Cyber Security: The prime concern of enterprises
Cyber security has become a boardroom discussion of most of the businesses of all sizes as their systems and networks containing sensitive and valuable data, have come under siege by malicious actors.
Cyber criminals are the individuals who attempt to break the security enforced by organizations to steal their data and information so that they can leverage it for financial gain.
Businesses can no longer rely on simple solutions like their anti-virus or firewall to protect themselves from the impending threat of cyber criminals, who are becoming smarter and adept enough to evade these simple defences. Businesses should work with a cyber security firm/consultants to help them build a cyber security strategy capable of providing a multi-layered level of protection.
The government informed the Lok Sabha that a total of 6,74,021 cyber security incidents have been reported so far this year up to June. The government has issued guidelines to the Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) regarding their key roles and responsibilities for securing applications/infrastructure and compliance.
The number of devices on the network is increasing every day and with that people’s dependency on them is increasing too. This has created an opportunistic scenario for cyber criminals. Also, in the last two years, due to the pandemic, many organizations transformed into remote work cultures, which increased the number of users online. This has also contributed to the rise in cyber crimes all over the world.
According to data tracked by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a total of 3,94,499, 11,58,208, and 14,02,809 cyber security incidents were reported in 2019, 2020, and 2021 respectively.
Cyber strategies should take into account:
• Infrastructure security
• Network security
• Application security
• Information security
• Cloud security
• Employee security training and awareness
• Disaster recovery or business continuity
The increasing dependency of businesses on technology has created new opportunities for cyber criminals to expose confidential information. Usually, organizations invest a substantial amount of money and resources to safeguard their data by employing tools and services to enhance the security of their private information.
According to Forbes, 95% of cybersecurity breaches are led by human error.
Helpnet Security reported that 88% of the organizations suffered from spear-phishing attacks across the globe.
As per an article from Reuters, 10% of the data breaches were motivated by espionage while 86% of them were financially motivated.
According to a report by IBM, $3.86 million is an average cost of data breach and the average time to identify it is 207 days. Among them, the most popular was Twitter Breach in which 130 high profiles were targeted and $121,000 was defrauded.
The Mumbai Port Authority (MbPA) has alerted all ship owners, shipping agents, container operators, importers, exporters, customs brokers and other port users about the increase in cyber crime.
Various types of cybercrime
• Email and internet fraud
• Identity fraud (where personal information is stolen and used)
• Theft of financial or card payment data
• Theft and sale of corporate data
• Cyber extortion (demanding money to prevent a threatened attack)
• Ransomware attacks (a type of cyber extortion)
• Cryptojacking (where hackers mine cryptocurrency using resources they do not own)
• Cyberespionage (where hackers access government or company data)
Most cybercrime falls under two main categories:
• Criminal activity that targets
• Criminal activity that uses computers to commit other crimes.
• Cyber crime that targets computers often involves viruses and other types of malware.
• Cyber criminals may infect computers with viruses and malware to damage devices or stop them working. They may also use malware to delete or steal data.
Unfortunately, current times also had a reinventive effect on ransomware. Threat actors have found new opportunities in their targeted attacks and double extortion schemes.
A malware attack is where a computer system or network is infected with a computer virus or other type of malware. A computer compromised by malware could be used by cybercriminals for several purposes. These include stealing confidential data, using the computer to carry out other criminal acts, or causing damage to data.
A phishing campaign is when spam emails, or other forms of communication, are sent en masse, with the intention of tricking recipients into doing something that undermines their security or the security of the organization they work for. Phishing campaign messages may contain infected attachments or links to malicious sites. Or they may ask the receiver to respond with confidential information
Distributed DoS attacks
Distributed DoS attacks (DDoS) are a type of cyber attack that cyber criminals use to bring down a system or network. Sometimes connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices are used to launch DDoS attacks. A DDoS attack overwhelms a system by using one of the standard communication protocols it uses to spam the system with connection requests. Cyber criminals who are carrying out cyber extortion may use the threat of a DDoS attack to demand money. Alternatively, DDoS may be used as a distraction tactic while other types of cybercrime take place.
As technology progresses and more people depend on the internet-abled services for everyday activities, including storing their credit card details and transacting money online, cyber crimes are becoming more common than ever.
Best Practices to follow: Stop trusting emails. They are not always what they seem. Security awareness and phishing training can empower teams to defend against phishing attacks. Training can show the telltale signs and teach how to recognize targeted phishing campaigns, as well as malicious links, and encourage users to stay away from links and attachments. One simple way is to go to websites by typing the real URL into their browser.
The word spoof means to hoax, trick, or deceive. Website spoofing is when a website is designed to look like a real one and deceive people into believing it is a legitimate site. This is done to gain confidence, get access to systems, steal data, steal money, or spread malware.
Website spoofing works by replicating a legitimate website with a big company’s style, branding, user interface, and even domain name in an attempt to trick users into entering their usernames and passwords. This is how the bad guys capture data or drop malware onto computers.
Spoofed websites are generally used in conjunction with an email that links to the illegitimate website. As of last August, spoofing and phishing may have cost businesses as much as $354 million.
Ransomware is a modern day, technical twist on a crime that has been around for ages - extortion. At its core, ransomware works when criminals steal something of great value and demand payment in exchange for its return. For most businesses, this involves the encryption of company data. When ransomware hits, businesses come to a standstill, and employees cannot do their jobs.
Without restorable backup data, the company is generally at the mercy of the attacker who will hold the data hostage in exchange for a decryption key that can be bought with Bitcoin.
Ransomware has matured into its own category of malware and should be a primary concern for all organizations. According to new research by Verizon, ransomware breaches have increased by 13% – more than the last five years combined.
Best practices to follow: Back the data up and then do it again — in a separate location. Frequency and redundancy are key to success. If one only backs up the system weekly, or if backup is infected, the user is in a lot of trouble.
Norton defines malware as “malicious software” specifically designed to gain access to or damage a computer. In the case of ransomware, it is designed to hold data hostage, but that is not the only kind. There can be multiple objectives for malware - power, influence, money, information - but the result is always the same - a time consuming, often expensive recovery effort.
Common types of malware include:
• Viruses that spread, damage functionality, and corrupt files
• Trojans disguised as legitimate software that quietly create backdoors to let other malware into network
• Worms that can infect all of the devices connected to a network
• Ransomware that holds data hostage
• Botnets - a network of infected devices that work together under the control of an attacker
What can be done: Be cautious about email attachments, avoid suspicious websites (look at the spellings carefully), install and continually update a high-quality antivirus program.
An ethical hacker is a security expert who legally hacks a computer to detect risks and illegal access. Every security professional must know all devices within the network, including the Internet of Things (IoT), thoroughly in the core of ethical hacking. IoT ransomware is a ransomware attack targeting IoT devices. In such a scenario, threat actors control or lock a device (or several devices) to extort payment.
Just as the internet connects people, the IoT will connect our smart gadgets together. Whether we like it or not, all of these internet-connected objects are collecting and exchanging data. As you know, data is valuable and for that reason, hackers will look to exploit any devices that aggregate it. IoT devices widen the attack surface through which ransomware can be deployed.
The more “things” we connect - the juicier the reward becomes for hackers. That is why it is important to remember that personal passwords and business passwords all belong to humans. Unfortunately, too many people still have poor password habits that make it super easy for hackers to access data that does not belong to them.
Every single member of the organization should learn how to detect a potential social engineering attack. All it takes is one employee to click on the wrong link or send personal information to the wrong person, for a large-scale data breach to occur.
A Deloitte study said, India will have 1 billion smartphone users by 2026. The country was home to 1.2 billion mobile subscribers in 2021, of which about 750 million were smartphone users. As on January 2021, India had 448 million social media users. In 2021, the DBS Digital Readiness survey revealed almost 62% of large and middle-market companies are still in the formative stages of digitalization in India.
The country is also a witness to numerous cyberattacks in the past, including many soft ones. The government’s ongoing Digital India push and the Reserve Bank’s planned Central Bank Digital Currency may only add to the list of vulnerabilities.
The OEMs that protect organisations from cyber attack
BROADCOM CHECKPOINT SOFTWARE
KASPERSKY K7 COMPUTING
MICROSOFT PALO ALTO NETWORKS
SAFE SECURITY SENTINELONE
As per the report, India was expected to be among the largest victims of cyberattacks in two years. Cyberattacks were projected to increase by 200% year-on-year.
There is growing newer attacks including Cryptojacking, it has surged in the last two years as the value of the cryptocurrency market has skyrocketed. There were more than 51 million cryptojacking attacks in the first half of 2021 alone and the Cryptojacking’ attacks on computer systems have gone up by 30% to 66.7 million in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of last year.
In a cryptojacking attack, cyber criminals use malware to gain unauthorized access to systems and steal computer resources. They use the processing power of victim machines to mine cryptocurrency without buying sophisticated hardware themselves. The cryptojacking code works in the background, making money for the attackers while causing performance lags and other problems for victims.
Every time cryptocurrency is traded, the transaction is recorded in the blockchain ledger. Crypto miners race to be the first to come up with the 64-digit hexadecimal number that verifies the transaction. There are trillions of possibilities, so crypto miners must generate billions of these “hashes” each second. The miner who completes the task first earns 6.25 Bitcoins. According to a report by Guardicore Labs, a group of Chinese cryptojackers harnessed 50,000 servers and made up to $10,000 per day.
According to the Computer Emergency Response Team data, India witnessed a three-fold increase in cybersecurity-related incidents in 2020 compared to 2019, recording 1.16 million breaches. The number of breaches is expected to increase in 2022. According to government sources, there have been 6,07,220 recorded cybersecurity breaches till June 2021.
In 2021-22, the government outspends its budgeted estimates on cyber security for the first time in the past eight years. In this year’s budget, the government said it would spend Rs 515 crore on cyber security in 2022-23. That is a 10 times increase, compared to 2014-15.
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