Insider threats are nothing to joke about -- they are a real danger to companies worldwide, who often neglect them. In fact, they rank among the top six threats of 2018, according to statistics. A company will spend at least $8 million yearly on insider threats, the Ponemon Institute has found.
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The headlines love to talk about sophisticated hacking gangs, exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities to break their way into businesses and steal corporate data.
Critical national infrastructures such as the energy sector, public transportation, commercial facilities, government and defense, and medical services, among others, have been under attack in recent years, following a large volume of security vulnerabilities and a lack of encryption.
Enterprises are at risk now more than ever because it seems they keep falling behind on infrastructure security, while hackers are more vigilant and sophisticated in their schemes. Researchers can’t really put their finger on what it is exactly that causes more damage –insider threats, targeted attacks or plain old outdated software, but one thing is certain: by 2023, more than 146 billion records will be leaked following security breaches, according to Juniper Research.
Data breaches not only cost companies millions, but they also inflict reputational damage, customer turnover and operational costs. The average cost of a data breach has risen 6.4% to a global average of $3.86 million this year, according to research from the Ponemon Institute.
The topic of cybersecurity is rapidly moving up the agenda of CIOs.
It’s common knowledge that cyberattacks will escalate, so upper management has to develop an understanding of the threat landscape, the different types of attacks and what it all involves. Right now, the Trump administration is working on an executive order to clearly establish the duties of agency chief information officers.
A few years ago, companies were reluctant to adopt cloud computing because they thought a lack of physical access to the network would deprive them of control over their data. A major shift occurred when they understood that, with suitable configuration and security, cloud computing offers serious benefits.
Security executives fear cyberattacks will heavily target critical infrastructures in the near future, but they don’t seem to be doing much about enforcing security policies that also cover IoT devices. Despite the major threat they pose, connected devices have so far been overlooked in security policies. It appears that in general, in spite of the increasing awareness of high-profile cyberattacks and threats, enterprises tend to look the other way rather than invest properly in a cybersecurity strategy.
Cloud security has grown into a major issue for enterprises, as only one company in six encrypts all data, according to a Bitdefender survey. While 85% of CISOs fear security flaws in the public cloud, as many as 51 percent of enterprises don’t properly secure their cloud storage services, according to RedLock, leaving their data exposed to hackers.
Update November 2019: One of the most notable cryptojacking attacks of 2019 was based on Microsoft's BlueKeep vulnerability, which was used to deliver cryptomining software to legacy Windows systems starting summer 2019.
This proves that cryptomining is still a preferred payload for attackers who receive immediate financial rewards from each victim they infect without their knowledge.
Businesses cannot come up with a mitigation strategy to efficiently detect, identify and manage insider threats, according to research from the Ponemon Institute, so they risk the loss of critical confidential data and resources, network shutdown and reputational damage. In the past year, 159 organizations from the United States, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region dealt with 3,269 security breaches caused by insider threats due to plain negligence.