Author Archives: Trend Micro UK

Supporting diversity in the workplace this International Women’s Day

by Ross Baker

At Trend Micro, our core mission is to secure the connected world through continuous innovation. But it’s not the full story. As a responsible corporate citizen, we also devote a great deal of time to sustainability, workplace wellbeing, internet safety education and a range of charitable causes. One of those that we hold most dear is improving workplace diversity.

There’s still a long way to go. But thanks to our Close the Gap initiative, in a few years’ time we hope to have some major industry successes to celebrate on International Women’s Day (IWD).

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Hackers expand their repertoire as Trend Micro blocks 52 billion threats in 2019

By Ian Heritage

Variety is welcome in most walks of life, but not when it comes to the threat landscape. Yet that is unfortunately the reality facing modern cybersecurity professionals. As Trend Micro’s latest annual roundup report reveals, hackers have an unprecedented array of tools, techniques and procedures at their disposal today. With 52 billion unique threats detected by our filters alone, this is in danger of becoming an overwhelming challenge for many IT security departments.

In response, many CISOs are rightly re-examining how they approach threat defence. Rather than create potential security gaps and risk budget shortfalls through best-of-breedinvestments, they’re understanding that it may be better to consolidate on one provider that can do it all.

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Supporting the Scottish public sector during Cyber Scotland Week 2020

by James Munroe

Some of the most important work we do at Trend Micro is with central governments and local authorities. These organisations are the custodians of highly sensitive citizen data and operate services critical to society. Cyber-attacks are a major threat to both.

That’s why we’ll be sponsoring Holyrood Connect’s Scottish Public Sector Cyber Security Conference later this month. Drop by to see how Trend Micro can help your organisation better manage cyber risk.

On the frontline
Public sector IT managers have a difficult job. On the one hand, they’re faced with escalating threats designed to steal sensitive citizen data and extort money through ransomware. Recent FOI data revealed that UK councils are hit with cyber-attacks numbering as many as 800 every hour. Yet they must tackle these threats with minimal budgets. Just 18% claim to have cyber insurance in place, for example.

All of this is happening against a backdrop of digitalisation, as public sector bodies like those in Scotland migrate more services to the cloud to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Yet if not managed securely, this can widen the attack surface of these organisations.

Defence-in-depth
At Trend Micro we advocate multi-layered defence, built around a blend of cross-generational techniques across the endpoint, network, and hybrid cloud. Sourcing these from a single vendor makes most sense, as you can close down visibility gaps, optimise performance and reduce costs.

Our Cloud App Security (CAS) offering is particularly popular with government agencies and authorities that are keen to add an extra security layer to their Office 365 and file sharing deployments.

We’re a proud sponsor of the Holyrood Connect Scottish Public Sector Cyber Security Conference later this month. To find out more, do drop by to our stand to see how Trend Micro can help your organisation drive digital transfomation whilst minimising cyber risk.

What: Holyrood Connect’s Scottish Public Sector Cyber Security Conference 
Where: Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
When: 18-19 February

The Deepfake Threat: Why it’s Time to Update Your Security Policies

by Ian Heritage

Could this be the year that deepfakes break through into popular culture? One ominous sign of things to come has been the scrambling of social media companies over the past few weeks to develop a coherent set of policies on faked content. Their actions should help raise awareness and limit the impact of malicious audio and video online.

But let’s not forget that deepfakes are already being used by cyber-criminals today, specifically in CEO fraud attacks. This will require CISOs to update their risk management and security strategies, as attacks become more widespread and convincing.

Keeping it real
AI-powered deepfakes are spoofed audio or video clips which are hard to distinguish from the original. They quite literally put words in the mouth of the subject; whether it’s a famous politician, a celebrity or a CEO. While it sounds like a lot of fun, there’s a serious side. Doctored video clips could be used ahead of elections to discredit candidates, for example. The bad news is that psychologists believe that once we’ve viewed something like this, it tends to have a lasting impact on our perception of a person, even if we subsequently find out the video is a fake.

Social media companies are understandably nervous about the potential for misinformation on a whole new scale spreading via their platforms. Earlier this week Twitter revealed its policy on deepfakes, promising to label any content that has been “significantly and deceptively altered or fabricated” and that has been shared deceptively. It said it would remove any such content also deemed capable of causing harm. The firm joins Facebook, which last month said it would ban deepfakes outright from its site, and YouTube, which has banned such content in the run up to the 2020 US Presidential election.

Firms under pressure
In this context, deepfakes represent a major threat to democratic countries like ours, especially following previous attempts by nation states to interfere in elections and referendums. But there’s another angle more relevant to businesses. Deepfake audio clips are already being used in quasi-BEC attacks, designed to impersonate CEOs and trick employees into wiring funds to hacker-controlled bank accounts.

A UK energy company lost €220,000 (£187,000) after its CEO was tricked into making a fund transfer by someone he thought to be his German boss. In reality, the ‘person’ on the other end of the phone was simply a deepfake audio clip. This is just the beginning. In our 2020 predictions report, we argue that the C-suite will increasingly find themselves targeted by this kind of hi-tech fraud, as their public profile will make it easier for cyber-criminals to record and mimic their voice.

Spotting the fakers
We’re just at the start of a very long road. In time, the technology will get better, making it harder to spot the fakes. We may even reach a point when organisations or individuals are held to ransom with fake clips of a CEO doing something outrageous, which could cause the company share price to tank.

CISOs must therefore act now to build this threat into their security strategies, by updating their employee awareness training, and tightening company policies on large fund transfers. Fortunately, the majority of CEO fraud today still occurs via email. And for these occasions Trend Micro has its own AI-powered solution, Writing Style DNA, which “blueprints” the writing style of senior executives so that it can raise the alarm when hackers try to impersonate them. We recommend its use as part of a layered approach to email security that focus on domain reputation and other elements.

Also, be reassured that cybersecurity remains an arms race. The deepfakers might appear to have the upper hand at the moment, but realistic fakes are few and far between, and we’re working all the time on ways to foil them.