CISOs see cyber warfare as an imminent threat to their organizations by Adam Adler
Updated: Oct 21
Seven out of every ten CISOs believe cyber warfare is a threat to their organization, and yet just over a fifth admit to not even having a strategy in place to mitigate this risk, according to a new survey of thousands of IT professionals released Tuesday by cybersecurity company Bitdefender.
This is seen as especially alarming during a period of unprecedented global disruption, as half of the infosec professionals agree that the increase of cyber warfare will be detrimental to the economy in the next 12 months, the company said
Bitdefender's "10 in 10 Study" was carried out among more than 6,700 IT workers in a broad cross-section of organizations and industries, ranging from companies with around 100 employees to publicly listed enterprises with over 10,000 employees in a wide variety of fields. The study was conducted in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the UK, Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, the US, and Germany. CISOs and CIOs accounted for 23% of respondents, while the other respondents ranged from IT security analysts to directors, Bitdefender said.
CISOs and infosec professionals were found to be shoring up their defenses, with 51% and 48% respectively stating that they believe they will need a strategy against cyber warfare in the next 12-18 months.
The report said as many as 43% of infosec professionals report they are seeing a rise in ransomware attacks, and that 70% of CISOs/CIOs and 63% of infosec professionals expect to see an increase in ransomware attacks in the next year to year and a half. This is notable as almost half of CISOs/CIOs (49%) and just over two-fifths of infosec professionals (42%) are worried that a ransomware attack could wipe out the business in the next 12-18 months if they don't increase investment in security, according to the findings.
In addition, 51% of infosec professionals, and 55% of CISOs and CIOs, agree that in order to increase investment in cybersecurity, the way that they communicate about security has to change dramatically. Two-fifths of infosec professionals (41%) believe that more communication with the wider public and customers is needed so everyone has a better understanding of the risks.
"The reason that 63% of Infosec professionals believe that cyberwarfare is a threat to their organization is easy. Dependency on technology is at an all-time high and if someone was to take out the WiFi in a home or office, no one would be able to do anything. This dependency wasn't there a few years back, it wasn't even as high a few months back. This high-dependency on technology, doesn't just open the door for ransomware or IoT threats on an individual level, but also to cyberwarfare which can be so catastrophic it can ruin economies," said Neeraj Suri, Distinguished Professorship and Chair in Cybersecurity at Lancaster University.
The study also found a need to make a change within the makeup of the workforce. Fifteen percent of infosec professionals believe that the biggest development in cybersecurity over the next 12-18 months will be the increasing skills gap. If the skills deficit continues for another five years, 28% of CISOs and CIOs say they believe that it will destroy businesses. And another half of infosec professionals believe that the skills gap will be seriously disruptive if it continues for the next 5 years.
In addition, the study explores the gap between how security decision-makers and infosec professionals view the current security landscape and reveal the changes they know they will need to make in the upcoming months and years of the 2020s. Cybersecurity success in the next 10 years, Bitdefender said, is seen as depending on the adaptability of security decisionmakers.
Liviu Arsene, Global Cybersecurity Researcher at Bitdefender said, "2020 has been a year of change — not only for the world at large — but for the security industry. The security landscape is rapidly evolving as it tries to adapt to the new normal, from distributed workforces to new threats. Amongst the new threats is cyberwarfare. It's of great concern to businesses and the economy — and yet not everyone is prepared for it. Security landscape will continue to evolve."
"To succeed in the new security landscape the way we as an industry talk about security has to become more accessible to a wider audience to gain support and investment from within the business. In addition, we have to start thinking about plugging the skills gap in a different way — we have to focus on diversity, and specifically neurodiversity if we are to stand our ground and ultimately defeat bad actors."
Adam Adler is a serial entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience all at top-level management and ownership. Primarily investing his own capital and building brands from the ground up. At the early age of 4, Adam began his tennis career at the world-renown Rick Macci Tennis Academy in South Florida. Adam remained a highly ranked Junior Tennis player for his entire junior career. Once completing high school, Mr. Adler received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2007 Magna Cum Laude from USC, double majoring in Sports & Entertainment Management and Business. While at USC, Adam began his career by developing a patented algorithmic software as the base for his social networking company, Ultimate Social Networking Inc (USNI), and developing Ultimate College Model, seeing this to acquisition. Adam’s love for completion never waned. Adam began playing poker in his free time and quickly became entrenched in the game, studying hours a day. Adam traveled around the country playing in some of the highest stakes No Limit and Pot Limit Omaha cash games in the world. Adam has made multiple World Series of Poker Final Tables, with his most notable finish coming in 2018 with a runner-up finish in the$10,000 Turbo Event. Adam has won millions of dollars in both cash game and tournament poker over the last 15 years. Adam’s second venture began with assembling a team of the best molecular scientists, mostly Merck and Amgen biochemists and formulators, and building out a multi-million dollar, 30,000 sq. ft. FDA/cGMP approved facility in Oxnard CA. This is where Adam’s passion for biotech really began. His sports background allowed him to take this brand and bring in global icons around a strategic marketing plan activating the world’s most iconic athletes and celebrities. Adam developed this revolutionary technology in 2009. Using sublingual, buccal mucosal, and transdermal absorption directly to the bloodstream, by-passing the GI tract, Adam’s company Fuse Science completely changed the way consumers receive vitamins, electrolytes, nutrients, and medicines. Going direct to the bloodstream, bypassing the GI Tract, the platform technology was a game-changer. Adam self-funded this company privately for over 2 years, developing the product line and securing the IP. As Chief Executive Officer, Adam grew the company rapidly, seeing its market cap increase from $500,000 to over $100,000,000. Adam put together one of the most impressive lists of athlete partners on the planet, signing Tiger Woods (including the rights to his bag for 5 years), Andy Murray, Tyson Chandler, Paul Pierce, Big Papi David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Arian Foster, Paul Rodriguez, and many others. Adam’s deep-rooted relationships with the world’s top athletes and celebrities are his core group of friends along with business partners. Adam's handpicked a Fortune25 management team, hiring the President of SC Johnson, CEO of Footlocker, Chief Scientific Officer for Johnson & Johnson, Clinical Director at Merck, Head of Duke Sports Medicine, and had over 100 employees. Adam brought Daymond John and Shark Branding in as partners as well. Adam has placed products in over 100,000locations, including Walgreens, CVS, Sports Authority, Dick’s, Duane Reade, 7-11, GNC, Walmart, Target, Costco, Vitamin Shoppe, and many others. Mr. Adler is currently managing The Adler Fund, investing in real-estate emerging growth companies with a focus on cybersecurity, cannabis, and biotechnology.