Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
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Gary Audin | May 12, 2017 |


Security Protection, Better than Security Correction

Security Protection, Better than Security Correction A number of observations dealing with cybercrime

A number of observations dealing with cybercrime

Cybercrime and cyber security are dominant subjects for IT, their networks, and applications. The risks from cybercrime translate into trillions of dollars of expense and losses for organizations. The more protection you can create, the less likely you need to spend your budget on correcting the security problems.

Everyone Has to Worry
These days, it's pretty common to see articles and news items about enterprises having been affected by cybercrime. But do not assume that only large organizations are vulnerable. SMBs have been subjected to ransomware recently, too. The Radware report, "Global Application Network Security Report 2016 – 2017" discovered that 98% of organizations experienced some form of attack in 2016, making cybersecurity issues a normal way of life. The report also stated that 31% of the attacks were directed at organizations with less than 250 employees.

Are You Ready to Deal with Cybercrime?
Since it's a given that cybercrime will occur, do you have an incident response plans and teams in place to deal with attacks? Even if you do, you may be experiencing security overload, which dilutes your resources. In some cases this security overload condition actually allows some attacks to be considered minor and ignored only to have them surface again (see, "Are You Prepared for a Data Breach?").

Installing antivirus and encryption software helps. This software will also be much more important in mobile devices which will eventually account for two-thirds of IP traffic. Don't forget that you use Wi-Fi hotspots where intruders can interfere with your communications and capture useful information.

Network Security vs. Application Security
The report, "Application Security in the Changing Risk Landscape," is research sponsored by F5 and independently conducted by Ponemon Institute in July 2016. According to the report, network security is generally not the issue. The issue most often seems to be at the application layer. Application layer attacks are considered much more of a threat than at the network layer. The report goes on to state that over half of the application attacks are more severe than at the network layer. There is even a budget problem. Only 18% of the security funding is dedicated application security, while 39% is applied to network security.

Are Some Security Notices Fake News?
In reality, cyber security issues are typically underreported. The vast majority of the news is real, not fake. The larger the organization, the more likely they're going to receive an attack. Medium-size organizations experienced 10 to 20 attacks a day, larger organizations expect 20 to 30, and the largest organizations can encounter 50 or more attacks a day. These are known attacks. Many will not be discovered for months. The average time to discover an attack is 99 days.

Are Attackers Insiders or Outsiders?
Dtex Systems' "recent press release shows that 95% of organizations have employees seeking to bypass security controls. You need to look inside as well as outside the organization for the source of the attacks. Employees and contractors can account for over 50% of the attacks. In most cases, it is negligence, an accident, or malicious behavior by employees and contractors. Training your employees and contractors is the primary method for reducing these attack sources (see, "How Security-Conscious Are Your Users?").

Employee and contactor poor security behaviors are a result of how aware they are of the security risks. How many employees and contractors sign an organization's security policy and don't read it? Security behaviors depend on recognizing risks, knowing how they occur how, and the implications of misuse and abuse (see, "IT Security: Training and Beyond").

Is There a Generation Problem?
We have four generations evolving into five generations of people using digital technologies. The younger the generation, the more likely they are relaxed and less concerned about privacy and security. This goes back to the training issues mentioned earlier. The personal habits, which may not be very secure, have to be changed through training and awareness that satisfies those of the organization where they are employed.

Additional Considerations
Buying an insurance policy related to cyber security may seem like a good idea. It's a growing industry. But this does not stop the attacks; it only mitigates the financial losses that may occur. Insurance does not fix the organization's reputation.

Firewalls and network security turned out to not be enough as mentioned in the F5 report.

Strong passwords are worth having, but they don't solve the problem. They work best when combined with other measures like two-factor authentication. Strong passwords can be complicated to remember, and many people just write them as notes which are accessible to others. Another problem is changing the passwords too frequently which will cause people to not even try to memorize them.

Hiring more security personnel is another great idea, but there are not enough of these qualified professionals. The staffing shortage is great, and the salaries are high as a consequence of the shortage (see, "Cybersecurity Expert Shortage Still Looms /a>").


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