The scam, investigated by cyber-security firm Secureworks, involved deployment of the Vidar infostealer to steal a hotel's Booking.com credentials.
In the recent months, I’ve come across numerous reports and articles that, at least from their headlines, have suggested the gross negligence of cybersecurity by business organizations. I believe that such reports don’t paint a clear picture of the global cybersecurity landscape. In fact, most businesses are aware of the importance of cybersecurity and taking preventive measures to mitigate cybersecurity risks. Considering the fact that the global cybersecurity spend, which currently amounts over $120 billion, is expected to exceed a whopping $300 billion dollars by 2024, I can safely say that businesses — at least a healthy majority of them — are doing their best to secure their digital frontiers.
Most leading global corporations are investing in technologies like Unified Threat Management (UTM) systems and other advanced security solutions to protect their enterprise networks. They are also investing time and resources in making their employees more aware of cybersecurity issues and their role in preventing them. However, most businesses often see cybersecurity enhancement as a one-time exercise. They invest heavily on one-time revamping of their cybersecurity mechanisms and often forget to look into cybersecurity for years. And neglecting cybersecurity for extended periods can increase the vulnerability of enterprise networks and critical business data to not only cyberattacks but also accidental data leaks due to a number of reasons. Following are a few reasons why businesses must view cybersecurity as a continuous process:
Cyber attackers are becoming smarter
While it is true that cybersecurity technology is becoming better and more capable of securing large and complex networks, the same can be said about technologies used to penetrate these systems. Cyber attackers are constantly innovating new methods to circumvent the security systems that are being developed and deployed by businesses. For every new innovation that emerges in the field of cybersecurity, there is a countermeasure developed or vulnerability identified to overcome it. Hence, businesses should always be on their toes when it comes to having the most up-to-date security measures in place.
Cybercrime is constantly evolving every year. A couple of years ago, ransomware was the most feared cyber threat for both businesses and individuals. For the first few months since its emergence, businesses found themselves to be highly ill-equipped to prevent ransomware attacks. Once they started finding technologies and practices to stop ransomware, crypto jacking emerged as the troublemaker for corporations. Now, as the business world is beginning to come up with strategies to prevent crypto jacking, a new form of cyber-attack, form jacking has emerged.
New forms of cyber-attack will always emerge as long as data and digital technology remain an integral part of the world. Thus, businesses should always ensure they are equipped to face any cyber threat and minimize the risk associated with it.
Businesses are becoming interdependent
In this day and age, very few businesses function with complete independence. Most businesses often rely on others businesses to help them deliver their products and services. And when a business grows, the channels of communication it has with external partners also increase. And more such channels of communication a business has with others, the more it becomes vulnerable to attacks and data leaks. When a supply chain grows, the cybersecurity is only as strong as the threat-prevention capability of the most vulnerable organization. Even if most companies belonging to a supply chain are protected with cutting edge security systems, a single unprotected organization or weakly protected connection can prove to be the gateway for attackers to wreak havoc.
Thus, businesses must constantly have cybersecurity on the top of their minds as they scale up their operations and expand their network of partners. While they may not be able to ensure the security of the entire chain, they should at least ensure that they have mechanisms in place to mitigate their own cybersecurity risks. For this they must always look for vulnerabilities in their expanding network and explore ways to minimize threats.
Technology is evolving
Technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are undoubtedly helping businesses to improve their operations. However, they can also offer opportunities for attackers to penetrate businesses’ enterprise networks. IoT endpoints are often unprotected and easy to hack into. And due to the rapid propagation of IoT networks, it is becoming increasingly hard for businesses to secure every weak link in their network. That’s because of the high number of both IoT sensors and handheld devices that businesses are increasingly using.
Enterprises, while adopting newer forms of technology to improve their business processes, should also consider the security implications associated with using these technologies. They should use technologies like unified endpoint management systems to minimize the risks that arise because of the increased mobility.
As businesses continue to digitize more and more of their operations, they should pay more and more attention to securing these digital systems. However, it doesn’t mean that these businesses should invest most of their time and resources on cybersecurity. They should instead look to direct their funds towards initiatives that enable them to do more in terms of maximizing their profits, without having to worry too much about cybersecurity. They should look for unified threat management systems, that can secure business data and networks regardless of the scale. They can prevent harmful entities from gaining access to the system while simultaneously keeping sensitive data protected and within the confines of the organization. They can essentially automate the cybersecurity as an ongoing process and enable them to focus on more value adding activities and projects. They can focus on growth and expansion, while ensuring they don’t lose the most valuable asset they already possess — their data.
(Author Sonit Jain is CEO, Gajshield Infotech)