Adam Adler-Cyber Warfare Advisor: The CyberSecurity Illusion 2021
Adam Adler ( Miami, Florida): The CyberSecurity Illusion
“Company boards are well aware that cybersecurity poses a potentially existential risk, but are generally not well equipped to provide oversight on matters of technical detail”
Attackers are getting smarter, attacks are occurring faster and incidents are becoming more complex. It’s now guaranteed that virtually every modern organization’s high-tech perimeters will eventually be breached. If you are still haphazardly or reactively approaching security with disconnected point tools, manual processes, and inadequate staffing, be prepared to spend most of 2021 fighting cybersecurity fires.
As we move into an era of increasing connectivity, cybersecurity is a business-critical, extremely dynamic, massively scalable, and highly specialized discipline.
You’re unable to defend against zero-day, multi-vector, or polymorphic attacks
Since the 1980s, we’ve seen an evolution of cyberattacks, which continuously forces us to update the way we protect digital assets. First-generation attacks included viruses and were mainly contained using anti-virus software.
In the 90s, threats became more sophisticated as hackers targeted networks—making firewalls an essential security defense. The 2000s ushered in the mass use of applications along with the exploitation of their vulnerabilities, which made intrusion prevention systems (IPS) popular. Starting in 2010, we began to see zero-day threats, which use highly evasive polymorphic content to bypass traditional defenses. Behavioral analysis tools have helped us tackle these threats.
Currently, we’re witnessing the proliferation of large-scale and multi-vectored attacks, like WannaCry and NotPetya. In these attacks, hackers attempt to exploit multiple fronts—including network, cloud, and mobile devices—at the same time. This makes cybersecurity much more complicated. Today, only 3% of the world is prepared to defend themselves from zero-day, multi-vector, or polymorphic attacks.
But cybersecurity is not something that you can set once and forget. Cybercriminals keep gaining ground because they are financially incentivized and willing to innovate. As we enter 2021, expect to see even more sophisticated attacks, capable of causing more damage, while being much harder to defend against.
In response, you need to ramp up your defenses with multiple layers of modern cybersecurity. There are potentially game-changing products in development, like autonomous security services and blockchain-based data breach protection, that deserve consideration as attack vectors evolve and these new technologies prove themselves enterprise-ready.
You’re drowning in data
Hunting for signs of an attacker on your network can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. In many cases, it takes companies an average of 6 months to detect a data breach. Obviously, you need data to find an attacker. But many companies go overboard—trying to capture everything—at enormous infrastructure and workforce cost. Then find they can’t effectively analyze or operationalize that data in a crunch.
More than ever, your security team needs the right tools to detect and investigate critical security threats. This includes security software that provides tools for hunting and performing diagnostics as well as heuristics that study patterns. New adaptive security tools that use machine learning and AI can help you more efficiently find an attacker, halt their intrusion, or exfiltration of data within milliseconds and prevent the next attack.
You don’t have an incident response plan
Incident response plans provide a set of instructions that help IT staff detect, respond to, and recover from network security incidents. IBM found that companies with an incident response team that also extensively tested their incident response plan experienced $1.23 million less in data breach costs on average than those that had neither measure in place.
Your incident response plan should address issues like cybercrime, data loss, and service outages that can threaten to disrupt daily business operations at a high cost to the business. If you don’t have an incident response plan, it’s time to develop one.
SANS Institute’s Incident Handlers Handbook, is a good place to start. It provides an overview of the six steps that should be taken by your incident response team to effectively handle security incidents.
You aren’t taking third-party risk seriously
The weak link in your enterprise security may actually be your partners and suppliers. Supply chain attacks, also called value-chain or third-party attacks, occur when someone infiltrates your system through an outside entity that has access to your systems and data.
Breaches originating from a third-party cost company $370,000 more than average. According to Ponemon, 56 percent of organizations have had a breach that was caused by one of their vendors. Meanwhile, the average number of third parties with access to sensitive information is increasing.
In response, regulators are increasingly looking at third-party risks. Last year, New York State financial regulators began requiring financial firms with a presence in New York to ensure that their suppliers’ cybersecurity protections were up to par. Next year, Europe will do the same, with its GDPR, which applies to any company that collects personal information from Europeans and comes with steep fines for non-compliance—up to 4 percent of total global revenues.
To protect your company and avoid any penalties, you will need to closely vet the security of the companies you do business with, within 2021, align your security standards, and actively monitor third-party access.
Your employees aren’t held accountable for cybersecurity
Human error still remains one of the greatest threats to your organization’s well-being. With just 3 in 10 employees currently receiving annual cybersecurity training, it’s all too easy for enterprising con artists or email scammers to circumvent even the most cutting-edge digital safeguards.
Ninety-one percent of all company breaches come from phishing. While email security tools can provide the first line of defense against phishing, the best way to prevent a phishing breach is to treat cybersecurity as a workplace culture issue, rather than an IT issue.
For this type of cybersecurity initiative to be a success, you must not only weave good security habits into the fabric of your organization but also hold employees accountable and responsible for corporate security. Formal security training programs can help teach employees how to protect themselves and the company against cyberattacks, but changing the attitudes and habits of your workforce can be more challenging. For this, you will need to properly leverage change management models to successfully build an all-inclusive security culture.
Adam Adler(Miami, FL) is a Cyber Defense & Cyber Warfare Advisor, as well as Chairman of the Board for Digital Bank Vault. A long time entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience all at top-level management and ownership, Mr. Adler has focused his recent years on Cyber Security and defending our youth online. DBV has developed a proprietary encryption method that continues Adam’s mantra of “Privacy is Priceless”. DigitalBank Vault provides impenetrable defensive cyber solutions for Keyless End to End Encrypted, Peer to Peer, mobile, and computer communications. Adam and DigitalBank Vault have constructed new & disruptive cyber defense technologies to solve many privacy issues commonly found online and defend against unwanted intrusion.