SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Measure and mitigate risk to build a comprehensive cyber defense

FYI, this story is more than a year old

The vast majority of cyber attacks are preventable. From our 2016 cybersecurity insights survey, more than 90% of attacks are known threats, or their variants, for which software patches already exist. But why does this happen? Are enterprises not aware of their risks, or not able to fill the gaps in their defenses?

Knowing your risks

It is helpful to think of cybersecurity risk as a three-dimensional concept: a function of threat, vulnerability and consequence.

Threats exploit vulnerabilities. AT-T data shows that 90% of US organizations had at least one malware-related incident during 2016, when ransomware and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks soared. Ransomware exploits vulnerabilities in software, giving hackers an entry point to encrypt data and demand payment to unlock it.

DDoS attacks, while traditionally disruptive, are also increasingly being used as leverage for extortion. We also found that 65% of financial services companies had experienced an advanced persistent threat (APT) incident last year. In this scenario, the hacker targets your network and enters without detection to monitor and steal information over an extended period of time, perhaps even years.

Vulnerabilities can be software bugs and design flaws, risky user behavior and other gaps in your cybersecurity defenses. Hackers constantly look for these gaps: the AT-T network detects 5 billion vulnerability scans a day, and blocks malicious scans and malware events to protect customers. In 2016, 80% of organizations reported at least one security incident caused by an insider, often inadvertently via an unsecure Wi-Fi network, for example.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are a growing vulnerability. Gartner estimates 20.4 billion connected things will be in use by 2020. While most are open to attack today, there will be more connected things to secure in a few years. Enterprises can also be made more vulnerable through growth by acquisition, and by asset digitalization and cloud adoption, if these are not carefully handed.

Consequences encompass legal measures, asset losses and brand impact, though the latter is hard to measure. If your CEO has her phone hacked and it contains work-related emails so that sensitive customer or employee data is lost or compromised, disclosure may be legally required, but what would this do to your corporate reputation?

Every business has a different level of risk. For some, compliance issues loom large; for others, cloud adoption is an unnecessary complication. What is true for all, however, is that while threats are often beyond our control, vulnerabilities can be managed and reduced. We can mitigate and transfer risk, but not eliminate it completely.

Evolving your approach

The threat landscape is changing as organizations become more digital, transition to software-defined networking (SDN), and rapidly adopt cloud and IoT technology and mobile devices. Security measures need to evolve in tandem. To manage existing and new risks demands new solutions and new security skillsets. In this environment, adaptive security is now coming into its own and offers a continuous response. It has three components:

  • Contextual awareness. Collecting information from different sources enables you to make more accurate decisions faster.
  • Automation. When change comes as quickly as it does today, while experienced security expert is still a key factor for reducing false positives, automation does improve detection and response time significantly to contain the loss or destruction.
  • Integration. Security silos are a sweet spot for motivated cyber criminals. Security solutions need to be integrated.

At AT-T, for example, we work with more than 90 organizations to collect threat intelligence and we apply machine learning to this data to help us identify attacks immediately, or in some cases, to see them coming. We are also in the midst of transitioning to SDN to provide a faster response and more integrated solutions for customers: 75% of our network should be virtualized by 2020.

Defending against threats

To begin building a comprehensive cyber defense, enterprises need to first review and prioritize current risks to provide a direction for security investment. In our experience, web and email are two key areas that every business, no matter what size, needs to pay more attention to. Regular patching and backups, highly secure access control and having an incident response plan in place are fundamentals that you cannot ignore.

With an understanding of your known risks, you can then consider your upcoming business plans to determine what may need to be done now to ensure that these do not compromise security. For example, an IoT project will increase risk. However, a multi-layered approach to security that protects data in transit and at rest, from the IoT endpoint to the application, helps reduce vulnerability to mitigate this risk.

Expert support can be of great value in evaluating threats, predicting risk, reducing vulnerability and preparing to react quickly and effectively when threats materialize. 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Continuous attack attempts discovered on Atlassian Confluence zero day
Following a coordinated disclosure of a zero-day vulnerability by Volexity in Atlassian Confluence, attackers went wild to exploit it.
Story image
Ransomware
Commonwealth tackling rising cybercrime threat in Asia
Ransomware, identity theft, and virtual security attacks identified as growing threats to security and economic growth.
Story image
Malware
Mandiant uncovers malware ecosystem deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems
Mandiant research has uncovered a novel malware ecosystem that was found deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems by an advanced and suspected China nexus threat actor.
Story image
Microsoft
Yubico research finds concerning trends around authentication security practices
A new global survey from Yubico has found that 59% of employees still rely on usernames and passwords as the primary method to authenticate their accounts.
Story image
Apple
Jamf shows intent to acquire mobile security firm ZecOps
This acquisition positions Jamf to help IT and security teams strengthen their organisation’s mobile security posture.
Story image
Work from home
Jamf showcases new products to simplify and secure work
At the 13th annual Jamf Nation User Conference, the company shared how its continuous product innovation is helping organisations succeed with Apple.
Story image
Network Management
Fortinet introduces enhanced AIOps across its gateways
FortiAIOps builds on Fortinet's rich history of developing artificial intelligence to deliver actionable network insights for self-optimising management.
Story image
Kaspersky
Cybersecurity loopholes prevalent in South East Asia
In terms of the share of vulnerabilities with publicly available exploits, three countries out of top five are located in Southeast Asia.
Story image
Enterprise
Delinea shares the importance of PAM, partners and security for modern enterprise
Identity-based security is becoming a crucial tool for modern enterprises as they continue to adapt to different working environments.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from SearchInform
Val Novoselova joins us today to to discuss new trends in the information security space, and how SearchInform is adapting to some of the new trends we are seeing.
Story image
Malware
Decrease in malware volume, but surge in encrypted malware
The Q2 Internet Security Report found office exploits continue to spread more than any other category of malware.
Story image
Cybersecurity
StackHawk launches deeper API security test coverage
Expansion of test coverage includes custom scan discovery, custom test scripts and custom test data for REST APIs.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ransomware attacks continue to increase, report finds
Nearly a quarter of businesses have suffered a ransomware attack, with a fifth occurring in the past 12 months.
Story image
Edge Security
Security practices for modernising the “spaghetti” of on-premises IT
Many organisations are wondering how to securely modernise their workload, often made up of a “spaghetti” of on-premises applications and management consoles.
Story image
Firewall
Forrester names Akamai as web application firewall leader
"We continually monitor and improve our capabilities to defend customers from new threats, while enabling customers to protect evolving attack surfaces."
Story image
Virtual Private Network
95% of organisation rely on VPN as threats continue - report
There is a growing number of VPN-specific security threats and a need for Zero Trust security architecture in enterprise-level organisations.
Story image
IT Training
Six ways to transform your cybersecurity training and influence lasting change
If the goal is to win hearts and minds, formal awareness training can fall short and often doesn’t inspire people to care.
Story image
Mobile Device Management
How to easily scale your mobile workforce and devices for the peak shopping season
Retailers are under constant pressure to streamline processes and become more efficient while looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction levels.
Story image
Ransomware
Delinea updates DevOps security, remote access more seamless
New enhancements include development support on the most recent Mac computers and improved secrets' management usability through automation.
Story image
Data Protection
Cloudflare brings Data Localisation Suite to more APAC businesses
This allows any business in these countries to service their data locally while benefiting from the speed, security, and scalability of Cloudflare’s global network.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Fortinet advances AIOps to aid the hybrid workforce
"We’re continuing our commitment to AI innovation by delivering AIOps capabilities across our robust portfolio of enterprise networking technology."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Ordr improves security and management of connected devices
It has implemented more than 80 integrations within the Ordr Data Lake while adding security enhancements to accelerate zero trust segmentation.
Story image
Cybersecurity
De-risking the innovation cycle – a modern, real-time approach to security
Many organisations see cybersecurity as an inhibitor of innovation, with burdensome protection measures standing in the way of progress and speed.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Best practices for industrial cyber resilience
Operational technology (OT) security is gaining more attention than ever before, but sufficient understanding of what it takes to prevent breaches is still lacking amongst many organisations.
Story image
Secure Code Warrior
Secure Code Warrior announces Coding Labs innovation
Coding Labs mechanisms allow developers to move from learning to applying secure coding knowledge more efficiently, leading to fewer code vulnerabilities.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Test your API Security with Infinite API Scanner
The effectiveness of API scanning technology can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful programming outcomes, and often enterprises and IT leaders struggle to get it right.
Story image
Data Protection
99% of security experts unhappy with tokenisation investment
Cybersecurity experts are looking for a solution that provides the strength of tokenisation while removing the friction that has accompanied it in the past.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Varonis adds secrets discovery to data classification
The data security firm announces enhancements that detect and remediate overexposed private keys, encryption certificates, API keys, and authentication tokens.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Enterprises yet to fully commit to cybersecurity - CompTIA
“Digital transformation driven by cloud and mobile adoption requires a new strategic approach to cybersecurity, but this poses significant challenges."
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud security driving need for deep observability
Gigamon is bringing application and network-level intelligence together to help network, security, and cloud IT operations teams eliminate security blind spots.
Story image
Malware
Cybereason delivers nation-state level of protection to enterprises
Cybereason has announced new advancements in Cybereason NGAV that deliver nation-state level protection for organisations of all sizes.
Story image
Legacy
Trellix enables greater cyber resiliency with extended XDR platform
"Legacy SIEM technology has failed to modernise security operations. We are confident Trellix XDR fills this critical gap.”
Aws Marketplace
Learn how to implement a backup and recovery plan for a new generation of Kubernetes-based modern applications
Link image
Story image
Cloud
How modern IT architectures are moving beyond network visibility
Dealing with multiple cloud providers makes it difficult to identify security threats and performance bottlenecks and troubleshoot issues.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Macroeconomic headwinds driving security up priority list
Current macroeconomic headwinds are driving security up enterprise’s priority list and reshaping the hardware Security Module market.
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Phishing
Vectra Protect team finds Microsoft Teams vulnerability
The Vectra Protect team identified a post-exploitation opportunity in August, allowing malicious actors to steal valid user credentials from Microsoft Teams.
Story image
Malware
Kaspersky uncovers new malicious malware NullMixer
Kaspersky researchers have uncovered a new malware stealing users credentials, address, credit card data, cryptocurrencies, and accounts.
Story image
Threat intelligence
Trellix advances threat intelligence with new research centre
Trellix has announced the establishment of the Trellix Advanced Research Center to advance global threat intelligence.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Employees unsure who to go to to report security incident
A new study shows more than 20% of the untrained global workforce do not know who to contact during a security breach.
Story image
Cloud Security
75% of AU companies had cloud security incident in past year
According to new Venafi research, complexity is due to increase, as companies plan to host more applications in the cloud.