Written by Naveen Hemanna, the AVP for Sales at Sectrio
Globally, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure have grown by a staggering 799 percent in H12021. We also logged a significant (301 percent) rise in cyberattacks on critical infrastructure operators in the ME in the same period. Such trends emerge from two distinct factors viz., inadequate protection and rising hacker interest in critical infrastructure everywhere. While the latter cannot be addressed at a business level, the former can certainly be tackled through some good old cybersecurity practices.
In the last 5 years, we have seen a continual erosion of the robustness of the cybersecurity posture of large and medium businesses. In many cases, small businesses and start-ups were found to be more sensitive about cybersecurity practices and long-term security measures when compared to their bigger and entrenched counterparts in the region.
As businesses grow, it becomes easier to lose track of cyber hygiene practices. This is why we are seeing so many businesses lose data and revenue to hackers. With the arrival of a new generation of malware and cyberattacks that rely on Artificial Intelligence and multi-level breach tactics that are hard to repel, hackers have ramped up their operational sophistication. In response to this, instead of upgrading their defenses and focusing on widening the gap between them and hackers businesses have moved in the opposite direction.
In one of our studies conducted in the earlier half of the year, we found the following glaring deficiencies among businesses:
- Lack of vulnerability assessment and management practices
- No means to detect and mitigate rogue insider activity
- Hygiene related to network ports and traffic management was not up to the mark
- Instead of deploying an earned trust framework wherein devices and users are required to gain trust before during and after each transaction or network presence, businesses were using single-factor authentication and implied trust means to let users and devices stay logged and transaction ready for perpetuity.
- Network visibility was not up to the mark with users adding new devices without vulnerability scans or means to monitor their activity
- Network traffic was not segmented and various streams were allowed to merge and flow
- Security ownership of various network segments was not clearly defined leaving certain parts of the infrastructure exposed