As much as you would like to, you can never achieve 100% security against cyberattacks, but being aware of the possible threats to your security strategy can reduce the risks tremendously. We are increasingly becoming digitally connected, and this is making us more vulnerable. For instance, the rate of breaches has reached staggering proportions and is expected to rise with the multitude of new attack vectors. Cyber-attackers are working tirelessly to find ways to escape every cyber protection, which poses more puzzling security challenges. Here are the main challenges in cybersecurity:
Advanced Persistent Threats
As the name suggests, APT are more advanced compared to common malware. These threats can stay in the system for a long time without being noticed, and they penetrate the servers and networks without being detected. Notably, the goal of advanced persistent threats is to facilitate targeted attacks like mining highly sensitive information.
The Evolution of Ransomware
Ransomware attacks have risen and spread widely in recent years. Cyber-attackers usually use malware that will penetrate your system and encrypt your files. After locking all the files, they will demand a ransom with the promise of giving you the decryption key after the payment. Note that bitcoins are a cyber-attacker’s preferred mode of payment because it is difficult to track down.
Most of the time, the hackers will give you the decryption key, which you will use to regain access to your files. But in some cases, they may still not give you the decryption key even after making the payments. What could be worse than hackers having both your money and your information? The unfortunate bit is that about 20% of businesses lack disaster recovery solutions. Examples of ransomware are Petya, Jigsaw, Zcrypter, Goldeneye, Wannacry, Bad Rabbit, and Cryptolocker.
Compromised IoT Threats
IoT (Internet of Things) refers to a system of interrelated mechanical, digital, and computing devices that do not need human-to-computer or human-to-human intervention to transmit data over a network. IoT devices use a unique identifier code to identify one another and allow the user to operate them from a single point.
Despite making things easier, 70% of IoT devices have vulnerabilities that can increase the risk of a cyberattack and create security gaps in an organization. For instance, once a hacker has gained unauthorized access to one device, they can access all the other connected devices. It won’t be difficult for them to access your personal and financial information thereafter, and use it to commit criminal activities or blackmail. IoT can be compromised by insecure Wi-Fi, insufficient authentication methods, lack of knowledge on security, and data transfers in insecure web interfaces. You need to ask questions like:
- In what ways are IoT and infrastructure devices affecting my risk?
- Is anyone controlling and managing these threats?
- What policies and remediation protocols can help us control breaches?
Identity and Mobile Authentication
Identification through passwords is slowly being phased out, as mobile authentication is increasingly being incorporated into identity management. Biometrics and facial recognition are still being developed to reach a fully-trusted stage. Here are questions to ask in that regard:
- How can I control authentication and access in a variety of devices; with a varying degree of trust, and considering almost all of them are connected to the internet?
- What multi-factor-authentication (MFA) and biometric solutions can best suit my work environment?
- Which cloud-based solutions can I use to allow access to sensitive information?
Rise of Polymorphic Attacks and Zero-Day Attacks
In zero-day threats, new and unpatched vulnerabilities were exploited, and critical assets were compromised. In polymorphic attacks, effective remediation and management become impossible because the code used for the exploit keeps changing. Notably, zero-day attacks and polymorphic attacks are expected to continue because of the high demand for software, the need for them to be responsive, and the vulnerabilities that are yet to be discovered. The questions you should consider asking include:
- What can I possibly do if there’s a discovery that my mission-critical system has zero-day vulnerabilities? Will I allow it to keep functioning knowing that it is compromised, or will I take it offline?
- Which security products and vendors can I trust to give me effective triage in the event of a polymorphic attack?
- What is the status of my systems? Any known vulnerabilities? Who manages them?
- Do I have cyber insurance?
Many organizations are insecure about putting their data on cloud because they are not too confident about whether it matches their on-site security standards. You will notice that most big companies have their own data centers where they are in full control of it in their internal network. However, in cloud, the network becomes external, which makes it riskier. These risks include Meltdown and Specter vulnerabilities, insecure APIs, Cloud misconfigurations, and data loss resulting from human error or natural disasters.
Attacks on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains Adopted Technologies
Blockchains and cryptocurrencies technology are still at their infancy stages of implementation and are bound to evolve. Therefore, companies utilizing this technology need to be aware of the security gap and implement the right security controls to shelter their networks. Some of the attacks on these technologies include DDoS attack, Sybil attack, and Eclipse attack.
Attacks Designed With the Help of Al and Machine Learning
Al systems have helped organizations across the world in making critical decisions with its unmatched technology in the data processing. It works by requiring its users to feed big data, and it will adjust algorithms and detect any malfunctions. However, hackers are now using Al and Machine Learning to hack information before you even realize it. Later, they will use the data to come up with innovative ways to launch more sophisticated cyberattacks.
Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineers are now using artificial intelligence and other sophisticated tools to look for information needed to design phishing attacks. For instance, the cybercriminals lookout for information unconsciously posted on the company’s or employees’ social media accounts. Every organization needs to ask questions like:
- What are the company’s social media use policies?
- How do we implement the policies?
- Who is monitoring the social media accounts?
- What are the tools available for social media monitoring?
- What is our social media threat profile?
Supply Chain Attacks
The risks in the supply chain have not been completely understood, and cybercriminals are continually exploiting this vulnerability. For instance, they use people in the supply chain to gather critical information about the business. To reduce these risks, you need to ask questions like:
- Am I sharing any sensitive information with my vendors?
- Can I assess the risk of each vendor?
- What services or tools can I use to control this threat?
Physical Infrastructure Hacking
Cybercriminals are now targeting physical infrastructures like transportation networks, power grids, and media channels. It’s also difficult to detect this type of cyberattack, and the magnitude of damage caused can be disastrous. This security challenge should top the list of challenges in every organization. Fortunately, new technologies are available to secure your infrastructure and secure your web security.
E-Mail Phishing and Mailsploit
Notably, e-mail is widely used in professional and corporate communication. Additionally, people share valuable data through e-mail, and cyber-attackers are using phishing to try and access it. They will spoof the sender’s name using an exploit called Mailsploit. But you can use an automatic smart e-mail scanner or augment the sender representation inside the e-mail client to reduce spoofing and phishing.
Cyber-attackers are now spreading malware using a new technique; using the worm. More and more hackers are opting for this approach because the speed at which worms can compromise the network is unmatched. It can penetrate the previous firewall, get through phishing controls, and get to the core of the network.
PowerShell-based attacks are a significant cybersecurity challenge because it is not possible to identify or recognize the malware. Additionally, it allows the cyber-attackers to escape anti-virus engines and they can control the command and control servers, then make your websites act as proxies.
Be aware of employees that act loyal, but are there to corrupt your cybersecurity. They could be motivated by revenge, frustration, or greed, but such an employee is one of the top cyberthreats to the organization.
The market is full of anti-viruses; some are free, while others require a license. Unfortunately, the cyber-attacker knows too well that you’re going to need anti-virus software to protect your device from malware and viruses. So, they will corrupt it and hack into your system as soon as you download it.
Cybersecurity is a primary concern for both individuals and organizations. Additionally, the issue of data breaches is intensifying, and businesses need to try their best to safeguard their valuable data. Remember that cybercriminals are becoming savvier each year and are using advanced tools to improve their trade. However, understanding the main challenges in cybersecurity can help you re-strategize and advance your cybersecurity efforts to protect your most valuable assets.