By Ronald Sens, EMEA Director for A10 Networks
As the number of connected devices and systems grow, so does the number of threats we have to defend against. At the 2018 US Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit held in June, many security professionals visited our stand, and we heard their concerns around the current state of the cyber security world. There were certain issues that appeared more than others and below I have summarised these.
Cryptocurrency was widely talked about, as were fears around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and all the solutions needed to stay compliant. Lastly delegates wanted to know how security plays a role in the digital transformation of an enterprise and in particular the ‘insider threat’ was also discussed. After ruminating on these questions and providing some instant feedback at the event, we thought it was a good idea to share our thoughts more widely.
So, here are our thoughts on the top three questions we heard most frequently:
1. Cryptocurrency is a major deal
Cryptocurrency has become a major deal throughout 2018. Late last year we predicted that cryptocurrency would become a bigger focus of cyber-crime in 2018 and this has certainly been the case. In February, BitConnect, a cryptocurrency lending and exchange platform, announced it would shut down, and partially said a string of website paralysing DDoS attacks contributed to its closure. BitConnect isn’t alone. Other large exchanges, including Bitfinex and Bittrex, saw their services sidelined by DDoS attacks late last year.
And those attacks followed a massive attack during the launch of Bitcoin Gold, which rendered the site inaccessible, and the takedown of the Poloniex exchange, which ground trading to a halt. The main reason behind the spike in DDoS attacks against cryptocurrency businesses is simple: cryptocurrency is becoming more popular and more valuable.
Attackers want to disrupt the high traffic sites and deny users access to services and their money. And because trading happens in real time, any moment of downtime can be catastrophic. That, coupled with cryptocurrency being decentralised and not tied to or backed by a government, makes it an attractive target for attackers.
To combat the threat organisations must leverage the latest security solutions to stand up to DDoS attackers, and that goes double for cryptocurrency exchanges, which are currently prime targets. It’s imperative that companies leverage DDoS defence solutions that can detect, mitigate and report on multi-vector DDoS attacks of any size and any scale. And their DDoS defence solutions should have built-in intelligence of known bots and agents to defend networks against current threats.
2. Uncertainties surrounding the GDPR
There is still a lot of uncertainty around GDPR and the stakes are high for enterprises that interpret the regulation incorrectly. Just months after it came into effect, we are still hearing mind-twisting questions like, “If a user emails us their request to exercise the right to be forgotten, do we have to delete the request?” and “If we can’t keep users’ records, how can we prove we ‘forgot’ someone who asked to be forgotten?” A lot of the questions we were asked should have been directed to in-house counsel.
Security professionals need to leave the nitty-gritty details to the lawyers and instead focus on their current data classification and sharing practices. GDPR came about after numerous data breaches and poor security practices, creating a backlash against many industries. This is what GDPR is trying to prevent so put as much emphasis on data security as you would defending your company’s infrastructure. If you keep your data secure there will be no issues with GDPR.
3. Security’s Role in Digital Transformation
As more enterprises move greater segments of their operations online, the role of IT in defending against cyberattacks is more difficult than ever. It becomes even more challenging when IT departments are forced to tackle the lack of willingness by employees to take precautionary steps against attacks.
According to this year’s AIR research involving more than 2,000 business and IT professionals at companies from various industries around the world, the main challenges IT decision makers face with the rise and complexity of cyberattacks, is the sometimes-careless attitudes of employees who unwittingly introduce new threats into their businesses.
The report revealed that employees often unknowingly weaken cybersecurity with the use of unsanctioned apps: one out of three (37 percent) of employees surveyed say they aren’t familiar with what a DDoS attack is, or even aware of how they could unknowingly become victimised. This data is even more disturbing when almost half (48 percent) of IT leaders say they agree that their employees do not care about following security practices, according to the survey findings. With often poor understanding of corporate security policies, this behaviour increases the risks that come with a growing reliance on disparate and app-dependent workforces, especially when one third (30 percent) of employees surveyed knowingly use apps their companies forbid.
With Digital Transformation continuing to grow in all industries – there is good news: although almost a quarter of IT decision-makers think there will be no improvement in security behaviour at their company, 75 percent optimistically think there will be in the future.
What will the rest of 2018 bring?
At this stage it seems only fitting to look forward at the rest of the year rather than just back at the issues of yesterday. Here at A10 we work very closely with our customers helping them to defend the organisation against the latest sophisticated threats. We will certainly see more attacks via IoT, of course, no surprise there. We will see more damaging attacks as hacking syndicates like Carbanak/FIN7 assign structured teams to assault specific targets. And we are sure to see more DDoS attacks as hacking continues to be commoditised on an as-a-service basis, available to anyone who can google directions to the dark web.
In short, cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to penetrate the organisation so a security professional’s work is never done. To learn more about the many ways A10 can help deal with your cyber problems visit our website.