Busting The Top Four Myths About Hacking

By Torben Andersen, CCO, SMS PASSCODE

Are you protecting your data with just a password? If your answer is no, and you have strong multi-factor authentication in place, then good job: you are free to go out and enjoy the sunshine. If you answered yes, then stick around for a few more minutes to learn why a password alone is not enough to secure access to your corporate networks and applications.

Still here? Okay then, allow me to start by busting some of the typical myths about hacking today.

1# Myth – Hackers only target the big brands
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When big brands like Target, eBay, Adobe, and Sony are hacked, it’s big news for business and mainstream publications. Don’t be fooled: big companies aren’t the only ones being targeted. In fact, research shows that 31 percent of all hacking attacks were aimed at businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

2# Myth – You have nothing valuable for hackers to steal

blog image 2.jpgFair enough. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be storing breakthrough research with the potential to revolutionize your industrythe world if only you can keep it secret long enough to secure a patent. But what about your business email? Email often contains highly sensitive data, such as competitive bids, investment plans or pipeline information. Imagine the damage if these details were to fall into the wrong hands.

There’s even more low-hanging fruit to steal if hackers breach your network. Customer records, credit card information and even employee user credentials are worth as much as $50 USD per record when sold on the Internet. An entire shadow economy has emerged online with brokers selling stolen user records; according to the FBI, cybercrime has become even more profitable than drug-related crimes. This makes everyone a target.

3# Myth – Your anti-virus and network vulnerability tests will keep you safe

blog-image-3Patch management, updated anti-virus applications and frequent network vulnerability tests are all good weapons in a defense against hackers. However if you are not securely authenticating your users when they access your corporate networks or applications, then you’re leaving the front door open for the hackers. Research shows that weak or stolen passwords are exploited in 76 percent of all network breaches. So, yes, this really is the hackers’ preferred way in.

4# Myth – Hackers are teenagers lurking in a basement somewhere

For most of us, the word “hacker” prompts images of pale teenage boys with long hair, black t-shirts and a serious grudge against Microsoft. While many hackers probably still fit this description, the reality is that the hacker has evolved. Today’s hacker is highly-educated, well-connected, and well-equipped, enjoying a high-income profession as a professional cybercriminal. The hackers have some powerful tools at their disposal, and many poorly-protected victims has made hacking easier than ever before, resulting in cybercrime becoming the fastest growing crime type in the world.

Hackers’ motive is most often financial gain, but “hacktivism” is also becoming a growing threat to nations and organizations that don’t sympathize with the hacker’s cause.

Knowing what’s myth and what’s fact is essential to avoid running unnecessary risks to your business. SMS Passcode have created an infographic and short video that capture the key facts from the latest research about the threat companies face from hacks.

Additional Resources:

Privacy Is a Human Right; do you understand your data obligations?

On Thursday we gathered together with clients at information security consultants Blackfoot UK’s head office in London to talk about a trending topic in the IT world today.

Data and Cyber Security Matters in a Post Brexit World.

David Silsby our Sales Director welcomed us on this very chilly morning reiterating the Network Utilities ethos of “Identity should be at the heart of everything we do; the identity of the individual and the device is key! Remembering Who is on your network, What they are trying to access and How is critical to ensuring your network remains secure, fast and compliant.”

Next up was Matthew Tyler, CEO of Blackfoot UK and our keynote speaker for the day. Giving us a time hop into the past where we learned some interesting facts. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) came into effect in 1953 and is an international treaty to protect human rights. The definition of privacy as in Article 8 states “A right for one’s ‘private and family life, his home and correspondence’ to be free from unlawful searches”.  In the UK human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998. Matthew went on to explain how the internet has changed the economics of data and contributed to the erosion of privacy, he also detailed current privacy laws and how Brexit will change the future. Below you can see the 8 principles of the Data Protection Act, governing the use of personal information which we must comply with, unless an exemption applies, the principles state that data must be:

  • Used fairly and lawfully
  • Used for limited, specifically stated purposes
  • Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate
  • Kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
  • Handled according to people’s data protection rights
  • Kept safe and secure
  • Not transferred outside the UK without adequate protection

Data is an extremely powerful tool in today’s business world. Knowing your customer well can create a tailor made customer experience. The future of business intelligence is evolving and we will soon start to see new services and businesses arise to help us harness the power of this business intelligence.

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Protecting your customer’s data has never been more critical

The cost of a data breach can have a huge impact on you and your business including; bankruptcy, reputational damage, legal implications and of course loss of data. You need to have the appropriate security in place depending on the value of the data you hold i.e. credit card details or email addresses. Do you know the value of your data? Do your staff know what risky looks like? And are they fully trained and aware of the implications of clicking on a malicious links, for example? Research tells us you are only as strong as your weakest link, and that in most cases is your staff.

This brings me onto 5 key questions posed by Matthew around what you need to be asking yourself and your business to truly understand the type of data your business holds.

  1. Do we know what data we have?
  2. Do we understand its potential value and the associated risk?
  3. Do we know who could want our data (for good or bad)?
  4. Do we understand where our data is and who can access it?
  5. Do we know what protection our data needs?

The cost of a data breach

The Cost of a Data Breach

* IBM Security 2016 – Cost of a Data Breach Study

If you would like to know more about European regulations and what’s changing in the UK, how to keep your customers data safe and the implications of personal data being lost or misused then you can download Protecting Data and Privacy to get a full overview. Remember you are only as strong as your weakest link!

Will the defenders ever be faster than the attackers?

Our Principal Technology Strategist, Malcolm Orekoya shared his research on the current threat landscape. Did you know that 89% of breaches had a financial or espionage motive?

In order for us to understand cyber security we need to understand the cyber-crime world. These attackers have the same technology advancements that we do and they are always one step ahead. The resources are available for anyone online and you can even pay for “cyber-crime” support. Organised crime is evolving quickly due to underground criminal networks and the so called dark web. The tools are getting smarter and depending on what these criminals are after they will attack in different ways.

“Analysis of known bad malware found that the 91.3% of that malware uses the Domain Name Service (DNS) to carry out campaigns.” Cisco Annual Security Report 2016

There has been an explosion in ransomware and exploit kits are sophisticated. “The Angler exploit kit is one of the largest and most effective exploit kits on the market. It has been linked to several high-profile malvertising (malicious advertising) and ransomware campaigns. And it has been a major factor in the overall explosion of ransomware.” Cisco Annual Security Report 2016

“33% of the malware observed in 2016 research used encryption.” Trustwave Global Security Report 2016

Most legacy platforms cannot see encrypted traffic therefore there is a loss of visibility. Malicious users are aware of this vulnerability and that you don’t have visibility so exploit this lack of visibility to insert their malware into your network. It’s crucial for you to have network visibility in order to be able to effectively apply security policies.

Education

People are your best network defence, but only if they are educated to understand the risks. We advocate creating a data security awareness culture. The one constant factor that exists in all layers of security is the human element. The idea here is to educate people on common threats and their various guises, test their understanding and responses to this education over time, review the results of such tests and then repeat the entire cycle periodically over and over again. You can read Malcolm’s full blog Stop Phishing Attacks – Harness the Power of Your Human Sensor Network – Here.

It’s not if; it’s when!

You need to collaborate to stay ahead of the trends and the cyber security landscape. Think ahead to prevent future attacks. Think of the cost and rewards of investing in your network security vs the risk of not doing so. Ask yourself, can you afford to lose it all when you do get attacked?

SC Magazine recently ran a survey on 900 business and IT decision makers across the UK – EU GDPR – nine out of ten don’t understand it. A staggering 91% of respondents have concerns about their organisation’s ability to comply with GDPR. This regulation will come into effect in 2018 and the penalties will be high, that might seem like a long way away but it’s just around the corner, and you’ll need to be prepared.

Talk to specialists who are confident about compliance and threat prevention. Talk to Network Utilities.

Upcoming events:

We will be hosting another webinar on the 22nd February 2017. To find out more on your obligations and how GDPR will affect you and your organisation join our webinar with information risk, security and compliance specialists Blackfoot. You can register here.

t: 020 8783 3800 e: sales@netutils.com

About Network Utilities
Identity Centric Networks & Security

Network Utilities (Systems) Ltd have been providing identity centric network and security solutions to organisations ranging from Telecoms and ISPs to large corporates and SMEs for over twenty three years. Partnering closely with both industry leading and niche technology vendors to bring customers the best solutions the industry has to offer. Read more at www.netutils.com.

Palo Alto Networks Traps – Endpoint Protection

Traps prevents security breaches!

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Traditional antivirus (AV) is not the solution to endpoint security – it is the problem. AV is no longer effective at stopping today’s cyberthreats and to prevent security breaches in your organization, you must protect yourself not only from known and unknown cyberthreats but also from the failures of any traditional AV solutions deployed in your environment.

Traps replaces traditional antivirus with a proprietary combination of purpose-built malware and exploit prevention methods that protect users and endpoints from both known and unknown threats. With Traps, you prevent security breaches, in contrast to detecting and responding to incidents after critical assets have already been compromised.

The updated release of Traps eliminates the need for traditional AV by enabling you to:

  • Prevent cyber breaches by pre-emptively blocking known and unknown malware, exploits and zero-day threats.
  • Protect and enable your users to conduct their daily activities and use web-based technologies without concern for known or unknown cyberthreats.
  • Automate breach prevention by virtue of the autonomous reprogramming of Traps using threat intelligence gained from Palo Alto Networks WildFire threat intelligence service.

To learn more about Traps and its new updated capabilities download the latest resources from Palo Alto Networks:

  • Solution Brief: Traditional endpoint protection solutions use methods that cannot keep up with the rapidly evolving threat landscape. There’s a new way to approach endpoint security. Prevent breaches – without AV. Advanced Endpoint Protection – Technology Overview
  • Whitepaper: It’s time to replace your traditional antivirus with next-generation endpoint security. But how? Protect Yourself from Antivirus.
  • Datasheet: See how Palo Alto Networks Traps advanced endpoint protection prevents sophisticated vulnerability exploits and unknown malware-driven attacks. Traps Datasheet
  • Dummies Guide: Todays’ sophisticated cyberattacks are designed to inflict maximum damage to an organisations systems and networks, steal sensitive information and render an organisations systems and networks unusable. This guide shows you how to protect your assets. Advanced Endpoint Protection for Dummies.

If you would like to know more about Traps and how Network Utilities can educate and support you please get in touch with our specially trained team.

t: 020 8783 3800 e: sales@netutils.com
www.netutils.com

Credits:
You can read the full blog here written by Michael Moshiri (Director, Product Marketing, Palo Alto Networks).

Other pages of interest:
Palo Alto Networks Raises the Bar for Endpoint Security with Updates to Traps Advanced Endpoint Protection Offering. Read the full blog here.

Independent Authority Certifies that Palo Alto Networks Traps Helps Customers Meet PCI and HIPAA Cybersecurity Requirements. Read the full blog here.

About Network Utilities
Identity Centric Networks & Security

Network Utilities (Systems) Ltd have been providing identity centric network and security solutions to organisations ranging from Telecoms and ISPs to large corporates and SMEs for over twenty three years. Partnering closely with both industry leading and niche technology vendors to bring customers the best solutions the industry has to offer. Read more at www.netutils.com.

Survey Says… Zero-Day Attacks and Evasive Malware are Biggest Risks

We thought you’d be interested in some initial findings from the recent Palo Alto survey of Ignite attendees. The survey uncovered the cybersecurity pain points these event attendees face, what keeps them up at night, and what specific concerns they have for their organisations.

The majority of respondents reported zero-day attacks and evasive malware represent the biggest risks. Social engineering attacks and insider threats are close behind.

Palo_Alto_Bog_ImagePalo Alto emphasised that with so many attacks detection in itself is not enough – prevention is key – stopping these attacks before they damage your brand or steal your valuable customer and corporate data.

Palo Alto deliver…

 ‘…a tightly integrated enterprise security platform that delivers automated prevention against known and unknown threats at every point in the kill chain.’

Download a copy of Cyber Security for Dummies here for hints and tips on the cybersecurity landscape, why traditional security solutions fail and best practices on how to control APTs.

The Harsh Reality of Cyber Protection

Harsh Reality – We Are More At Risk Than Ever

Palo_Alto_BlogHere’s a very useful webinar from our partners at Palo Alto Networks on the Harsh Realities of Cyber Protection.

If you have concerns about your risk to attack join our Ultimate Test Drive Event 15th April, London. Register here.

The endpoint is where the security war is now taking place; attackers are getting more advanced, deploying unknown exploits and unique malware that current day security is simply not equipped to prevent or even detect. Palo Alto Networks walk you through the shortcomings of existing endpoint security, and why it’s leaving your enterprise vulnerable to sophisticated and zero-day attacks, waiting for detection and remediation to step in, which is too little too late.

View the webinar on the Palo Alto website here.