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

Position paper on Cyber Resilience Act released by Euralarm

The position paper aims to provide Euralarm’s view on the elements of the proposed Cyber Resilience Act that it believes should be amended.

What is credential theft and why should physical security professionals care?

Understanding why physical security professionals are so concerned about credential theft, and how they can mitigate the risk.

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Act 2022 – What does it cover?

An overview of the PSTI Act 2022, what IoT product manufacturers need to know, and answers to frequently asked questions on the legislation.

Cyber and physical security must validate their value in 2023

Manish Mehta, Chief Product Officer at Ontic discusses the importance of collaboration from both physical and cyber security teams for 2023. 

 

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

Position paper on Cyber Resilience Act released by Euralarm

The position paper aims to provide Euralarm’s view on the elements of the proposed Cyber Resilience Act that it believes should be amended. Read More

What is credential theft and why should physical security professionals care?

Understanding why physical security professionals are so concerned about credential theft, and how they can mitigate the risk. Read More

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Act 2022 – What does it cover?

An overview of the PSTI Act 2022, what IoT product manufacturers need to know, and answers to frequently asked questions on the legislation. Read More

Cyber and physical security must validate their value in 2023

Manish Mehta, Chief Product Officer at Ontic discusses the importance of collaboration from both physical and cyber security teams for 2023. Read More

“The people we need to protect are diverse, so security needs to be diverse” – Australian Women in Security Network founder Jacqui Loustau

Jacqui Loustau discusses her experience in the cyber security sector, founding the Australian Women in Security Network, and convergence. Read More

The critical importance of cyber secure camera solutions in securing retail’s future

Exploring the measures that should be put in place to protect and support the retail industry in the face of mounting cyber threats. Read More

Why unified security is vital for business success

Dakota Murphey explains the benefits a unified security approach brings and provides examples of aspects that can be implemented. Read More

Securing the world’s energy systems: Where physical and cyber security must meet

Energy has become the new battleground for both physical and cyber security warfare, driven by several factors. Chris Price reports. Read More

Why a unified security approach offers an easier, more effective way to protect data

Exploring the key questions physical security teams should be asking themselves to assess whether their current infrastructure is secure. Read More

Euralarm raises concerns over data sharing provisions of proposed European Data Act

Euralarm has raised concerns over specific provisions in the proposed Data Act from the European Commission that may generate security risks. Read More