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2016 Predictions: Amit Yoran, RSA

Amit Yoran, President of RSA | Jan. 11, 2016
Amit Yoran’s, President of RSA, discusses the changing security landscape and the emerging trends that the industry and organisations need to be ready for in 2016.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

2015 was most notably characterised by security vendors claiming to be able to prevent advanced threat breaches when the reality is, they can't. It was characterised by enterprises recognising the need to monitor and defend their digital environments differently, but continuing to center their security programs on the same technologies and approaches they have been using - hoping for a different outcome, but not acting differently.  

2015 saw threats continuing to evolve faster than most organisations' ability to detect and respond to them. What was considered an "advanced" threat in years past has become a commodity today with sophisticated malware and exploits available for the price of a movie ticket. As troublesome as these observations seem, the most impactful evolution goes almost entirely unreported and misunderstood. The threats that matter most, today's pervasive threat actors execute attack campaigns comprised of multiple compromise methods and multiple backdoors to assure persistence. Incomplete incident scoping has become a critical failure point.

We're starting to see progress in some areas as security investments begin to shift from a maniacal focus on prevention, toward greater balance on monitoring, detection, and response capabilities. It's become cliché to say that breaches are inevitable and that faster detection and more accurate incident scoping is the way forward, but too many organisations are trying to do these very different tasks using the technologies and processes they have on hand...not designed nor capable of answering their need. Here are some of the emerging trends that our industry and organizations need to be ready for in 2016:

Strategic Data Manipulation and Disruption

 Organisations will begin to realise that not only is their data being accessed inappropriately, but that it is being tampered with. Data drives decision making for people and computer systems.  When that data is unknowingly manipulated, those decisions will be made based on false data.  Consider the potentially devastating consequences of misrepresented data on the mixing of compounds, control systems, and manufacturing processes.

Increasing Attacks on Application Service Providers

 As organisations become more comfortable with the "as a Service" model, many of their most sensitive applications and data reside in the Cloud. The aggregation of this valuable data from many companies creates an incredibly lucrative target for cybercriminals and cyber espionage. A deeper appreciation of third party risk is needed.

Hacktivism and the Attack Surface

Per my earlier comment, as cyber-attack tools and services become increasingly commoditised, the cost of attacking an organisation is dropping dramatically, enabling more attacks that do not have financial gain as the primary focus. Sophisticated hacktivist collectives like Anonymous have been joined by relatively unsophisticated cyber vigilantes. Organisations need to realise that financial gain is no longer the only or even the biggest driver of some of their adversaries. Security operations and risk managers should evolve their understanding not only of the threat, but also of what, why, where, and how they are being targeted.


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