How Can Enterprises Tackle Advanced Cyberattacks? | By Rebecca James

| collaborative article |

How Can Enterprises Tackle Advanced Cyberattacks? 

As the digital landscape continues to evolve and grow increasingly diverse and sophisticated, survival for enterprises and organizations depends on their ability to mediate risks and tackle cyberattacks as efficiently as possible. 

Moreover, bearing witness to the fragile state of cybersecurity, as well as the monumental reach of cybercrimes today, is the fact that 2020 started with an onslaught of cyberattacks aimed at multiple organizations. 

At the start of the year, foreign exchange firm Travelex was crippled by a ransomware attack, while simultaneously, reports were coming out of the U.S. state that Texas agencies were witnessing 10,000 attempted cyberattacks hailing from Iran per minute. Adding to the gravity of the situation, were reports and studies that brought forth information highlighting how unprepared most organizations and enterprises were in the face of such adversity, and how prone they were to experience more frequent and sophisticated cybercrimes in the future- mainly because they relied on outdated security strategies and practices. 

If you’ve been acquainted with the cybersecurity world, however, you might be wondering about developments in the cybersecurity realms - particularly as far as the formulation of “modern” security tools is concerned, e.g. reliable antivirus applications and top-rated VPN services. Over recent years, cybersecurity specialists have worked on new cybersecurity strategies; however, the implementation and adoption of these new solutions take place at an excruciatingly slow pace, primarily because of inefficient evaluation methods. 

With that being said, however, as cyberattacks increase both in complexity and frequency, organizations must seek to implement more efficient security practices, to build a robust cybersecurity infrastructure that protects an organization and its data against an arsenal of threats and vulnerabilities. 

In an attempt to aid our readers, we’ve compiled an article that delves into some ways through which their organization can circumvent the threat posed by advanced cybercrimes. Before we can get into that, however, we’d like to bring our readers up to the mark regarding the tumultuous state that the cybersecurity world has been in recently. 

The Growing Advances of Cybercrime

As the world welcomes technological advancements with open arms, most enterprise owners often tend to forego that cybercriminals also rely on these advancements to wreak more damage on their victims. 

Most notably, however, specialists have identified the recent spiking of ransomware attacks- noting a staggering increase of 365% from Q2 2018 to Q2 2019- which speaks volumes of the monumental gaps present in the cybersecurity infrastructures of most organizations today. 

One such attack, though we’ve already mentioned this above, was the Travelex ransomware attack, which was perpetrated by a group of cybercriminals known as “Sodinokibi.” Once the group had gained access to all of the foreign exchange firm’s assets, they demanded a hefty ransom of $6 million, which the company had refused to pay. The aftermath of the attack led to Travelex enduring monumental losses, while the threat of the attack retaking place lingered over their heads. Although Travelex was able to resume its services after a couple of weeks, the attack proved lethal and ultimately toppled the foreign exchange firm - which was made evident by the ripple effects that influenced several banks in the U.K. 

Furthermore, the Travelex crisis also highlighted the significant pattern in modern cybercrime, which, as was made evident in the Travelex attack, tended to focus more on targeted attacks, which aimed at disrupting services, creating the perfect situation to extort large ransoms from enterprises. Moreover, these new developments in the cybercrime landscape are also supported by a study, which brought forth the discovery that these targeted attacks on small and mid-sized financial institutions could be magnified and tweaked- making them capable of toppling over major U.S banks and negatively impact a staggering 38% of the U.S. financial system. 

And if that wasn’t scary enough, with statistics estimating for cybersecurity spending to amass up to a massive total of $6 trillion by 2021, the need for enterprises to devise modern cybersecurity strategies and practices to combat new threats and vulnerabilities becomes increasingly apparent. However, to gain an understanding of the present-day cybersecurity landscape, we must address the challenges that arise in the security implementation within enterprises today. 

What are the Obstacles Facing Cybersecurity Implementation? 

Amongst some of the most common challenges faced by organizations in the implementation of new cybersecurity practices and strategies are budget constraints, the high pressure of data security, regulations, legacy systems- along with ensuring that all of these measures are adopted timely. 

In addition to the implementation hurdles of compliance and data security, a massive problem encountered by most enterprises and organizations catering to modern cybersecurity techniques is their reliance on outdated infrastructure. Simply put, the infrastructure being used in most organizations today is not equipped to deploy new cybersecurity tools. For an enterprise to make the most out of a modern security tool, its legacy systems must be compatible with the tool. 

Unfortunately, despite the massive threat posed by the diverse threat landscape of today, most organizations tend to prioritize software and end up allotting the majority of their I.T. budget to the development or support of aging software - which leaves nothing for cybersecurity expenditure.

Another frequently-encountered security challenge faced by organizations in the amalgamation of modern cybersecurity tools is the risk that the evaluation of cybersecurity technology poses, particularly as far as compliance is concerned. Put, while an enterprise is in it’s a proof-of-concept (POC) or testing process, it faces the risk of compromising highly sensitive data while testing new security tools. 

Moreover, this risk is amplified even further when we consider the possibility of organizations hiring third-party vendors for their testing process, who may carry malicious actors, who can leverage the PoC, as a means to infiltrate the company’s network and compromise confidential data. In an attempt to mitigate the risk posed by bad actors manipulating the PoC, strict regulations forbid the use of company/customer data to a working environment. 

The strict regulations governing the testing process prevents enterprises from accurately evaluating the performance of the modern cybersecurity technology within their organization’s infrastructure, which may create further hindrances in the long run. Moreover, it is also worth mentioning that the evaluation of a cybersecurity tool is a time-consuming process, which can take up to months (maybe even years) to complete! 

How Can Organizations Ease Cybersecurity Implementation? 

Although the challenges facing the effective implementation of modern cybersecurity strategies and tools within organizations are incredibly cumbersome, there are still plenty of ways through which companies can ease the process and make the best out of advancements in the cybersecurity landscape. 

Perhaps the best way through which organizations can pave the way for cybersecurity implementation, along with significantly improving the evaluation process, is by leveraging A.I. automation. A.I. automation mainly aids an organization in overcoming security and regulation challenges, by taking a sample of the company’s data to generate another, similar data set upon which the testing process will be conducted. Instead of conducting the PoC on actual confidential data, this AI-based technique allows the company to remain compliant with the regulation while scrutinizing the cybersecurity solutions with a more realistic dataset as well. 

Furthermore, the testing process can be elevated to a further level by utilizing a cloud-based server, which equips enterprises with the liberty to run multiple PoCs simultaneously. Not only will this enable more critical analysis of the cybersecurity tech’s performance within the company’s environment, but it will also produce more time-efficient results. 

For enterprises with limited resources at their disposal, who can’t afford to invest in both A.I. and cloud-based technologies, we’d suggest they consider the option of using a dedicated PoC platform, which automates the monitoring process, and minimizes the number of time-consing menial tasks. More importantly, a PoC platform is significantly cheaper than an AI-based solution while providing all the same benefits. 

Conclusion

At the end of the article, we can only hope that we’ve equipped our readers with some useful steps that they can take to tackle the rapid advancements being made in cybercrime today. With that being said, useful advice that goes a long way in the cybersecurity landscape- prevention is far better than cure! 

Rebecca James: Enthusiastic Cybersecurity Journalist, A creative team leader, editor of "virtual private network section of PrivacyCrypts".

May 13, 2020
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