Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Chief Security Officers (CSOs) have become integral parts of the boardroom to ensure disruption-free business operations.
Modern enterprises that have successfully digitally transformed their operations have exposed their IT infrastructure to various sophisticated cyber threats and vulnerabilities. The theme of cybersecurity month 2022 is ‘see yourself in cyber,’ which demonstrates the importance of the people aspect in securing the IT infrastructure against cyber threats.
According to a recent report, Cyber-crime: number of compromises and victims in U.S. 2005-H1 2022 by Statista published in 2022, the total number of data compromises in the first half of the year was nearly 817 cases which affected more than 53 million individuals. The sensitive data of these users was breached, leaked, or exposed to various threats and malicious actors. Organizations that do not have effective cybersecurity posture and tools implemented can have devastating impacts on business operations, finances, and legal litigations. Even one small security or data breach incident can have severe repercussions on business continuity. These cybersecurity incidents or data breaches can be the worst nightmares of CISOs or CSOs.
IBM’s recent report titled “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022” suggests that approximately 83% of the survey respondents have witnessed at least one data breach in their organization. The report also suggests that reaching an all-time high, the average cost of a data breach was around USD 4.35 million in 2022. The figures this year have witnessed a surge of 2.6% since 2021 and nearly 12.7% since 2020. CISOs and CSOs of modern enterprises need to have a strategic cybersecurity posture and governance policies to secure and maintain their critical assets from various threats.
Following are a few biggest challenges of today’s SecOps teams that can be the worst nightmares of their professional life:
The Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) landscape has revolutionized business models to its core. Modern enterprises have easy access to advanced tools and functionalities without a need for in-house talent or infrastructure to deploy and maintain these tools. Not only businesses but the as-a-Service business model has become a boon for cybercriminals.
Cybercrime-as-a-Service is a flourishing business model that mirrors the high-tech companies to enable malicious threat actors with robust technology, infrastructure, and services to accomplish full-blown sophisticated cyber-attacks on the target. All the attackers can leverage these services to strengthen their capabilities to penetrate any business network and move laterally into the network.
The cybercrime marketplace has grown into a managed service industry that cybercriminals can use as a pay-per-use or pay-per-subscription model. These threat actors today do not even require the skillsets, infrastructure, or tools to accomplish their malicious intent. Cybercrime-as-a-Service even enables attackers to rent botnets to execute a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack and strengthen their phishing strategies.
“A major component of the current threat landscape is phishing. To overcome this widespread risk that has the potential to impact all digital businesses, organizations must embrace cybersecurity education and best practice as an integral part of their business strategy,” says Andrew.
Ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks
Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) business models are also flourishing exponentially. Cybercriminals today have easy access to advanced ransomware and phishing kits that they can leverage to easily penetrate business networks. A recent report by CrowdStrike titled “2022 global threat report” witnessed an 82% increase in ransomware-related data leaks in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Cybercriminals can leverage any strategy to use as a vector to infiltrate the business network, restrict the organization’s access to data, govern the data, and monetize it. Post the initial penetration into the IT infrastructure, ransomware attackers can move laterally into the shared business network, servers, systems, and other tools.
Ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks can be a potential nightmare for unprepared CISOs and CSOs in the current threat landscape. Another whitepaper published by Proofpoint titled “2022 Voice of the CISO” suggests that nearly 50% of the global CISOs feel their organization is unprepared to manage a cyberattack. SecOps teams need to leverage advanced cybersecurity tools and governance policies to proactively monitor the entire business network, identify threats early, and mitigate them to keep sensitive data secure.
Another worst nightmare that CISOs and CSOs related to the organization’s security come across, is from trusted insider threats. One of the most difficult challenges for SecOps teams is to identify the insider threats in their organization. The challenge becomes even worse when it comes to managing users with privileged access to sensitive information and critical assets. Insider threats can be both the entire workforce on the business network and all the third-party applications integrated into the IT infrastructure. The recent report published by Verizon titled “2021 data breach investigations report” suggests that insider threats are responsible for approximately 22% of security incidents. Insider threats can cause harm intentionally or with malicious intentions but might have serious consequences irrespective of the intentions. The same report by Proofpoint suggests that nearly 56% of the survey respondents consider human error as one of their significant cyber vulnerabilities and threats.
“People are the biggest asset to an organization but also its weakest link. An organization’s entire workforce must be actively engaged in reducing risk to overcome this evolving security challenge. Deploying essential tactics, including password maintenance, frequent cybersecurity training, and regularly installing software updates, can transform an organization’s security posture and proactively prepare them for future threats,” adds Andrew.
CISOs and CSOs can make the most out of the cybersecurity awareness month’s theme, ‘see yourself in cyber,’ to educate the workforce on how to identify suspicious activities in the business network and highlight them to the right channels.