Cyber Security extends beyond Servers, PCs and Mobile Phones

Last year was a very tumultuous year for cyber security professionals and enterprises as a whole. Yahoo admitted to losing 500 million user accounts to hackers and the most staggering DDOS attack was powered by the Internet of Things (IoT). While DDOS attacks are not new, the DDOS attack on Dyn (a DNS hosting provider) measured close to 1Tbps at one time, making this the largest attack using IoT. With Gartner’s prediction of more than 20.8 million connected things by 2020, it is a new trend that is really worrying.

Key Trends in 2017

But here are some of the key trends that enterprises should be on the lookout for in 2017, and not just look, but to be prepared to combat each threat.

#1 – Decline of Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) as a reliable indication of malware
For many years, defenders have been able to recognise active infections using their unique signatures or tracking known characteristics. Unfortunately, with the rise of more sophisticated malware like Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) type of malware, these indicators no longer work as well. Some APTs have shown the ability to vary the characteristics for each user infected, and some have even been known to change their behaviour half-way through an attack.

#2 – IoT joins the dark side

With the rise of Internet of Things, more and more devices are now connected to the internet. These devices include home routers, Digital TV boxes, and even toy drones, CCTV and other devices. Most IoT devices are not considered to be permanent devices and are poorly regulated especially in terms of secured authentication and privileged access. Expect that this will change as large scale attacks begin to harness IoT devices.

#3 – Known vulnerabilities continue to be exploited
Unfortunately, there are many known vulnerabilities that have been left unattended. An ongoing and timely patch for software including operating systems and applications is an uphill task. Enterprise without a comprehensive threat protection system will face tremendous challenges keeping out hostile attacks.

#4 – Latent threats and attacks originate from insiders

Loyal employees do not ensure that you will not be attacked from the inside. How often have staffs clicked on an innocent link that then resulted in an infection? Such attacks are harder to catch simply because there is no malicious intent and the insider has every right to access the network. Modern cyber security solutions can trap malicious activities by tracking network traffic.

#5 – Artificial Intelligence goes dark
Sadly, one of the most exciting areas of development, artificial intelligence (AI) is also the source of powerful and sophisticated attacks. Attackers will use polymorphic malware which can change its own attributes during an attack to avoid detection. Such systems can be so sophisticated and mimic human behaviour so accurately that even experts can be fooled.

The Trend is clear

The trend is very clear; cyber security can become a significant liability for businesses both large and small as attackers have more sophisticated tools to work with. While many enterprises already have cyber security policies and best practices in place, these might not be enough in the face of sophisticated attacks.One strategy that could work is to leverage on the power of a larger network. Working with a strong partner or MSSP that provides a wide range of cyber security services and who is able to provide a truly holistic approach is the best.

The partner selected should be able to provide a 24/7 support and monitoring as cyber security threats are global in nature and attacks come at all times of the day and night. Comprehensive cyber security solutions can be complicated to set up and maintain-that is why ease of use if very important. Enterprises need to be able to spend time on their business and not to worry about cyber security.Finally, there should be minimal disruption to the enterprise core business in implementing any cyber security measures. There are sophisticated Cyber Security solutions out there that could be implemented with the least amount of integration with the enterprise systems to achieve optimal threat protection.

Comprehensive cyber security solutions are the only true answer for today’s complex threat environment. If your enterprise is not employing the latest technologies, it’s time to review.

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