Cyber-security Trends: What to Expect in The Coming Year
Cybercrime is on the rise, according to a new survey from TierPoint partner, Alert Logic. The report found that more than half of the respondents suffered twice as many attacks than the year before and those attacks were of an increasing severity. Cybercrime is also expensive: 44% estimated the financial impact of an undetected data breach to be over half a million dollars.
As cyber criminals increase the volume and sophistication of their attacks, companies need to treat cyber-security as a standard–and critical–part of doing business, like they do legal compliance and cost management. That change in attitude is happening, albeit slowly, according to a panel of three security experts who spoke on The Evolving Cyber-Security Landscape webinar in April. Panelist and lawyer Jennifer Rathburn, partner at Foley Lardner, LLP, noted that boards of directors are gradually becoming more security-savvy and treating cyber-security as a necessary risk management issue.
Rathburn, along with TierPoint’s Chief Security Officer Paul Mazzucco and Scott Lambert, vice president at Alert Logic, talked about the changing attitudes of businesses toward IT security and discussed current and future cyber-security trends. The key developments likely to impact your cyber-security:
- Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will present the biggest challenges to cyber-security. AI and machine learning are helping attackers better identify and evaluate targets, penetrate systems and create more sophisticated methods of attack.
“AI is being used to break down cryptography and to pinpoint what sort of attack vector they want to use given the industry,” noted Mazzucco.
For example, AI bots can scour social media and corporate web sites to identify phishing candidates and create custom messages more likely to be opened and acted upon.
A 2018 report by a coalition including the University of Oxford and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation, predicts that AI-enabled social engineering attacks may cause an “explosion of network penetrations, personal data theft and an epidemic of intelligent computer viruses.”
Fortunately, AI can also help the good guys. Security and managed services providers are adopting AI to improve threat detection and prevention, which is especially critical in volumetric attacks when human analyst simply can’t identify threats fast enough. Mazzucco noted, “We can use AI to more quickly make intelligent decisions about incoming attacks. With AI reducing the false negatives and false positives, it gives us a higher degree of confidence in the data to make decisions about.”
- The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) is having a huge impact on cyber security. Over the past couple of years, as the number of IoT devices has grown, attackers have exploited the potential of these smart devices to create botnets for launching DDOS attacks.
“Back in 2016, we saw this huge surge in volumetric attacks from all the unsecured devices,” said Mazzucco, noting that these devices are found in both consumer and business environments, such as cameras, routers, logistics tracking and medical technology. He estimates the IoT landscape to include 6 or 7 billion devices.
All of that IoT computing capacity is also driving a rise in hijacking of IoT botnets for mining crypto currencies.
“Sometime last year, criminals figured out there was less risk and the same chance of payout by switching the payload objective to borrow computing cycles to mine cyber currencies,” said Mazzucco.
- Finally, expect to see insurance providers mandate better cyber security from their clients.
Insurance policies that cover companies after data breaches may demand better and additional layers of security in order to receive a payout. This could be a catalyst to stronger security standards in more industries.
“Insurers will demand new levels of protection and won’t want to pay out if clients don’t do what they’re supposed to,” said Mazzucco. “On the positive side, the end result will, hopefully, be stronger security.”
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of rules governing and protecting customer data in the EU becomes fully enforceable on Friday, May 25, 2018.
Organizations will need to ensure their people, policies and systems meet the new regulation standards for data protection, or face hefty penalties. The regulation states that any organization with EU citizen data must meet standards set by the regulation. Key standards in the regulation, such as the 72-hour notification, are pushing organizations to adapt to stay compliant. “Under GDPR you have a 72-hour notification requirement, so many organizations are updating their security response plan,” says Jennifer Rathburn. Some organizations are even using Artificial Intelligence to meet that 72-hour notification requirement.