Cybersecurity threats are continually evolving, with criminals becoming increasingly sophisticated and malicious in their activities ranging from data breaches and ransomware attacks to identity fraud and more. To validate the growing threat, cybercrime is predicted to increase some 15 percent each year and will cost organizations around $10.5 trillion by 2025.
This is why CISOs and other cybersecurity professionals must be constantly assessing new threats on the horizon and implementing corresponding prevention technologies and protocols, as well as have incident response plans in place. This post looks at four of the biggest cybersecurity challenges currently facing our clients and offers best practices for deterrence:
- Continued shift to hybrid work. With hybrid work environments now commonplace, data hacks are on the rise—and in many cases, negligent and inattentive employees are the drivers. Oftentimes, remote employees are not as digitally secure as they are on company grounds. Thorough and comprehensive security-aware programs and training are imperative to help reduce attack risks, since the more knowledgeable and aware employees are to potential threats, the more they can help to reduce risks to their organization. Companies should also mandate that BYODs have a strong security barrier, including dual authentication.
- Increase in cryptocurrency scams (especially in fintech). Phishing attacks, crypto-malware, and using third-party software and illegal trading platforms are all cryptocurrency risks. While restrictions are expected to be tightened as more hackers and scammers are targeting this form of financial transaction, decentralization can also be advantageous in many aspects. Increasing the adoption of encryption (potentially leveraging blockchain technology to shift from a centralized server-based system to a decentralized cryptographic network) can help to secure a company’s data.
- Increase in IoT device usage. IoT devices have made life easier and more convenient and have given us the ability to stay constantly connected to one another for personal and business purposes. However, hackers have exploited IoT devices to disrupt companies and operations. The entire IoT ecosystem has numerous endpoints, software, and hardware components, and all must be managed properly to be truly secure. As one example of this risk, hackers leverage botnets to disrupt an organization’s services and steal data. In fact, botnets are responsible for 31 percent of all cyberattacks targeting corporate networks. Companies should leverage intrusion detection systems, as well as security information and event management systems, to help monitor devices. Encrypting data and leveraging enhanced authentication schemes can also help control access through these endpoints.
- Explosion in software supply chain attacks (including cloud). Software supply chain attacks are proliferating, growing by a whopping 650 percent. Such instances occur when criminal actors breach a software vendor’s network to distribute malicious code to compromise its product, which then gets sent to its customers and in turn compromises customers’ data and systems. Several techniques are leveraged to accomplish this, including hijacking updates and compromising open-source code, among others. To help mitigate risk, companies should implement a robust cybersecurity supply chain risk management plan, completely understand their entire supply chain, and closely collaborate with suppliers to ensure they demonstrate security best practices.
Overall, organizations should look at holistic approaches to tackle cybersecurity threats—for example, AI/ML-based detection and malware scanning techniques help analyze millions of events, especially when organizations have tens or hundreds of thousands of devices. A self-learning, AI-based management system can help scale an organization’s footprint to the everchanging threats, while helping to identify and prioritize different risks.
Organizations should also adopt and adhere to cybersecurity protocols, such as the NIST SP 800-53 or the Cybersecurity Framework, based on requirements of their specific industry. DevSecOps helps to integrate security as a shared responsibility across the software and IT lifecycle, while multi-factor authentication (MFA) helps reduce the risk of intrusions, but only if it is enabled for all users without exceptions.
Remember: A hacker needs only one compromised account to access your network and applications. MFA is fairly easy to implement and adds an additional layer of security. SMS token authentication, email token authentication, software token authentication, biometric authentication, and security questions are all ways to implement MFA.
Lastly, enterprise organizations that wish to remain out of the headlines may want to leverage the principles of “never trust, always verify.” Just as it sounds, this suggests that no user is trusted until verified. It’s an ongoing process that should continue to be built upon so that it is adaptable to the always-evolving threat landscape. Even small- to medium-sized organizations should implement some aspects of security into their practices. It takes only one malicious intent to create chaos and potentially put a company into bankruptcy, regardless of size.