Category Archives: Ransomware

It’s Time to Up Cyber Maturity Levels in 2017 – Starting with the Endpoint

by Bharat Mistry

As we close out another eventful year one thing is patently obvious: cyber threats have never represented a bigger risk to firms. Data and security breaches recently revealed at the likes of PayAsUGym, Ryanair, Lynda.com, KFC and more have all provide a timely festive reminder to CISOs of the value of multi-layered threat defence. More concerning still are new stats suggesting UK firms continue to operate with lower levels of security maturity than their US counterparts.

A good way to start the new year would surely be to consider how your organization can be smarter about security in 2017. And that means taking a look first at the endpoint.

Another year of breaches
Even before the catastrophic breaches at Yahoo, which may have affected over 1.5 billion accounts, were revealed, this was already shaping up to be another epic year for the black hats. Perhaps most worrying from the stream of breach incidents we’ve all read about in the news over the past 12 months is the fact that organisations are still making the same old mistakes.

Newly released data from UK-based insurer CFC Underwriting makes for particularly uncomfortable reading. It reveals that firm handled more than 400 claims on cyber breach policies this year – with the main categories being privacy breaches (31%), financial loss (22%) and ransomware (16%). Now, we don’t have mandatory breach reporting laws in the UK – not until the European GDPR comes into force in 2018, at least. So this is an interesting reminder that, while we might not always hear about them, security incidents are happening – and affecting UK firms every day.

More concerning still is that UK firms apparently represent 8% of the insurer’s policy count, but 17% of its claims count. Why does the UK have a disproportionately high volume of claims? CFC reckons because of the low cybersecurity maturity of these organisations.

Start with the endpoint
A comprehensive approach to cybersecurity of course requires multiple layers of protection including web and email gateways, networks and servers – not forgetting the vital “people” and “policy” elements. But many of the attacks which have led to damaging breaches over the past year started at the endpoint – the initial incursion point into the corporate network. We therefore need to start our efforts by better protecting this layer of infrastructure – but it’s not easy given the explosion in endpoints facilitated by cloud, mobile and IoT technologies.

Trend Micro’s answer is XGen: a cross-generational approach reliant on multiple layers of protection. None of these are a silver bullet on their own. But together they can form a formidable defence against the vast majority of known and unknown threats.

It should feature signature and non-signature based tools, including behavioural based filters, app control, exploit prevention and machine learning. The latter has been used for years by Trend Micro. But in this context we’ve made it even more effective at stopping threats by designing capabilities which extract and analyse a suspect file’s characteristics before and during its execution. This helps to reduce false positives and improve accuracy.

Endpoint compromise can play a vital role early on in the cyber kill chain. As we head into 2017, don’t underestimate the importance of gaining visibility and control at this layer. With huge regulatory pressure coming from Europe in 2018, no CISO can afford to ignore it.

 

 

Why Defence in Depth Should be Key for All CISOs Heading into 2017

by Bharat Mistry

The evolution of the threat landscape is a tricky thing to predict. After all, the nation states, cybercrime gangs and lone hacktivists we track always have the advantage of surprise. Just a few days ago we learnt of yet another new ransomware threat, for example. This one, dubbed “Popcorn Time”, even tries to lure victims into spreading the malware themselves, in return for a decryption key. It’s yet another example of the kind of black hat ingenuity we outline in our new 2017 predictions report, The Next Tier.

As attackers continue to evolve and hone their skills, the UK’s IT leaders must look towards a multi-layered combination of security tools to effectively mitigate risk on the endpoint.

Tip of the iceberg
Popcorn Time is just the tip of the iceberg. As Trend Micro predicts in the new report, new varieties of ransomware are likely to grow by 25% next year as cybercriminals look to target their wares at new systems and sectors. Those in heavy industry might find themselves particularly exposed as attackers realise they’re more likely to pay a significant sum to get mission critical production equipment back online. Even ATM and POS systems could be a target for similar reasons.

There will certainly be no shortage of vulnerabilities to exploit. But you may be surprised at their origin. As PC shipments decline and Microsoft gets better at securing its software, expect Apple and Adobe vulnerabilities to accelerate faster than newly discovered bugs in the Redmond giant’s systems. In fact, 2016 saw Adobe already outpace Microsoft on this front, while Apple had its biggest year to date in terms of the number of bugs found in its products. Vulnerability shielding as part of multi-layered protection is the best way to guard against zero day and unpatched flaws..

There’s also likely to be a great deal of innovation next year right at the top of the black hat evolutionary ladder – targeted attacks. New and unexpected techniques could stretch organisations to the limit unless they plan carefully. Hackers will scan for sandbox use in a bid to circumvent these next generation filters, and virtual machine (VM) escape bugs will become highly prized on the cybercrime underground for similar reasons.

Defence in depth
The key is not to rely on one or even a small handful of technologies. There isn’t a product on the planet that can stop everything the black hats can throw at us. That’s why it pays to invest in multiple layers of defence. These should range from web and email gateway protection, web reputation and app whitelisting to behaviour and integrity monitoring. The beauty of this approach is that if a threat manages to slip past one layer of protection it should eventually be blocked by another.

That’s what our XGen approach is all about – combining multiple layers of cross-generational threat protection to provide the best possible chance of deflecting attack. Sitting right at the top is high fidelity machine learning designed to extract and analyse a file’s characteristics before and during its execution. This helps to reduce false positives and improve accuracy.

As we head into 2017, this is the best chance organisations have of effectively managing cybersecurity risk.

 

 

New Year, New Security Challenges: What to Expect from 2017

by Raimund Genes

Trend Micro has been protecting organisations, governments and consumers for over two and a half decades now. Our 1,200-strong team of threat researchers work round the clock and around the globe to anticipate where the next major threats will come from, and, crucially, how to mitigate them. At this time of year we’re always asked for our predictions for the next 12 months. And while cybercriminals are unlikely to work to annual deadlines, it’s still a good time to take stock and share our insight into what our experts think 2017 holds in store.

As the bad guys get ever more determined and resourceful, it will take a solid multi-layered approach to security combined with strong people and processes to keep UK organisations safe and compliant as we head into the new year. Continue reading

Trend Micro a Double Winner at V3 Technology Awards as Deep Security and Deep Discovery Impress

by Bharat Mistry

The UK’s IT decision makers have it pretty tough. On the one hand the sheer range, volume and persistence of threats today make it virtually impossible to keep digital corporate assets 100% safe. But on the other, the outrageous hyperbole spread by security vendors in what is an increasingly crowded market makes finding the right tools more challenging than it’s ever been. In these situations, the opinions of journalists, independent reviewers and customers themselves become incredibly important. Continue reading