Tag Archives: IoT

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.

 

 

On World IoT Day, Time to Address Enterprise Smart Technology Risks

by Bharat Mistry

There’s a global awareness raising initiative for just about every aspect of IT and cyber security today. World Backup Day, Safer Internet Day, Data Protection Day – they all share a common purpose; to engage, educate and motivate individuals and organisations around the world. This Saturday 9 April will see one such event – the fifth annual World Internet of Things (IoT) Day.

The IoT is already having a huge impact on our lives – both at home and, more importantly, at work. But in this race for the new we run a very real risk of adopting technology which has been designed with little regard for security or privacy. So let’s use the occasion of World IoT Day to think more carefully about how to secure smart technology in the enterprise. Continue reading

As CES 2016 Begins, More Reasons for a ‘Bring Your Own Wearables’ Policy

by Bharat Mistry

It might only be the first week in January but already the world’s biggest technology firms are lining up to show you what they’ve been up to over the past 12 months. Wednesday will see the official opening of CES 2016 – the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show. As always, Las Vegas will provide the backdrop as we get a tantalising glimpse into the future – and like last year, much of the focus is likely to centre on the Internet of Things.

But while CES shows us what’s coming down the road, CIOs would do well to remember that smart devices are already finding their way into the enterprise in ever greater numbers. And as they start to sync and share more data than ever before, IT leaders will need to start adapting BYOD plans accordingly.     Continue reading

Extortion, Destruction and Lethal IoT Failures Make 2016 a Year to Watch

by Bharat Mistry

It’s been a pretty hectic 12 months, but for UK CISOs the bad news is that 2016 is unlikely to bring with it any respite. Over the past year we’ve seen a never-ending avalanche of data breaches, nation state espionage attacks and hacktivist campaigns; sophisticated new malware; and a return of some old attack techniques. And all of this against an ever more volatile regulatory compliance backdrop that threatens to turn up the pressure even more next year.

We’ll be doing our bit by continuing to protect our customers from the latest threats with innovative new products, and working with law enforcement to hit the bad guys where it hurts. But security bosses should also start planning now to overcome the key challenges Trend Micro predicts for 2016.

A year in security
Organisations on both sides of the Atlantic showed they are still ill-equipped to cope with targeted attacks and continue to make basic security errors allowing hackers to strike. Whether it was the apparently insider-related attack on infidelity site Ashley Madison or the more traditional targeted intrusions at major US healthcare firms Anthem and Premera and the massive OPM federal breach, it was no real surprise that the data breaches kept on coming in 2015. The UK had its fair share of incidents too, many of which were punished by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The TalkTalk breach turned out to be less serious than at first thought but shows that some British firms are no better at securing customer data than their global counterparts.

At a nation state level our tracking of the Pawn Storm crew’s attacks on NATO members and the White House proved it’s not just China and the US with cyber espionage capabilities. And a devastating strike which took out several TV5Monde TV channels reminded us of the real world damage that cyber attacks can inflict. It was disappointing to see the results of a new Quocirca study sponsored by Trend Micro which found that although complacency about breaches has dropped this year, 12% of the firms that said they’d been targeted didn’t know whether data had been taken or not. Some didn’t even know how much data they’d lost.

Another study we released, this time with the Ponemon Institute, warned of the threat to privacy and security from nascent IoT technologies.

Fighting back
We’ve done our best to help our customers stem the rising tide of attacks this past year, beyond providing industry leading products which received accolades from the likes of NSS Labs (Deep Discovery), Gartner, the V3 Awards (Deep Security) and the IAIR Awards (cloud security company of the year). Deep Security’s virtual patching capabilities have helped countless businesses continue to run Windows Server 2003 beyond the deadline for end of support earlier this year. And a landmark MoU agreement with the NCA has seen our threat researchers working hand-in-hand with the crime agency on cases – already resulting in the arrest of two suspects in the UK. Those same researchers have also lifted the lid on the shadowy Deep Web cybercrime markets of Japan, China, Germany and beyond in some fantastic reports this year.

We’ve also been awarded the “EICAR trusted IT security” seal of quality for Deep Security, Deep Discovery and OfficeScan – independent proof that none of these products have been tampered with by nation states.

Trouble ahead
But unfortunately the hard work never stops. Already lined up for next year are major changes to the regulatory environment, with the European General Data Protection Regulation and Network and Information Security Directive set to be finalised. And there’s a new Safe Harbour agreement to be thrashed out with US negotiators. Organisations desperately need their own Data Protection Officers (DPOs) to handle these coming compliance requirements and co-ordinate an effective response to data security threats. Yet we predict that fewer than 50% of organisations will have one installed by the end of next year.

Our other predictions for 2016 include the following:

  • Threats will increasingly focus on extortion
  • A failure in at least one consumer-grade IoT device will prove lethal
  • Mobile malware will hit 20 million, driven by China
  • Destructive cyber attacks will increase
  • Ad blocking will kill malvertising
  • Cybercrime prevention efforts will get more successful

Check out our latest report, The Fine Line: 2016 Security Predictions, for more. And we wish you all a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.