With cyber-risk modelling, security teams can better identify the risks that matter and prioritize remediation in situations that genuinely call for it.
In 2021, there were more cybersecurity vulnerabilities than ever before, with the total number of vulnerabilities reaching an all-time high. In addition to vulnerabilities multiplying at an unprecedented rate, threat actors have become better at utilizing a variety of new malware and exploits to take advantage of them quickly.
Globally, in 2021, malicious threat actors targeted internet-facing systems, such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) servers and email servers, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) alert released in April 2022. Within two weeks of disclosing the vulnerability, researchers released the Proof of Concept (POC) code for a majority of the most exploited vulnerabilities, potentially allowing exploitation by a wider variety of threat actors.
Prioritize Active Threats
This yearly compounding increase in vulnerabilities has a bright side: As strange as it may seem, most businesses probably don’t need to remedy every vulnerability. Furthermore, it is impossible to promptly address all flaws discovered by traditional vulnerabilities scanners because many big firms deal with millions of vulnerabilities.
Traditionally, the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) has been used nearly solely to gauge the seriousness of vulnerabilities. CVSS, however, only offers a broad overview and does not consider how the vulnerability might be exploited within a particular network. Organizations are consequently faced with a considerable number of vulnerability alerts and little visibility into how to prioritize them depending on particular security settings.
Despite a significant increase in cybersecurity breaches over the years, most companies with no breaches adopted a risk-based strategy, which is good news.
Focusing on mitigating the threats that matter is essential for effective risk reduction. Thankfully, cybersecurity leaders are now acknowledging that different vulnerabilities have different risks. SecOps can ruthlessly prioritize the vulnerabilities that need to be addressed to quantifiably lower risk with this new mind-set.
Cyber-Risk Management Modelling
A key component of cybersecurity is risk management, which enables security teams to rank risks according to how likely they are to affect an organization.
Businesses should think about incorporating the following components into the static CVSS for a thorough risk score:
- Exposure: Are the vulnerable asset’s existing security measures protecting it from exposure?
- Exploitability: Are threat actors taking advantage of the vulnerability in the wild?
- Asset importance: Is the asset essential to the mission? Would it reveal sensitive information?
- Financial impact: What will the daily costs to the company be if the system is compromised?
The time has come for organizations to make the most of their data to adopt breach prevention measures that will combat modern cybercrime strategies and counteract the negative consequences of digital transformation. Instead of focusing on the millions of vulnerabilities that aren’t even disclosed, businesses should focus on the active risks that are visible to threat actors and have the power to destroy the company financially.
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