This October marks the 16th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the U.S. – a month-long campaign dedicated to raising cybersecurity awareness for businesses and consumers. November is coming up, but the focus on Internet security should be all year-round. We’ve pulled together some takeaways from some of the industry’s leading experts on the topics of cybersecurity, cyberattacks and data protection.
“Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated. Large organizations, and even the federal government, have recently felt the sting of numerous attacks – illustrating the evolving and increasingly complex landscape we are living in,” said Lex Boost, CEO of hosting provider Leaseweb USA. “From a hosting perspective, it is important to ensure that you identify the correct service or services for your security needs. It could be a web application firewall, which mitigates complex attacks on an application level, a managed cybersecurity solution, which offers a team of cyber security experts at your finger-tips, or a DDoS IP protection, which is a hardware-based service that uses scrubbing centers worldwide to recognize incoming DDoS attacks and reroute malicious traffic. And, the right partner will tailor the best solution(s) to combat the threats your organization is most likely to face. While cybersecurity awareness month is only a month long, it is important to remember that cybersecurity awareness is an everyday job”.
“Just because a store uses encryption does not mean that once they have your data that it is kept secure. Avoid smaller unknown sites that may or may not have the proper level of security for your data,” said Harold Sasaki, Senior Director, IT and TechOps, WhiteHat Security. “Larger established companies also usually have a well-defined process for disputing purchases that may be fraud. Keep an eye on your credit card statements for unauthorized charges, even at stores you normally shop at. Use multi-factor authentication when possible. If a website or app allows for multi-factor authentication, the hassle is worth the extra level of security. This is usually in the form of a code that comes to your registered phone or email address. These are key considerations we all need to make this month – and every day – to keep our data, and in turn, our employers’ data, safe.”
“Securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices and data for business use cases is one of the hottest topics during Cyber Security Awareness Month this year,” said Todd Kelly, CSO, Cradlepoint. “IoT devices and routers are a major source of attacks for cybercriminals and nation state attackers. According to Symantec, in 2018, 75% of botnets were router focused. With the expanding diversity of business IoT use cases along with their associated IoT devices, architectures, vendors, management platforms and disparate security capabilities, customers should look to invest in enterprise IoT platforms to simplify the number of tools, devices and architectures needed to meet the business benefits for IoT use cases in the enterprise while reducing cyber risk.”
“Using existing network-based security solutions may not be sufficient,” added Mr. Kelly. “Instead, organizations should look at using expert cloud-based management platforms and software-defined perimeter technologies, which effectively address the security risks inherent in IoT deployments and provide network-wide policies and visibility. IoT security will remain one of the most important enterprise security issues for many years to come. But while businesses should always be mindful of potential threats, by addressing these early and with the right technology, they can be confident in their IoT deployments now and into the future.”
MSPs, Cybersecurity Technologies
“Recent cyberattacks on major companies like Sprint, Capital One and Experian continue to show how the threat landscape is complex and sophisticated. In fact, the US Signal 2019 State of Web and DDoS Attacks survey revealed that 83 percent of organizations have experienced a cyberattack within the last two years and 30 percent said that it caused around 20 hours of downtime,” said Trevor Bidle, Vice President of Information Security and Compliance Officer, US Signal. “Many organizations are turning to managed service providers to help implement, monitor and maintain a mixture of cybersecurity technologies, including cloud-based firewalls, DDoS protection and email security. In addition, 97 percent of participating organizations scan and test for vulnerabilities within their web applications.”
“The recent number of organizations that are experiencing cyberattacks is jarring,” added Mr. Bidle. “The survey brings to light that there is always room for improvement in keeping up with modern cyberthreats. National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a great opportunity to remind companies of the need for more robust security tools and managed services to help resource-strapped technical teams year-round”.
“Ransomware has become an increasingly concerning issue for individuals and businesses alike, especially in the last few years. And, as the volume of data increases, so will the frequency and intensity of attacks,” said Alan Conboy, Office of the CTO, Scale Computing.
“In fact, ransomware attacks increased by 118 percent across all industries in the first quarter of 2019, according to a recent McAfee report. These kinds of brazen, disruptive attacks on IT infrastructure shows why events, such as the upcoming National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, are vital to promote better protecting mission-critical data against ransomware.”
“There are simple steps and actions you can take to protect your business, personal information and assets from attacks,” added Mr. Conboy. “For example, implement a data protection, disaster recovery and business continuity strategy, utilizing a fully integrated anti-ransomware defense powered by machine learning models, proactively detecting and preventing ransomware attacks before they occur. It is also important to invest in IT infrastructure that delivers enhanced data protection, with archiving and threat mitigation to provide a robust disaster recovery plan”.
“Almost all of the huge breaches we read about in the news involve attackers leveraging stolen user credentials to gain access to sensitive corporate data. This presents a significant problem for security teams,” said Steve Gailey, Head of Solutions Architecture, Exabeam. “Identifying changes in the behavior of valid credentials is the key to successfully uncovering an attack. But in an age of alert overload, security teams are often overwhelmed and can struggle to make sense of the data in front of them.”
“Applying User and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA) to the data already collected within most organizations can help security teams connect the dots and provide a useful profile of network user activity,” added Mr. Gailey. “By connecting the dots and creating a map of a user’s activities, even when the identity components are not explicitly linked, security teams can create baselines of normal behavior for every user on the network. This makes it easier to identify when a user’s activity requires further investigation. It may not stop you being breached, but it will tell you about it before the damage is done.”
“Cyber-criminals often exploit vulnerabilities in employee emails, so it is crucial to have the right cyber-defenses in place to avoid a disaster where customer data, and a lot of money, could be at risk,” said Avi Raichel, CIO, Zerto. “Having an extensive tiered security model and instilling a strong cybersecurity-aware culture across all employees will help minimize risk. But, the attack itself is only half of the problem because, without sufficient recovery tools, the resulting outage will cause loss of data and money, as well as reputational harm.
In the event of any disaster, businesses should utilize tools that allow them to roll back and recover all of their systems to a point in time just before an attack. This level of disaster recovery is paramount, as employee emails continue to exist at the core of most businesses, they remain a standing target for ever-sophisticated cybercriminals.”
“While there are all kinds of complex products and technologies companies use to protect themselves – many of them excellent – the fact is, most ransomware attacks can be prevented by an easy-to-deploy process,” said John Ford, CISO at ConnectWise. “The simplest thing SMBs can do to protect themselves from cyber-threats is to enable multifactor authentication. Essentially, that means having more than just a password.”
“Most people use it all the time and never even think about it. For instance, when logging into your bank account from something other than your primary computer, and the bank sends a text message to your phone with a code,” added Mr. Ford. “You enter the code and you’re in. That’s all multifactor authentication is. In cybersecurity, we call it ‘something you have and something you know.’ Yet, multifactor authentication has only recently become widely adopted, despite having been around close to 20 years.”