auto-sandboxing is another necessity. Further, the operating system and the antivirus solution must be regularly updated with the latest patches and updates. The auto-sandboxing must be able to address zero-day threats.

The Enterprise must also define a Backup a Disaster Recovery policy which would be useful in cases of unforeseen events.

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