Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is getting harder every day. According to the World Economic Forum‘s 2018 Global Risks Perception Survey, cyber attacks and data theft are 3 and 4 respectively of the top 5 likely risks organizations will face this year. This is not surprising, in 2017 CISOs the world over faced crippling ransomware attacks, large-scale vulnerability threats, debilitating business email compromise (BEC) scams, the rise of cryptocurrency risks, ever-evolving internet-of-things (IoT) threats, and a continued stream of data breaches. So, how did businesses fare in their midst? And what should companies do to manage their enterprise risk in 2018?
Ransomware attacks from WannaCry to Petya resulted in production line downtime at Honda, Nissan, Renault, and even Cadbury. The likelihood and impact of these attacks increased 10 times with the convergence of capable ransomware and the wormlike capabilities of the EternalBlue exploit. These attacks, if nothing else, highlighted the need for CISOs to rethink and reassess their operational risk exposure. No longer can we look at these threats solely as an IT risk but rather as a combined IT and operational technology (OT) risk that could result in billions in losses globally.
The need for risk-based vulnerability management couldn’t be greater in 2018, even if only a small percentage of the vulnerabilities discovered and disclosed were and will continue to be weaponized in exploit attacks. Threats such as Dirty COW, which was seen in 2017, could still greatly impact companies.
BEC attacks continued to increase in frequency and in scale. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received more than 12,000 complaints amounting to a loss of US$360 million in 2016 alone. These deceptively simple socially engineered attacks are incredibly adept at finding and exploiting systemic communication vulnerabilities in organizations. CISOs will need to expand their training and awareness programs to include the boardroom as well as the server room to mitigate them.
Cryptocurrency-related threats, regardless of platform and victim type, resurged in 2017 as well, spurred by the increase in bitcoin value. Even IoT botnets shifted focus from causing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) disruptions to mining cryptocurrency. Data breaches continued to impact businesses, damaging their reputations with unauthorized disclosures.
Given the wide range of threats we expect to face, enterprises would benefit most by prioritizing risks across the network. CISOs will need better visibility and connected, multilayered security defense if they are to properly mitigate these threats and their 2018 iterations. Security technologies that make use of real-time scanning, web and file reputation, behavioral analysis, and high-fidelity machine learning while providing endpoint security are a must. Enhancing your companies’ security posture by educating executives and employees on threats and vulnerabilities (emerging and otherwise) is also beneficial.
For a complete picture of the security threat landscape in 2017 and how CISOs can help their companies mitigate the risks that similar and/or emerging threats will continue to pose in 2018, read The 2017 Security Threat Landscape.