Cyber Security

‘Secure by default’ in the age of converged security

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What is cyber security?

Cyber-attacks are one of the defining security threats of our age and cyber security a growing priority for business and governments alike.

The internet’s transformation of both our personal lives and the world of commerce has created boundless opportunities for hackers with a wide range of motives and an even broader array of tools. From phishing and clickjacking to ransomware, direct-access attacks and denial of service attacks (DoS) the threats keep on evolving and emerging. It’s a game of cat and mouse as the criminals become more sophisticated and cyber security professionals try to keep up.

The stakes are high. Lloyd’s of London has warned that a major cyber-attack could wreak havoc that costs as much as £92bn to remedy – more than the repair bill for Hurricane Katrina. And ‘destruction of service’ attacks could “disrupt the internet itself” and destroy businesses in one fell swoop, according to research from Cisco.

GDPR, which came into force across Europe in May 2018, raises the stakes further still. The fines for data protection breaches – including deficient cyber security protections – are 79 times higher than under the previous regime,

In the most recent Cyber Security Breaches Survey carried out by the UK Government, it was reported that 46% of businesses have had a cyber attack or breaches in the last 12 months. These statistics will raise concerns amongst businesses that the growing risk is not necessarily being matched by the security procedures being put in place.

If the ubiquity of smartphones have created even more opportunities for criminals, then the internet of things has ramped up the threat further still, with everyday household objects now connected to the internet. In 2016, some 1.5m IoT devices – mostly security cameras – were hijacked during a DDoS attack. Even our cars are becoming vulnerable.

Building systems are also increasingly network-connected too, so even buildings can be hacked. As Sarb Sembhi, an expert in cyber security and advocate of the convergence of security, details in his recent article, physical security professionals need to understand cyber security too – which they can do at IFSEC International 2020.

Looking for more in-depth cyber security news and views?

Part of the Informa Network, Dark Reading is a trusted online community for cyber security professionals, including CISOs, cyber security researchers and technology specialists. Covering the latest threats, vulnerabilities and cyber attacks, Dark Reading supports community members in keeping up with the latest in the sector.

Cyber security investment

The number of cyber attacks in the UK continues to grow each year. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has defended against more than 600 cyber attacks in the past year alone.

It seems there is a rising number of attacks on small businesses, due to the preconception that they will likely place less importance on protective measures. According to research from SecureTeam, 43% of UK cyber attacks target small businesses, so there is a growing importance to put measures in place to stop these attacks from being successful.  Take a look at the infographic here to find out more about the rising costs of cyber attacks on small businesses.

Overall, however, it does appear cyber security investment figures have increased. Research from Specops Software, a password management and authentication solution vendor, indicates that businesses in construction have increased their spending by around 188%, while finance and insurance firms invested the most – averages coming to £22,050.

In addition, as the Cyber Security Breaches 2020 Survey details, organisations are now beginning to see the value of investing in their cyber security plans, and have increased their actions to identify and manage risks. For instance, eight in 10 businesses now believe cyber security to be a high priority, while 38% of businesses have written policies in the event of an attack, up from 29% in 2016.

Latest cyber security articles

US Capitol attack a wake-up call for the integration of physical & IT security

Seth Rosenblatt discusses how two traditionally disparate security disciplines can be united following the US Capitol attacks.

Who is responsible for protecting physical security systems from cyber-attacks?

Who is responsible for the cyber security of physical security devices? James Willison explores debates in the sector following a recent poll.

IFSEC Global’s trends in security 2021

The IFSEC Global Editor takes a look at several noteworthy trends in the security sector to come out of the past 12 months.

Inner Range sets cyber security as new strategic focus

Inner Range has announced it is set to launch a new focus on cyber security, having formalised several cyber secure measures.

 

Protecting from cyber attacks

While cyber attackers are constantly developing new methods of strategies, some common examples of cyber attack protection can include:

  • Reviewing your IT estate: Carry out a regular assessment of IT systems to identify any vulnerabilities that may be targeted and exposed by opportunistic cyber criminals.
  • Education and governance: Create a formal document which establishes the firm’s best practices and policies on cyber security. Within this, give employees clear guidance on what they can and cannot do on the company’s IT devices/systems/networks to create an all-encompassing culture of security.
  • Safeguard and protect: Keep anti-virus software up-to-date, apply the latest security patches and periodically change passwords across IT estate.

‘Ethical hacking’ is also a method businesses can employ. Understandably, many are nervous about the prospect of giving a third-party access to its systems, but this engagement can provide some real value. It offers opportunities to learn where the weaknesses are in your systems, the effectiveness of your security systems and the readiness of your IT team to respond, in order to better understand where your security budget should be spent and how compliant you are with industry regulations. You can find out more about ethical hacking here.

For SMEs, or those businesses with smaller budgets, the Police Digital Security Centre (UK) advises five key cyber security tips to follow to keep data and information secure:

  1. Strong password policy: Change default passwords on all devices connected to a network and consider using password managers to store and protect passwords
  2. 2FA: Two on two-factor authentication on all accounts and devices
  3. Software update: Set all company devices and apps to automatically download software updates, which often include crucial security fixes and patches
  4. Back up: Use an external hard drive or cloud-based storage system to back up important information
  5. Install anti-virus software: Ensure it is set to update automatically and run regular system scans to check for potential malware infections

US Capitol attack a wake-up call for the integration of physical & IT security

Seth Rosenblatt discusses how two traditionally disparate security disciplines can be united following the US Capitol attacks. Read More

Who is responsible for protecting physical security systems from cyber-attacks?

Who is responsible for the cyber security of physical security devices? James Willison explores debates in the sector following a recent poll. Read More

IFSEC Global’s trends in security 2021

The IFSEC Global Editor takes a look at several noteworthy trends in the security sector to come out of the past 12 months. Read More

Inner Range sets cyber security as new strategic focus

Inner Range has announced it is set to launch a new focus on cyber security, having formalised several cyber secure measures. Read More

4 cyber security trends set to influence remote work in 2021

Gregory Hendricks explains why remote working will continue to influence trends in the cyber security market in 2021. Read More

Rising to the challenge: Perspectives from security leaders on 2020 and beyond

Chris Price talks to five industry leaders from different perspectives in the sector about how they coped with COVID and asks them to look forward to 2021. Read More

Alexa, disarm the victim’s home security system

Kelly Jackson Higgins explores how hacking attempts on ‘smart’ home assistants via laser pointers have raised further security concerns about the devices. Read More

Keeping cyber secure at Christmas

Sylvain Cortes, Security Evangelist and cyber security expert at Alsid, highlights the need for security departments to raise awareness through their organisations over cyber threats this Christmas. Read More

Demand for cloud migration hindered by concerns over security

Research has revealed migration to cloud processes is being held back due to a lack of resources and concerns over key features such as security. Read More

4 cyber security threats retailers should be aware of on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

With e-commerce sales set to increase by between 25-35% compared to last year this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers need to be on alert for potential cyber security threats. Read More