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Three cybersecurity trends organisations cannot afford to overlook

Brandon Tan, Principal Security Consultant & Office of the CISO, Forcepoint | Dec. 22, 2016
Organisations need to take considerable actions to overcome data breaches.

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.

Data breaches are happening globally, and organisations (especially in Asia Pacific), should be sitting up and considering action. According to Deloitte's Cyber Vulnerability Index, the Asia-Pacific average ranked higher than the World average, with the "Cyber Five" - consisting of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea - judged to be nine times more vulnerable to cyber-attacks relative to their larger Asian counterparts China and India.

Many Asian organisations are ill-equipped to defend their networks from cyber-attacks simply because they've grown complacent that attacks will not happen to them. There is a general assumption that because the organisation has not experienced a breach, they are either doing the right thing, or are not a target (and therefore would continue not to be), or both. As cyber-security continues to evolve and shift, awareness has to come from within an organisation, so that cyber-security is acknowledged and prioritised by employees at all levels (including those not just in IT); this will enable enterprises to truly protect themselves.

Here are three main trends that organisations can't afford to overlook.

  • Insider threats

It's best to assume that anyone and everything is an insider and, therefore, a potential insider threat. In the same way, everyone can also be a potential victim. This state of vigilance would serve modern enterprises far better than broken cyber-defense models centered on "keeping bad stuff out."

Employees have elevated access to information systems and the data contained within these systems. These privileged users pose a greater risk to organisations, and have been found at the root of some of the most high-profile breaches in past years; one example is the South Korean Credit Bureau breach which exposed the personal information of 40% of all South Koreans, thanks to a worker with access to various databases at the company copying data onto an external drive over the course of 18 months.

Alibaba recently fired some of its employees after they "hacked into the internal sales system" to order more than their fair share of some highly-prized mooncakes made available only to employees.

An insider threat is not limited to these malicious insiders. More often than not, the insider is the well-meaning but careless employee who may be more focused on productivity than protecting the company's sensitive or confidential information.

  • Ransomware

The Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team noted a noticeable rise in ransomware infections in both Singapore and overseas. Ransomware is a type of malware that holds a victim's files, computer system or mobile device "hostage", restricting access until a ransom is paid. It spreads via malicious email attachments, infected programmes and compromised websites. Ransomware relies on the end-user paying a fee to retrieve their data or system access, and this ransom demand can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.


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