Business confidence in managing cyber security threats low

Business digital transformation and cyber security threats have outpaced enterprise security capacity, a survey has revealed

Business digital transformation and cyber security threats have outpaced enterprise security capacity, a survey has revealed

An average of 40% of organisations experienced five or more significant security incidents in the past 12 months, according to the survey report by digital threat management firm RiskIQ.

The most cited external threats included malware, ransomware, phishing, domain and brand abuse, online scams, rogue mobile apps, and social impersonation.

In the face of these threats, 70% of respondents said they had little or no confidence in reducing their digital attack surface, expressing the least confidence in threats against web, brand and ecosystem assessment.

The majority of those surveyed are aware some of their digital security measures are immature or ineffective, with only 31% expressing high confidence in the likelihood their organisations can mitigate or prevent digital threats despite all respondents increasing their near-term digital security spend.

More than half of survey respondents expect their near term digital defence investment to increase between 15% to 25% or more.

Correspondingly, nearly half of respondents view cyber threat intelligence as ‘very important’, and all respondents saw cyber threat intelligence tools as being ‘very important’or ‘somewhat important’- especially in fortifying research and reducing time to respond to external threats.

However, confidence in capacity to address digital threats appears to be higher in the UK, with UK respondents seeing more value than US counterparts in the ability for cyber threat intelligence and digital threat management tools in reducing time to remediate threats.

In terms of industry sectors, the survey shows digital threat management appears more progressive among organisations in financial services, manufacturing and consumer goods in terms of overall expenditure.

Larger companies felt they were better able to update control systems and collaborate across departments perhaps showing the benefits of scale and smaller companies felt best able to inform others about the status of external attacks, perhaps reflecting the benefits of having a smaller base to worry about.

Nearly a quarter of healthcare and pharmaceutical respondents felt little to no confidence in their ability to assess digital risk.

Outsourcing the cyber security risks

In an attempt to mitigate the cyber security risks organisations are outsourcing a third of digital threat management tasks to managed security service providers (MSSPs), and outsourcing looks set to grow by nearly 13% in compound annual growth rate by 2019.

The survey shows the UK is growing faster in its plans to outsource digital threat management tasks to MSSPs, with an expected year-on-year growth rate for the UK of 17% compared with just 11% in US.

‘The independent research provides a useful litmus test for the level of exposure, controls and investment regarding external web, social and mobile threats among global industries,’ said Scott Gordon, chief marketing officer at RiskIQ.

‘The findings validate the need for enterprises to leverage cross-channel intelligence, automation and resource optimisation as they build out digital defences to reduce operational and reputational risk.’

So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a cyber incident please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email or complete the form on our contact page NOWContact Cyber 139

No one system is a complete cyber security solution

Whilst it may be simple to claim a complete cyber security solution- the reality is somewhat different.

Whilst it may be simple to claim a complete cyber security solution- the reality is somewhat different.

There are no shortage of companies out there making claims that there is a universal solution to security- after all it makes for a good marketing message, but unfortunately, in practice there is no one complete cyber security solution.

What key things should organisations be doing in terms of cyber defences to ensure they are robust and resilient?

Determining which practices, controls and countermeasures will work best in a given organisation is based on that organisation’s own needs: what works for it culturally, the level of risk that its business is subject to, and so on.

For example, the security techniques and methods that work best for a large hospital might be very different from what would work best for a corner shop retailer ñ and more different still from a government agency or large financial institution. So, answering the question what should organisations do? is a bit more nuanced than it might seem on the surface.

In Cyber 139’s opinion, there are two things every organisation should be doing: risk management and intelligence gathering.

Risk management is the process of figuring out which risks the organisation needs to address, and putting measures in place to find them, track them, mitigate them, and make sure they stay mitigated going forward.

Likewise, intelligence gathering, particularly of the threat environment -what the bad guys might be interested in and how they might attack -informs the risk management process directly.

Both of these areas are systematic processes rather than solutions that can be bought off the shelf, so the good news is that no special equipment is required to accomplish this.

However, doing these things well and comprehensively takes discipline, planning and preparation.

For ransomware specifically, one very helpful measure is to conduct a pre-planning tabletop exercise to ensure that individuals in the organisation are prepared for a ransomware event.

For example, think through your response and discuss specific decision points ahead of time rather than when the heat is on during an actual incident.

The normative position of law enforcement (and most security practitioners) is not to pay the ransom -it can cause a criminal to ‘retarget’ the organisation down the road, and only sometimes will the attacker actually make good if the ransom is paid.

However, this can be a more difficult stance to take in the heat of an incident: the dollar amount can seem small compared with the impact of the ransomware. Decisions like this are best thought through in advance.

In terms of limiting the impact of cyber attacks in general and recovering quickly, tabletop and planning exercises are again a good idea, as is a systematic risk management process.

Beyond these, helpful practices can include building capabilities to understand and react to the threat environment -in particular, keeping tabs on big ticket events such as ongoing malware or ransomware attacks – as well as testing the organisationís defensive posture through vulnerability assessment, penetration testing and other techniques that allow an organisation to systematically measure its defences.

So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a cyber incident please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email or complete the form on our contact page NOWContact Cyber 139

Wannacry cyber security money laundering attempt thwarted

The Wannacry cyber security ransomware hackers have tried to conceal who they are by using a virtual currency that is more anonymous than Bitcoin.

Wannacry cyber security money laundering attempt thwarted

Victims paid more than £107,000 in bitcoins to recover files scrambled by Wannacry.

Earlier this week the gang behind the attack started to move the bitcoins out of the wallets they were paid into.

But the operators of the exchange they used to swap the bitcoins have now frozen the accounts they used.

Wannacry caught out thousands of firms around the world when it infected computers on corporate networks and encrypted their files, making them useless.

Victims were told to pay between £229 and £458 in bitcoins to have their files unscrambled and return computers to a working state.

Many security experts believed the money paid into three bitcoin wallets set up by the Wannacry creators would never be moved, because there was so much attention focused on who was behind the attack.

Moving the cash might expose key details about the attackers that could be used to track them down.

Whilst no one knows who owns the 3 accounts- the details of the acounts are known to the blockchain community as they can track the specific accounts.

But the bitcoins were moved earlier this week and some were piped to an exchange network called in an attempt to convert them to another virtual currency called Monero.

The Monero crypto-currency was set up to be more anonymous than Bitcoin and seeks to hide as much information as possible about every transaction.

The Wannacry gang is believed to have chosen for the digital cash transfer because the service can be used without signing up for an account.

However, the attempt to launder the cash via the platform seems to have been thwarted soon after Shapeshift was told what was happening.

Shapeshift said it would block any further attempts to change the Wannacry bitcoins into Monero or any other crypto-currency.

So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a cyber incident please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email or complete the form on our contact page NOWContact Cyber 139

UK calls for smart car cyber protection

Internet connected cars will have to be better protected from cyber attackers

Internet connected cars will have to be better protected from cyber attackers

The Department for Transport (DOT), has issued guidance that includes eight principles for future UK use.

The DOT in conjunction with Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), wants eight principles for use throughout the automotive sector for connected and autonomous vehicles, intelligent transport systems, and their supply chains.

‘While smart cars and vans offer new services for drivers, it is feared potential hackers could target them to access personal data, steal cars that use keyless entry, or even take control of technology for malicious reasons,’ the guidelines state.

The eight principles set out how vehicle manufacturers can make sure cyber security is properly considered at every level, from designers and engineers, through to suppliers and senior-level executives.

The measures are aimed at ensuring engineers developing smart vehicles toughen up cyber protections and design out cyber security risks.

In announcing the guidelines, the government highlighted the ìbroader programme of workî announced in the Queenís speech in June 2017 under the Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Bill that aims to create a new framework for self-driving vehicle insurance.

The legislation, the government said, will put the UK at the centre of the new technological developments in smart and autonomous vehicles, while ensuring safety and consumer protection remain at the heart of the emerging industry.

The measures to be put before Parliament, the government said, mean that insuring modern vehicles will provide protection for consumers if technologies fail.

The government said measures, alongside the guidelines for manufacturers to make smart cars cyber secure, are aimed at making the UK a world-leading location for research and development for the next generation of vehicles. This forms part of the governmentís drive to ensure the UK harnesses the economic and job-creating potential of new tech industries.

Eight principles of vehicle cyber security

Organisational security is owned, governed and promoted at board level.
Security risks are assessed and managed appropriately and proportionately, including those specific to the supply chain.
Organisations need product aftercare and incident response to ensure systems are secure over their lifetime.
All organisations, including sub-contractors, suppliers and potential third parties, work together to enhance the security of the system.
Systems are designed using a defence-in-depth approach.
The security of all software is managed throughout its lifetime.
The storage and transmission of data is secure and can be controlled.
The system is designed to be resilient to attacks and respond appropriately when its defences or sensors fail.

Transport minister Martin Callanan said it is important that smarter and self-driving technologies are protected against cyber attacks.

‘That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry. Our key principles give advice on what organisations should do, from the board level down, as well as technical design and development considerations,’ he said.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, welcomed the government initiative: ìWeíre pleased that government is taking action now to ensure a seamless transition to fully connected and autonomous cars in the future and, given this shift will take place globally, that it is championing cyber security and shared best practice at an international level.î

Hawes said autonomous vehicles promise to reduce road accidents dramatically and save thousands of lives. ìA consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first ñ and safest ñ of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology,î he said.

In July 2015, the government announced a £20 million fund to research and develop driverless car technology in the UK, launched a joint policy team to co-ordinate cross-departmental work, and established a non-statutory code of practice to help ensure public safety.


SMEs failing to address cyber security threats despite risks

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are failing to prepare adequately to address cyber security threats – despite the growing risks.

SMEs failing to address cyber security threats despite risks

Despite the WannaCry and Petya global cyber attacks, only 42% of SME IT decision makers polled in the UK, US and Australia are concerned about ransomware.

In fact, ransomware ranked lowest among concerns, with new of malware infections topping the list, followed by mobile and phishing attacks, according to a survey commissioned by security firm Webroot.

However, Webroot’s threat research from June 2017, which is based on data from a variety of businesses, reveals that more than 60% of companies have already been affected by ransomware, with the financial and retail sectors being hit the hardest.

In the UK, the research highlighted a false sense of security among IT decision makers. Even though 72% of UK respondents admit their businesses are not prepared to address external threats, 87% are confident their staff would be able fully address or eliminate an issue.

According to the survey report, when a business suffers a cyberattack, the consequences are felt both internally and externally.

Almost 58% of UK respondents, compared with 65% globally, believe it would be more difficult to restore the company’s public image than to restore employee trust and morale.

Underscoring the need for proactive security solutions, respondents estimate a cyber attack on their business where customer records or critical business data were lost would cost an average of £737,677 in the UK compared with an overall average of £773,483.

SMEs typically face the same threats as bigger organisations, but lack the same level of expertise and other security resources.

Addressing the growing threat, nearly all respondents plan to increase their annual IT security budget in 2017 compared to 2016, according to the report.

SME with 100 to 500 employees currently manage IT security in various ways, the survey revealed. In the UK, 22% of SMEs have in-house employees who handle IT security along with other responsibilities, compared with the average of 20%.

A third of UK SMEs use a mix of in-house and outsourced IT security support, compared with an average of 37%, while 25% have a dedicated in-house IT security professional or team, compared with 23% on average.

In the UK, 92% of respondents believe outsourcing IT solutions would protect their organisation against threats and increase their bandwidth to address other areas of their business, compared with an average of 90%.

Using a third party cyber security provider

Among businesses that do not currently outsource IT security, 82% of UK SMEs will likely use a third-party cyber security provider in 2017, compared with an average of 80%, which represents a big opportunity for managed security service providers (MSSPs), the report said.

The lack of planned investment in cyber defences is surprising in the face of increased attacks, the costs associated with those attacks, and the fact strong cyber security has the potential to give SMEs an opportunity to stand out from competitors, with as many as one in 20 claiming to have gained an advantage over a competitor because of stronger cyber security credentials.

So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a cyber incident please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email or complete the form on our contact page NOWContact Cyber 139