Update 12/16/20: Although this article was written in January, the advice herein has continued to resonate as we continue to tackle the many challenges of this year. The recent news of advanced cyber attacks have prompted many to investigate their overall cyber readiness or lack thereof, a very worthwhile exercise. Don’t go it alone – leverage Fishtech’s industry pioneer expertise, decades of experience, and what’s actually working in our customers’ environments to mature your security program and scale your business instead of being consumed fighting its threats.
For better or worse, the world of cybersecurity is increasingly intertwined with the current events of the day. As cyber criminals continue to evolve in the digital era, we will continue to see an increase in the frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks.
In the last five years alone, there has been a 67% increase in security breaches, with a growing portion of these breaches coming from state actors. Of course, this is why we at Fishtech are so passionate about what we do. The genuinely painstaking but necessary work of cyber experts grows continuously larger in global importance every single day.
In light of several recent international incidents, most notably the recent military action in Iran, we have seen a flood of articles detailing serious cyber-attacks that will be coming our way from various state actors. We’ve received several specific questions about what to do about the potential escalation in cyber conflict.
The news cycle should not be your alert to put the proper practices into place to protect your business.
If it is, that doesn’t make you a bad business owner. At least you care enough to worry about your organization’s security maturity at all! The only thing is, these attacks aren’t new. Many state sponsored actors are operating at various levels of sophistication and have been orchestrating cyber-attacks for years.
While particular threats may be more severe than others, cyber readiness demands constant vigilance. The 24-hour news cycle will ebb and flow with reports of what could be the beginning of an even greater level of intense cyber warfare with devastating effects. Vigilance is key, but shouldn’t similarly ebb and flow, but rather maintain a constant state.
To analyze further, let’s look at some historical context: As Digital Shadow’s Rick Holland recalls, in October 2012, roughly two months after the Saudi Aramco Shamoon wiper attack, then-Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, gave a now-famous speech where he warned about the potential for a “cyber Pearl Harbor.” Do we have a historical reference for an actual “cyber Pearl Harbor”? Not exactly.
At the same time, we have been monitoring fresh intelligence that SOC’s have been experiencing an escalation in spear phishing, scans against companies targeting VPN vulnerabilities, and a myriad of other attack vectors in late 2019 / early 2020.
This isn’t reserved for a single state actor, but multiple at various levels of sophistication. Don’t read this wrong, there have been some clear retaliatory attacks after incidents occur, but nothing so unusual to suggest a “new” devastating cyber weapon has emerged on the scene.
All that being said, no matter your stance on the will-they won’t-they chatter, the threat risks you are experiencing are still greater than zero. Questions around availability, cloud security, and other potential vulnerabilities are very legitimate.
Therefore, the leader who is rightfully concerned about risk (continuously analyzing combinations of threat likelihood, vulnerability, and consequence) needs to be fully prepared for very unique situations and take preventive steps where possible.
So, what’s next?
Our constant focus: helping our clients build out and maintain a set of best practices for the modern enterprise. Whether it’s state actors or individual attackers, the fundamentals of modern cybersecurity still apply.
For example, as Gartner has clearly stated for years, robust detection and response capabilities are at the top of the list. Organizations of all sizes need to make sure the people, process, and technology are in place to respond to any potential attacks. With talent in short supply, and the costs of building an in-house SOC increasing, finding efficient ways to detect, respond, and even proactively threat hunt around the clock can be very difficult.
In addition to fundamentals, we recommend regular penetration testing, vulnerability management, and making sure you have a cyber readiness plan and team in place equipped to deal with every aspect of a security incident, because every second counts.
All of this can help build out a more mature cybersecurity posture moving forward and is not dependent on a single state actor or malicious insider.
Truthfully, you most likely didn’t start your business to be distracted by cyber threats. Out of necessity, many enterprises are having to use more and more resources to keep themselves afloat in this ever-swirling sea of risk.
We believe organizations should be able to spend that precious time and resource doing what they do best however possible. Whether it’s building better automobiles, saving the planet, scaling restaurant franchises, or caring for patients – we want to help.
Fishtech was built from the ground up to alleviate these worries for modern day organizations.
Your focus should be on what you do best: growing your business and running your organization to perform at its’ peak no matter what the news cycle.
These threats aren’t going away – recall the 67% of security breaches in the last five years. One way or another, a solution needs to be found. Are you in this alone? Or, are you ready to work with experts that can make sense of the chaos and use real data with your unique business situation to inform an overarching, scalable, and mature cybersecurity program.
If you are interested in learning more about helping your organization take its’ cyber readiness to the next level, fill out the form below to get connected with one of our expert consultants.