Tag Archive for: Ransomware

Cyber Trends to Watch for in 2024: Navigating the Evolving Landscape

As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, the cyber landscape is undergoing unprecedented transformations. As we step into 2024, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and be aware of emerging cyber trends.

Keep an eye on these notable trends unfolding in the cybersecurity landscape:

1. AI-Powered Cyber Attacks

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer just a tool for cybersecurity; it’s also becoming a weapon in the hands of cybercriminals. In 2024, we can expect a surge in AI-powered cyber attacks. Attackers are leveraging machine learning algorithms to automate and enhance their attack strategies, making it more challenging for traditional security measures to detect and prevent these threats. Automating attack path analysis and malware analysis with AI are a couple of ways to combat attackers using AI.

According to Springfield FBI, Cybercrime costs businesses more than $10 billion in the U.S. last year, a figure that could reach $10.5 trillion, globally by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. They also estimate ransomware alone will cost its victims around $265 billion annually by 2031—an astonishing 815 times more than the $325 million that organizations spent on ransomware in 2015.

The average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.45 million in 2023, according to IBM—a 15.3% increase over the cost in 2020. Knowing what assets you need to protect and important steps you can take to identify and mitigate them is crucial.

2. Quantum Computing Threats

While quantum computing promises revolutionary advancements, it also poses a significant threat to current encryption standards. In 2024, as quantum computing technologies mature, the risk of cryptographic vulnerabilities increases. The primary goal of a cryptographic system is to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of data. Cryptographic techniques are widely used in various applications, including secure communication over the internet, data storage, authentication, and digital signatures. Cryptographic systems play a crucial role in ensuring the security of digital communication and information in various domains, including online banking, e-commerce, secure messaging, and data protection.

The White House and the Homeland Security Department have made clear that in the wrong hands, a powerful quantum computer could disrupt everything from secure communications to the underpinnings of our financial system.

Organizations must start preparing for quantum-resistant encryption methods to safeguard their sensitive information.

3. Ransomware 2.0: Double Extortion

Persistent and evolving, ransomware attacks continue to pose a significant threat. In 2024, we anticipate the rise of “Ransomware 2.0,” which involves double extortion tactics. In addition to encrypting data, attackers are increasingly stealing sensitive information before locking it down. This dual-threat approach puts added pressure on victims to pay the ransom, as the exposure of sensitive data adds a new dimension to the consequences of non-compliance. Prioritizing vulnerabilities and automating compliance checks can improve the efficiency of your security team.

4. IoT Security Challenges

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding rapidly, connecting more devices than ever before. Research expert for the consumer electronics industry, Lionel Sujay Vailshery of Statista, estimates that more than 15 billion devices are on the Internet of Things, outnumbering non-IoT devices with 2 of 3 on IoT. However, this increased connectivity comes with heightened security risks. In 2024, we anticipate a surge in IoT-related cyber attacks as attackers exploit vulnerabilities in poorly secured devices. Strengthening IoT security protocols, such as through device authentication and authorization, securing communication channels, keeping firmware and software up to date, and security testing and vulnerability management, will be crucial to prevent widespread breaches. Knowing what is attached and who can get to it will help protect you in the future.

5. Supply Chain Attacks

Supply chain attacks are not new, but they are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with cybercriminals targeting the networks of suppliers and service providers to compromise the security of the ultimate target.

In a supply chain attack, an attacker might target a cybersecurity vendor and add malware to their software, which is then sent out in a system update to that vendor’s clients. When the clients download the update, believing it to be from a trusted source, the malware grants attackers access to those clients’ systems and information. This is essentially how the SolarWinds attack unfolded in 2020, targeting 18,000 customers.

As organizations continue to rely on a complex web of third-party vendors, securing the entire supply chain becomes paramount in 2024.

6. Regulatory Developments

Governments and regulatory bodies are increasingly recognizing the importance of cybersecurity. We’ve already seen change in New York’s requirements for reporting breaches by company size and in 2024, we anticipate the introduction of more stringent regulations and compliance requirements. Organizations will need to stay abreast of these changes to ensure they meet the evolving standards and avoid legal and financial repercussions.

The cyber landscape is poised for continued evolution. By adopting proactive cybersecurity measures and embracing innovative solutions, we can collectively navigate the challenges and threats that lie ahead.

At RedSeal, we’re committed to fortifying your digital infrastructure. We proactively help visualize your network, identify attack paths, prioritize risk, and help you stay in compliance to ensure your business and customers stay secure.

Reach out to RedSeal or schedule a demo today.

US Marshals Scramble to Shut Down Computer System

Audacy | May 1, 2023

Tune in to KCBS and hear Dr. Mike Lloyd, RedSeal’s CTO, share insights into double dip ransomware attacks, why segmentation matters, hardening your infrastructure and a quick perspective on the importance of Biden’s National Cyber Strategy.

Top Reasons State and Local Governments Are Targeted in Cyberattacks

Ransomware attacks affected at least 948 U.S. government entities in 2019 and cost local and state governments over $18 billion in 2020. These agencies are prime targets for cyberattacks. Their dispersed nature, the complexity of their networks, the vast amounts of valuable personal data they process and store, and their limited budget prevent them from staying current with the latest best practices.

Strengthening your defense starts with understanding the top reasons why threat actors choose to target state and local governments. Then, implement the latest technologies and best practices to protect your organization from attacks.

Reason 1: The Vast Number of Local and State Government Agencies

There are 89,004 local governments in the U.S., plus numerous special districts and school districts. That equates to 2.85 million civilian federal employees and 18.83 million state and local government employees — each representing a potential target for threat actors.

Since it takes only one person to click on one malicious link or attachment to infect the entire system with ransomware, the large number of people who have access to sensitive data makes government entities prime targets for social engineering attacks.

Moreover, the dispersed nature of these networks makes it extremely challenging for government agencies to gain visibility of all the data and activities. When one agency suffers an attack, there are no procedures or methods to alert others, coordinate incident response plans, or prevent the same attack from happening to other entities.

Reason 2: These Agencies Process Valuable Personal Information

How much personal data have you shared with state and local government agencies? Somewhere in their dispersed systems reside your social security number, home addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license information, health records, etc. The information is attractive to cybercriminals because they can sell it on the dark web or use it for identity theft.

Many of these agencies also hire contractors and sub-contractors to handle their computer systems or process user data. The more people with access to the data, the larger the attack surface — creating more opportunities for supply chain attacks where criminals target less secure vendors to infiltrate their systems.

Without the know-how or resources to partition their data or implement access control, many government agencies leave their door wide open for criminals to access their entire database. All malicious actors have to do is target one of the many people who can access any part of their systems.

Reason 3: They Can’t Afford Security Experts and Advanced Tools

Almost 50 percent of local governments say their IT policies and procedures don’t align with industry best practices. One major hurdle is that they don’t have the budget to offer wages that can compete with the private sector and a workplace culture to attract and retain qualified IT and cybersecurity professionals.

Meanwhile, cybercriminals are evolving their attack methods at breakneck speed. Organizations must adopt cutting-edge cybersecurity software to monitor their systems and detect intrusions. Unfortunately, the cost of these advanced tools is out of reach for many government entities due to their limited budgets.

Moreover, political considerations and bureaucracy further hamstring these organizations. The slow speed of many governmental and funding approval processes makes preparing for and responding to fast-changing cybersecurity threats even more challenging.

Reason 4: IoT Adoption Complicates the Picture

From smart building technology and digital signage to trash collection and snow removal, Internet of Things (IoT) tools, mobile devices, and smart technologies play an increasingly vital role in the day-to-day operations of local governments.

While these technologies help promote cost-efficiency and sustainability, they also increase the attack surface and give hackers more opportunities to breach a local government’s systems and networks —  if it fails to implement the appropriate security measures.

Unfortunately, many agencies jump into buying new technologies without implementing proper security protocols. Not all agencies require IoT devices to perform their functions. You should therefore balance the cost and benefits, along with the security implications, to make the right decisions.

How Government Agencies Can Protect Themselves Against Cyberattacks

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The most cost-effective way to avoid the high costs of ransomware attacks and data breaches is to follow the latest cybersecurity best practices. Here’s what state and local governments should implement to stay safe:

  • Complete visibility into your entire IT infrastructure to provide a comprehensive view into all the possible hybrid network access points to understand what’s connected to your network and what data and files are most at risk. This way, you can prioritize your data security resources.
  • Intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS and IPS) protect your wired and wireless networks by identifying and mitigating threats (e.g., malware, spyware, viruses, worms), suspicious activities, and policy violations.
  • A mobile device management (MDM) solution allows administrators to monitor and configure the security settings of all devices connected to your network. Admins can also manage the network from a centralized location to support remote working and the use of mobile and IoT devices.
  • Access control protocols support a zero-trust policy to ensure that only compliant devices and approved personnel can access network assets through consistent authentication and authorization, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and digital certificates.
  • Strong spam filters and email security solutions protect end users from phishing messages and authenticate all inbound emails to fence off social engineering scams.
  • Cybersecurity awareness training for all employees and contractors helps build a security-first culture and makes cybersecurity a shared responsibility, which is particularly critical for fending off social engineering and phishing attacks.
  • A backup and disaster recovery plan protects agencies against data loss and ransomware attacks by ensuring operations don’t grind to a halt even if you suffer an attack.

Final Thoughts: Managing the Many Moving Parts of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an ongoing endeavor, and it starts with building a solid foundation and knowing what and who is in your systems.

You must map your networks, take inventory of every device, and know where all your data is (including the cloud) to gain a bird’s-eye view of what your security strategy must address. Next, assess your security posture, evaluate your network against your policies, and prioritize resources to address the highest-risk vulnerabilities. Also, you must continuously monitor network activities and potential attack paths to achieve constant visibility, prioritize your efforts, and meet compliance standards.

State and local governments worldwide trust RedSeal to help them build digital resilience. Request a demo to see how we can help you gain visibility of all network environments to jumpstart your cybersecurity journey.

Top 4 Cyber Challenges for Credit Unions

Credit unions continue to be the primary targets of cyberattacks like phishing, ransomware, and supply chain attacks. This is due to the highly confidential nature of the data they collect and store. If this data falls into the wrong hands, the outcome can negatively impact the institution’s reputation, as well as its legal and financial standing.

Cyberattacks aimed at credit unions come at a high cost. Financial loss can range from $190,000 for small credit unions to as high as $1.2 million for large credit unions.

As technology advances, so have the cyber threats targeting credit unions. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has continuously encouraged credit unions to “strengthen their institution’s cyber vigilance and preparedness efforts” to protect themselves and their members.

Read on to learn how credit unions can mitigate cybersecurity risks. The key is to first understand the primary threats and then how to reduce their impact.

Cybersecurity Trends in the Finance Sector

Over the last decade, cybercriminals have found creative ways to target credit unions. Attacks have increased in volume and severity, with hacking and malware being deployed to cripple financial institutions. The first half of 2020 saw a 238 percent increase in cyberattacks targeting the finance sector.

Between March and June of 2020, ransomware attacks aimed at banks increased by 520 percent compared to the same period in 2019. A huge spike was also observed in 2021.

In June of this year, several credit unions in Canada discovered evidence of attempted access by unauthorized personnel. A 2020 survey by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) found that 46% of credit unions experienced a cybersecurity incident in the past year. Phishing attacks continue to be a major threat to credit unions, with the NCUA reporting that they accounted for over 50 percent of incidents in 2020.

According to a recent IBM report, the average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million. The finance sector is a primary attack target, only second to healthcare organizations, with the average financial breach costing $5.97 million. Credit unions, as a result, are increasingly turning to technology to improve their cybersecurity posture.

Credit unions should also be aware of the risk employees or contractors with access to sensitive information pose to cybersecurity. They can potentially misconfigure servers, networks, and databases and become compromised by hackers. Combating this may involve implementing measures such as keeping an updated inventory of cloud resources, reviewing misconfiguration by identifying unintentionally exposed resources, and reviewing security policies.

With large amounts of money at risk, following cybersecurity best practices can help credit unions stay on top of cyber threats.

Common Cyber Challenges for Credit Unions

Credit unions and financial institutions face a wide range of cybersecurity dangers and challenges —  from hackers looking to exploit loopholes to sophisticated cyber warfare/cyber espionage maneuvers of advanced persistent threat (APT) actors.

Learning about the potential risk factors can help credit unions mitigate these risks.

Here are the most common cybersecurity challenges credit unions should be aware of.

Sophisticated Cyberattacks and Ransomware

A ransomware attack, which involves encrypting files and locking users out of their systems, happens every 11 seconds. Criminals then demand a ransom to release the data. Credit unions must have strategies in place to ensure their systems are protected from such attacks.

Ransomware attacks not only cause credit unions to lose large amounts of money in ransom payments and fines; they also erode consumer trust. In most cases, ransomware attacks happen because employees fall for phishing scams that trick them into downloading suspicious attachments, clicking malicious links, or launching sketchy .exe files.

By regularly assessing and analyzing your entire system, you’re better able to spot any new vulnerabilities and emerging threats. It’s also important to educate employees and customers about cybersecurity best practices so they are equipped to handle various types of cyberattacks.

Supply Chain Interruptions via Third-Party Vendors

Credit unions typically use third-party partners to offer better features and functionalities to their members. Cybercriminals take advantage by attacking less secure software vendors. These vendors then inadvertently deliver malicious code in the form of compromised products or updates, enabling cybercriminals to access the credit institution’s network.

To minimize this risk, credit unions should thoroughly vet vendors before entering into a business partnership with them. They should also scrutinize their security practices and perform regular system updates and maintenance to ensure their existing infrastructure performs optimally for the longest time possible.

Emerging Threats Associated with the Internet of Things (IoT)

Hacking techniques are continuously becoming more sophisticated. IoT adoption is increasing exponentially, and hardware assets connected to the internet such as cameras, printers, sensors, and scanners are becoming a major target of exploitation by cybercriminals.

With over 50 percent of all IoT devices susceptible to severe cyberattacks, credit unions should focus on investing in cybersecurity solutions that make it easier to identify all IoT devices connected to their network. This way, they can easily monitor IoT devices for any security issues and take action before the risks become harder to mitigate.

Shortage of Cybersecurity Skills

The demand for cybersecurity experts, especially among credit unions, is outpacing the supply of qualified professionals. According to the 2022 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, even with an estimated 4.7 million professionals, there’s still a global shortage of 3.4 million workers in this field. This will affect smaller credit unions as they will find it difficult to hire expertise well-versed in various cloud technologies.

Technical skills such as secure software development, intrusion detection, and attack migration are by far the most valuable skills in this field. Security teams in the credit union space must look for innovative solutions to optimize productivity. This includes identifying security tools and technologies that are easy to use and deploy, providing more opportunities for external training, and identifying solutions that streamline cybersecurity processes.

How Credit Unions Can Strengthen Their Cybersecurity

To ensure your credit union has optimal protection against potential cyberattacks, RedSeal recommends a proactive approach by performing regular cybersecurity assessments to identify any loopholes in your system and also ensure proper defenses are in place. These include having an up-to-date inventory, identifying unintended exposures, and setting a security baseline to meet current and future compliance requirements. It’s also important to establish security protocols that follow industry guidelines and continuously apply security patches and updates to the system.

Working with a prioritized set of risks allows security teams to better allocate resources to areas where they’re needed most.

Want to know more about how you can mitigate cyberattacks in your credit union? Check out this white paper on digital resilience and ransomware protection strategies.

How to Navigate the Shifting Healthcare Cybersecurity Landscape

Cyberattacks and data breaches in the healthcare sector are increasing at an alarming rate, especially during the pandemic when patient communications and records moved online.

Between March 2021 and February 2022, over 42,076,805 healthcare records were exposed. Businesses lose an average of $10.10 million per healthcare data breach, while lost or stolen protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) cost the U.S. healthcare industry billions of dollars annually.

Valuable data makes healthcare organizations a prime target for cybercriminals. Meanwhile, the fast-shifting technology landscape makes it more challenging than ever to keep up with the latest cybersecurity best practices.

Let’s look at the many factors causing today’s cybersecurity nightmare and how you can navigate the changing healthcare cybersecurity landscape with the right technology and processes.

The Healthcare Sector Faces Ongoing Cybersecurity Challenges

The healthcare industry is complex. Various factors have come together in recent years to create the perfect storm for bad actors to breach networks and steal data.

High-Value Target Data: PHI and medical records are sought after by criminals because they’re worth 10 to 20 times the value of credit card data on the dark web. Meanwhile, biomedical and pharmaceutical research and development data drive a $160-billion industry. Criminals can often use the stolen credential to breach multiple targeted systems, giving threat actors many ways to cause damage through lateral movements.

Fast Adoption of New Technologies: The healthcare industry has been implementing connected medical devices (medical IoT) at a rapid pace. The equipment often uses unregulated mobile applications for processing and transmitting PHI and PII. Additionally, many facilities don’t have the proper security protocols to support the proliferation of devices connected to their networks — creating a large attack surface cybercriminals can exploit.

Overworked and Undertrained Personnel: Employee training is key to preventing social engineering schemes, phishing scams, and ransomware attacks — after all, it takes only one staff member to open one malicious attachment to infect the entire system. However, many healthcare facilities fail to provide sufficient cybersecurity education to their employees. Even end users with the knowledge and best intention often let their guard down because of environmental factors, such as distraction and excessive workload.

Competing Operational Priorities: Operational needs, often urgent, require personnel to prioritize speed of information sharing over data security. Meanwhile, facilities must comply with large-scale data portability regulations that require them to make health records and other sensitive information available in digital and sharable formats. These processes can increase the risks of data breaches if providers don’t have the proper security measures in place.

Budgetary Constraints: Healthcare organizations have limited IT budgets, and their tech teams are often stretched thin. They spend most resources on acquiring and implementing new technology solutions to stay current and competitive, leaving few to secure and maintain their networks. Many organizations don’t have in-house security teams and often outsource the function without assigning any internal stakeholders to coordinate the activities or monitor the outcomes.

Inconsistent Cyber Hygiene: Many healthcare facilities are stuck with legacy systems that are no longer supported by the vendor and can’t be upgraded with the latest security features. As such, they introduce permanent vulnerabilities into the organizations’ networks. Additionally, integrating new and old technology solutions may create interoperability dependencies, network segmentation risks, and blind spots hackers can exploit.

The Pandemic Caused New Issues in Healthcare Cybersecurity

The healthcare industry played a front-and-center role during the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated the rapid adoption of digital technologies. While the accelerated digital transformation brought many benefits, it also created various cybersecurity concerns.

An Abrupt Shift to Remote Working: Many non-frontline functions moved to a remote working environment in response to lockdowns. Healthcare organizations lack the time and resources to provide adequate security training to remote workers, implement endpoint protection capabilities, and develop remote system backup and recovery plans to build business resiliency and protect themselves from the consequences of ransomware attacks and data loss.

Rapid Procurement and Implementation of Security Tools: The rapid transition to cloud-based platforms for the new hybrid work environment increased the likelihood of misconfigured security settings and mismanaged security tool deployments. Many organizations also lack plans to maintain and sustain the new platforms and technologies, leading to oversight and creating opportunities for threat actors to strike.

Duration and Scope of the Global Crisis: The pandemic created long-term uncertainty. It increases the stress on individuals and society, which, in turn, raises the population’s susceptibility to social engineering. Meanwhile, the need for coordinated responses from facilities across the nation and authorities around the world requires unconventional partnerships and data-sharing practices that caused chain reactions, increased risk factors, and exposed vulnerabilities.

Navigating the Cybersecurity Nightmare in Healthcare: Today’s complex cybersecurity landscape isn’t easy to navigate, especially in the high-stakes healthcare sector. The rise of remote work and telemedicine, plus the proliferation of connected medical devices, has increased the attack surface dramatically. Budget constraints, competing priorities, and lack of employee training leave a lot of opportunities for hackers to exploit. Also, healthcare providers must comply with increasingly stringent data privacy laws to avoid fines and lawsuits.

A Multi-Layer Approach to Cybersecurity: You need a multi-prong approach to address various challenges. The process starts with gaining visibility across all your network environments to understand who has access to what information. Then, prioritize vulnerabilities and resolve gaps in your scan coverage.

Don’t forget to address all your cloud platforms, especially if you have a hybrid environment that combines cloud applications with legacy software where the connections can become weak links and blind spots. Moreover, you must stay current with all relevant data privacy laws, adhere to the latest security configuration standards, and ensure that your vendors and partners are also compliant to protect your data from supply chain attacks.

RedSeal can help you build a solid foundation by creating in-depth visualizations of your security infrastructure. We then use the insights to prioritize your vulnerabilities and automate your compliance process. Get in touch to see how we can help you assess, remediate, and mitigate your security processes and infrastructure.

How Secure Is Your Pharma Research Data?

The use of big data and advanced analytics is now essential for innovation across the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. However, working with vast amounts of data — experimental data, clinical trial data, patient data — has become a double-edged sword as organizations face immense challenges in protecting data integrity and ensuring data security in today’s digital environment.

Meanwhile, the global pharmaceutical market will grow above $2 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% between 2022 and 2028. With revenue depending on research and innovation and more of the processes going digital, pharma research data has become a prime target for threat actors who use various means to breach companies’ systems and steal their sensitive information.

Let’s review key data security issues that pharma research companies face and how to protect your sensitive information to help you navigate the complex cybersecurity environment.

Is Pharma Research Data Secure?

Unfortunately, no. The pharmaceutical industry has seen many data breaches in recent years.

In an analysis of 20 pharma companies, five had experienced over 200,000 data exposures and breaches. Some had as many as 400,000 exposures. Another study revealed that over 50% of hospitals, biotech firms, and pharmaceutical companies have more than 1,000 sensitive files accessible to all employees. 33% of these organizations have over 10,000 files exposed to every staff member.

IBM’s Cost of Data Breach 2022 report found that data breaches cost the pharma industry an average of $5.01 million between March 2021 and March 2022. Additionally, the high data regulation environment means these companies see costs accrue years following a breach due to regulatory and legal fees, further impacting an organization’s financial health.

Data breaches in the pharma industry can also lead to direr consequences than in many other sectors. For example, leaked intellectual properties and clinical trial data can lead to reputational damage and lost revenue that could take years to remedy.

Top Pharma Research Data Security Issues

Here are the key cybersecurity challenges faced by pharma companies:

Supply Chain Attacks: Pharma research requires collaboration among various parties, such as research institutions, suppliers, contractors, and partners. The complex ecosystem creates a large attack surface threat actors can exploit. For example, they can infiltrate your network via a vendor with a less secure system. Without complete visibility into their environment, many organizations are left in the dark until it’s too late.

Ransomware Attacks: Due to the need to access critical information in their research, pharma companies are prime targets for ransomware attacks. Especially in companies with lax access controls, hackers can infect just one employee’s device with malware to infiltrate the entire network and lock down access to data for the whole company.

Phishing Scams: Threat actors can use social engineering techniques to trick employees, partners, and researchers into giving up their credentials to access the company’s network and exfiltrate data. Again, an organization without proper access control makes it much easier for hackers to move laterally across its systems.

Emerging Technologies: New platforms, cloud technologies, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are invaluable in accelerating research and development processes. But they also present inherent cybersecurity risks because of the expansive environment and numerous endpoints. If companies spread their data on multiple platforms without mapping their inventory, they could leave sensitive data out in the open.

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A): The pharmaceutical industry saw 182 M&A deals in Q2 2022. When two companies merge, their IT infrastructures must work seamlessly with each other, including their cybersecurity protocols and monitoring systems. Mapping all the data to maintain visibility and assessing vulnerabilities can be challenging, leaving the new entity at a higher risk of compromise.

How to Protect Pharma Research Data:

Here are some steps pharma companies can take to protect their research data:

  1. Visualize Access Across Your Network Environment: You can’t protect what you can’t see. You must map your environment and all digital assets to connect the dots, identify blind spots, reveal inconsistencies, and interpret access control. You can then prioritize vulnerabilities based on access and eliminate gaps in your scanner coverage.
  2. Deploy End-to-End Encryption for Data Sharing: Use a robust encryption solution to support data sharing within the organization and with third parties. This way, authorized personnel can use sensitive information without risking exposure. Choose a scalable, database-agnostic encryption technology that can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises to help protect data at rest, in transit, and in use.
  3. Enforce a Zero-Trust Policy and Least-Privilege Access: Least-privilege access is a vital component of a zero-trust framework that continuously authenticates a user’s identity to allow access to protected information. Access control is granted based on the principle that end users should see no more than the data they need to do their job. This approach can help minimize damage even if an employee’s account is compromised and limit a hacker’s lateral movement within your network.
  4. Implement a Comprehensive Incident Response Plan: It’s not a matter of if but when your infrastructure will come under attack, and a well-designed incident response plan is key to containing the damage and minimizing loss. Having an up-to-date model of your network can help accelerate incident response by locating the compromised device and determining which digital assets hackers can reach from the entry point.

Protect Pharma Research Data with a Bird’s-Eye View of Your Network

The first step in strengthening your defense is to know where all your data is and who can access the information. The insights can help you identify vulnerabilities, take remediation actions, and implement continuous compliance monitoring. But mapping all the moving parts, including every connection to the internet, is easier said than done.

RedSeal Stratus gives you an in-depth visualization of the topography and hierarchy of your security infrastructure. It helps you identify critical assets inadvertently exposed to the internet and shows your multi-cloud inventory and connectivity, so you can quickly detect changes in the environment.

Get in touch to see how we can help you proactively improve your security posture and protect your pharma research data.

Cyber Insurance Isn’t Enough Anymore

The cyber insurance world has changed dramatically.

Premiums have risen significantly, and insurers are placing more limits on covered items. Industries like healthcare, retail, and government, where exposure is high, have been hit hard. Many organizations have seen huge rate increases for substantially less coverage than in the past. Others have seen their policies canceled or been unable to renew.

In many cases, insurers are offering half the coverage amounts at a higher cost. For example, some insurers that had previously issued $5 million liability policies have now reduced amounts to $1 million to $3 million while raising rates. Even with reduced coverage, some policy rates have risen by as much as 300%.

At the same time, insurers are leaving the field. Big payoffs in small risk pools can devastate profitability for insurers. Many insurers are reaching the break-even point where a single covered loss can wipe out years of profits. In fact, several major insurance companies have stopped issuing new cybersecurity insurance policies altogether.

This is in part to incidents like the recent Merck legal victory forcing a $1.4B payout due to the NotPetya’s malware attack. According to Fitch Ratings, more than 8,100 cyber insurance claims were paid out in 2021, the third straight year that claims increased by at least 100%. Payments from claims jumped 200% annually in 2019, 2020, and 2021 as well.

Claims are also being denied at higher rates. With such large amounts at stake, insurers are looking more closely at an organization’s policies and requiring proof that the organization is taking the right steps to protect itself. Companies need to be thinking about better ways to manage more of the cyber risks themselves. Cyber insurance isn’t enough anymore.

Dealing with Ransomware

At the heart of all of this drama is ransomware. The State of Ransomware 2022 report from Sophos includes some sobering statistics.

Ransomware attacks nearly doubled in 2021 vs. 2020, and ransom payments are higher as cybercriminals are demanding more money. In 2020, only 4% of organizations paid more than $1 million in ransoms. In 2021, that number jumped to 11%. The average ransomware paid by organizations in significant ransomware attacks grew by 500% last year to $812,360.

More companies are paying the ransom as well. Nearly half (46%) of companies hit by ransomware chose to pay despite FBI warnings not to do so. The FBI says paying ransoms encourages threat actors to target even more victims.

Even with cyber insurance, it can take months to fully recover from a ransomware attack and cause significant damage to a company’s reputation. Eighty-six percent (86%) of companies in the Sophos study said they lost business and revenue because of an attack. While 98% of cyber insurance claims were paid out, only four out of ten companies saw all of their costs paid.

There’s some evidence that cybercriminals are actively targeting organizations that have cyber insurance specifically because companies are more likely to pay. This has led to higher ransom demands, contributing to the cyber insurance crisis. At the same time, there’s been a significant increase in how cybercriminals are exacting payments.

Ransomware attackers are now often requiring two payments. The first is for providing the decryption key to unlock encrypted data. A demand for a separate payment is made to avoid releasing the data itself publicly. Threat actors are also hitting the same organizations more than once. When they know they’ll get paid, they often increase efforts to attack a company a second or third time until they lock down their security.

Protecting Yourself from Ransomware Attacks

Organizations must deploy strict guidelines and protocols for security and follow them to protect themselves. Even one small slip-up in following procedures can result in millions or even billions of dollars in losses and denied claims.

People, Processes, Tech, and Monitoring

The root cause of most breaches and ransomware attacks is a breakdown in processes, allowing an attack vector to be exploited. This breakdown often occurs because there is a lack of controls or adherence to these controls by the people using the network.

Whether organizations decide to pay the price for cyber insurance or not, they need to take proactive steps to ensure they have the right policies in place, have robust processes for managing control, and train their team members on how to protect organizational assets.

Organizations also need a skilled cybersecurity workforce to deploy and maintain protection along with the right tech tools.

Even with all of this in place, strong cybersecurity demands continuous monitoring and testing. Networks are rarely stable. New devices and endpoints are added constantly. New software, cloud services, and third-party solutions are deployed. With such fluidity, it’s important to continually identify potential security gaps and take proactive measures to harden your systems.

Identifying Potential Vulnerabilities

One of the first steps is understanding your entire network environment and potential vulnerabilities. For example, RedSeal’s cloud cybersecurity solution can create a real-time visualization of your network and continuously monitor your production environment and traffic. This provides a clear understanding of how data flows through your network to create a cyber risk model.

Users get a Digital Resilience Score which can be used to demonstrate their network’s security posture to cyber insurance providers.

This also helps organizations identify risk factors and compromised devices. Also, RedSeal provides a way to trace access throughout an entire network showing where an attacker can go once inside a network. This helps identify places where better segmentation is required to prevent unauthorized lateral movement.

In case an attack occurs, RedSeal accelerates incident responses by providing a more complete road map for containment.

Cyber Insurance Is Not Enough to Protect Your Bottom Line

With escalating activity and larger demands, cyber insurance is only likely to get more expensive and harder to get. Companies will also have to offer more proof about their security practices to be successful in filing claims or risk having claims denied.

For more information about how we can help you protect your network and mitigate the risks of successful cyber-attacks, contact RedSeal today.

The House Always Wins? Top Cybersecurity Issues Facing the Casino and Gaming Industry

Head into a casino, and you should know what you’re getting into — even if you see some success at the beginning of the night, the house always wins. It’s a truism often repeated and rarely questioned but when it comes to cybersecurity, many casino and gaming organizations aren’t coming out ahead.

In this post, we’ll dive into what sets this industry apart, tackle the top cybersecurity issues facing casino and gaming companies, and offer a solid bet to help build better security infrastructure.

Doing the Math: Why Casinos and Gaming Businesses are at Greater Risk

Gaming and casino industry companies generate more than $53 billion in revenue each year. While this is a big number, it’s nothing compared to the U.S. banking industry, which reached an estimated $4847.9 billion in 2021. And yet at 1/100 the size of their financial counterparts, casinos now face rapidly-increasing attack volumes.

In 2017, for example, a network-connected fish tank was compromised by attackers and used as the jumping-off point for lateral network movement. In 2020, the Cache Creek Casino Resort in California shut down for three weeks after a cyberattack, and in 2021 six casinos in Oklahoma were hit by ransomware.

So what’s the difference? Why are casinos and gaming companies being targeted when there are bigger fish to fry? Put simply, it’s all about the connected experience. Where banks handle confidential personal information to deliver specific financial functions, casinos collect a broader cross-section of information including credit card and income information, social security numbers, and basic tombstone data to provide the best experience for customers on-site. As a result, there’s a greater variety of data for hackers to access if they manage to breach network perimeters.

Casinos and gaming companies also have a much larger and more diverse attack surface. Where banks perform specific financial functions and have locked down access to these network connections, casinos have a host of Intenet-connected devices designed to enhance the customer experience but may also empower attacks. IoT-enabled fish tanks are one example but gaming businesses also use technologies like always-connected light and temperature sensors, IoT-enabled slot machines, and large-scale WiFi networks to keep customers coming back.

In practice, this combination of connected experience and disparate technologies creates a situation that sees IT teams grow arithmetically while attacks grow geometrically. This creates a challenge: No matter how quickly companies scale up the number of staff on their teams, attackers are ahead.

Not only are malicious actors willing to share data about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to breaching casino cybersecurity, but they’re constantly trying new approaches and techniques to streamline attack efforts. IT teams, meanwhile, don’t have the time or resources to experiment.

The Top Four Cybersecurity Issues Facing Casino and Gaming Companies

When it comes to keeping customer and business data secure, gaming and casino companies face four big issues.

  1. IoT Connections
    While IoT devices such as connected thermostats, refrigerators, and even fish tanks are becoming commonplace, robust security remains rare. Factory firmware often contains critical vulnerabilities that aren’t easily detected or mitigated by IT staff, in turn creating security holes that are hard to see and even more difficult to eliminate.
  2. Ransomware Attacks
    Ransomware continues to plague companies; recent survey data found that 49 percent of executives and employees interviewed said their company had been the victim of ransomware attacks. This vector is especially worrisome for casinos and gaming companies given both the volume and variety of personal and financial data they collect and store. Successful encryption of data could shut companies down for days or weeks and leave them with a difficult choice: Pay up or risk massive market fallout.
  3. Exfiltration Issues
    Collected casino and gaming data is also valuable to attackers as a source of income through Dark Web sales. By quietly collecting and exfiltrating data, hackers can generate sustained profit in the background of casino operations while laying the groundwork for identity theft or credit card fraud.
  4. Compliance Concerns
    If casinos are breached, they may face compliance challenges on multiple fronts. For example, breached credit card data could lead to PCI DSS audits, and if businesses are found to be out of compliance, the results could range from substantial fines to a suspension of payment processing privileges. Compromised personal data, meanwhile, could put companies at risk of not meeting regulatory obligations under evolving privacy laws such as the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).

Betting on Better Security

Once attackers have access to casino networks, they’ve got options. They could encrypt data using ransomware and demand payment for release — which they may or may not provide, even if payment is made — or they could quietly exfiltrate customer data and then sell this information online. They could also simply keep quiet and conduct reconnaissance of new systems and technologies being deployed, then use this information to compromise key access points or sell it to the highest bidder.

The result? When it comes to protecting against cyberattacks, businesses are best served by stopping attacks before they happen rather than trying to pick up the pieces after the fact. For networks as complex and interconnected as those of casinos, achieving this goal demands complete visibility.

This starts with an identification of all devices across network architecture, from familiar systems such as servers and storage to staff mobile devices and IoT-connected technologies. By identifying both known and unknown devices, companies can get a picture of what their network actually looks like — rather than what they expect it to be.

RedSeal can help casinos achieve real-time visibility by creating a digital twin of existing networks, both to identify key assets and assess key risks by discovering the impact of network changes. For example, casinos could choose to run a port and protocol simulation to determine the risk of opening or closing specific ports — without actually making these changes on live networks. RedSeal can also help segregate key data storage buckets to mitigate the impact of attacks if systems are compromised.

Helping the House Win

Attackers are trying to tip the odds in their favor by compromising connected devices and leveraging unknown vulnerabilities. RedSeal can help the house come out ahead by delivering real-time visibility into casino and gaming networks that help IT teams make informed decisions and stay ahead of emerging cybersecurity challenges.

Ready to tip the odds in your favor? Start with RedSeal.

Ransomware Realities: Exploring the Risks to Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Hybrid cloud frameworks offer a way for companies to combine the scalability of public clouds with the security and control of their private counterparts. Pandemic pressures have accelerated hybrid adoption. According to recent survey data, 61 percent of companies currently use or pilot hybrid clouds, while 33 percent have plans to implement hybrid options in the next two years. Meanwhile, research firm Gartner points to growing cloud ubiquity across enterprise environments driven by hybrid, multi-cloud, and edge environments.

Along with increased uptake, however, is a commensurate uptick in ransomware risks. With attackers leveraging the distributed nature of remote work environments to expand their attack impact, organizations must recognize potential challenges and develop frameworks to mitigate ransomware threats effectively.

What Are the Ransomware Risks of a Hybrid Cloud Environment?

Because hybrid clouds rely on a combination of public and private solutions, overall ransomware risks are effectively double.

Consider the recent ransomware attack on payroll provider Kronos. As noted by CPO Magazine, after details of the Java diagnostic tool Log4JShell vulnerabilities were made public on December 9th, hundreds of thousands of ransomware attacks were launched worldwide. One likely victim was Kronos, with the company’s private cloud forced offline after a ransomware attack leading to weeks of remediation. Private clouds are also under threat as attacks shift from outside to inside — even a single disgruntled employee with administrative access could wreak havoc on internal clouds by simply ignoring email protection warnings or clicking through on malicious links.

Public cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Azure, have begun publishing articles and offering resources to help mitigate the impact of ransomware in the cloud. While large-scale public cloud services have yet reported no major ransomware attacks, it’s a matter of when, not if, these attacks occur.

In practice, successful attacks on public or private clouds can lead to severe consequences.

Systems Downtime

Ransomware attackers encrypt key files and demand payment for release. As a result, the first line of defense against increasing attack impact is shutting down affected systems to focus on remediation. Cybercriminals may also pair ransomware efforts with dedicated denial of service (DDoS) attacks which force systems offline by overloading them with traffic volumes and resource requests, even as ransomware is deployed behind network lines.

Depending on the scale and severity of the attack, it could take days or weeks for IT teams to discover the full extent of the damage, remediate the issue and bring systems back online.

Monetary Loss

As noted by Dark Reading, the average ransomware payout hit $570,000 in the first quarter of 2021, more than $250,000 more than the 2020 average of $312,000.

But initial payouts are just the start of the problem. Even if attackers return control of critical files, companies must still spend time and money identifying the vulnerabilities that made ransomware attacks possible in the first place. Then, they must spend even more money remediating these issues and testing their new security frameworks.

There’s also the potential risk of costly data loss if enterprises choose not to pay and instead look to decrypt data using available security tools — or if they pay up and attackers aren’t true to their word. If security solutions aren’t able to remove ransomware before the deadline or criminals can’t (or won’t) decrypt data, companies are left with the daunting and expensive task of building data stores back up from scratch.

Reputation Damage

Eighty-eight percent of customers won’t do business with a brand they don’t trust to handle their data. Ransomware is a red flag when it comes to trust. Even if such attacks are inevitable, customers want to know that companies took every possible precaution to prevent data loss and need the confidence that comes with clear communication about the next steps.

As a result, the loss of data due to ransomware or the inability to articulate how information recovery will occur and how data will be better defended going forward can damage organizations. After a ransomware attack, businesses often face negative impacts on reputation, reduced customer confidence, and revenue losses.

Legal Challenges

Evolving regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) all include provisions around the safe collection, storage, and use of data. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to fines and legal challenges if ransomware attacks are successful.

Hybrid Cloud Security Measures

While it’s not possible to eliminate ransomware in hybrid cloud environments, there are steps you can take to reduce overall risk.

1. Deploying Offline Backups

If ransomware attacks are successful, malicious code can encrypt any connected devices. These include physically attached devices such as universal serial bus (USB) sticks or hard drives along with any online, cloud-connected drives across both public and private clouds.

To help mitigate this risk, it’s worth deploying secure offline backups that are not connected to internal hosts or external data sources once backup processes are complete. Consider a private cloud backup. To reduce ransomware impact, companies are best served by establishing a data backup schedule that includes provisions for device connection, data transfer, and device disconnection once the backup is complete. By utilizing multiple offline devices that are regularly backed up and then disconnected, businesses can ensure that data remains available even if primary systems are compromised by ransomware.

2. Implementing Two-Factor Authentication

Frustrating attacker efforts to gain network access can significantly reduce the risk of ransomware. Best bet? Start with two-factor authentication (2FA). While it remains relatively easy for attackers to compromise passwords using both social engineering and brute-force attacks, implementing 2FA solutions that leverage one-time text codes or biometric data can help protect networks even if account credentials are breached. What’s more, failed 2FA checks that accompany correct account information can signal to information technology (IT) teams that attack efforts may be underway, in turn allowing them to respond and remediate threats proactively.

Even more protection is available through multi-factor authentication (MFA) strategies that combine text codes and biometrics to frustrate attackers further. It’s also vital to create strong password policies that mandate regular password changes and include rules around required password length and the use of special characters or symbols to increase overall protection. While passwords remain one of the least secure forms of data defense, they’re not going anywhere. As a result, companies must address common password problems before they lead to compromise.

3. Disabling Well-Known Ports

While attackers are constantly developing new methods and leveraging newly-discovered vulnerabilities to distribute ransomware code, they’re also creatures of habit. If specific attack vectors continue to see success, they won’t abandon them simply because something new comes along.

Case in point: Ports connected to cloud services, such as ports 137-139, 445, and 3389, are common attack targets. By disabling these ports, businesses can remove some of the most-used ransomware distribution pathways, in turn forcing attackers to take more circuitous routes if they want to compromise and infect public and private cloud systems.

4. Turning off RDP

The remote desktop protocol (RDP) allows users to connect with another computer over a network connection and provides a graphical user interface to help streamline this process. The problem? Attackers can exploit insecure RDP deployments — which typically use transmission control protocol (TCP) port 3389 and UDP port 3389 — to access user desktops and, in turn, move laterally through corporate systems until they find and encrypt critical files.

While it’s possible to protect RDP with increased security measures, the collaborative nature of cloud deployments often makes it simpler to disable RDP up-front to reduce total risk.

5. Updating to SMB 3.1.1

The Server Message Block (SMB) provides a way for client applications to read and write to files and request server resources. Originally introduced for the disk operating system (DOS) as SMB 1.0, SMB has undergone multiple iterations, with the most current version being 3.1.1. To help protect cloud services from potential ransomware attacks, businesses must upgrade to version 3.1.1 and ensure that version 1.0 is fully disabled. Failure to do so could allow hackers to reactivate version 1.0 and leverage the WannaCry vulnerability to compromise systems and install ransomware.

6. Ensuring Encryption is Used for All Sessions

Encryption helps reduce the risk of compromise by making it harder for attackers to discover and exploit critical resources. Ideally, companies should use transport layer security (TLS) v1.3 for maximum protection. Much like SMB, it’s also important to disable TLS 1.0. Why? Because if TLS v1.0 is enabled, attackers could force your server to negotiate down to TLS v1.0, which could, in turn, allow an attack.

It’s also a good idea to boost encryption efficacy by using SSHv2.0 and disabling Telnet port 80 to frustrate common attacker pathways.

7. Prohibiting Macro-Enabled Spreadsheets

Macro-enabled Excel spreadsheets have long been a source of ransomware and other malicious code. If attackers can convince users to download and open these spreadsheets, criminals are then able to install malware droppers that in turn connect with command and control (C&C) servers to download ransomware.

Recent efforts see attackers sending emails to unsuspecting users indicating they’ve been the victims of credit card fraud. Customers call in, are directed to access a malicious website, and then download a macro-enabled spreadsheet that creates a ransomware backdoor on their device. To reduce the risk of ransomware, it’s a good idea to disable the use of macro-enabled spreadsheets across both in-house Microsoft Office and Office 365 deployments.

8. Increasing Total Visibility

Attackers rely on misdirection and obfuscation to install ransomware and encrypt key files. As a result, visibility is critical for security teams. The more they can see, the better they can pinpoint potential weaknesses and identify vulnerabilities.

The challenge? Increasing hybrid cloud adoption naturally leads to reduced visibility. With companies now using multiple private and public clouds to streamline operations, the sheer number of overlapping services and solutions in use makes it difficult to manage and monitor hybrid clouds at scale. To help address this issue, businesses need cloud security tools capable of delivering comprehensive and dynamic visualization that continually interprets access controls across cloud-native and third-party firewalls to help continuously validate security compliance.

9. Recognizing the Role of Due Diligence

No matter where your data is stored, you’re ultimately responsible for its protection. This is true regardless of the service you use. While your cloud provider may offer load balancing, availability, or storage services that help protect your data, due diligence around hybrid cloud security rests with data owners.

This means that if your provider suffers a breach, you bear responsibility if key security processes weren’t followed. As a result, it’s critical to vet any cloud security services provider before signing a service level agreement (SLA) and ensure robust internal backups exist if cloud providers are compromised, or last-mile connection failures interrupt cloud access.

Controlling Ransomware Risks in Your Hybrid Cloud

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to eliminate ransomware in hybrid clouds. Instead, effective cybersecurity in the cloud needs to focus on controlling the risk that comes with distributed data environments.

This starts with the basics, such as ensuring robust encryption, turning off commonly-used ports, and updating SMB and TLS software. It also requires the use of 2FA and MFA solutions coupled with staff education to ensure they recognize the impact of insecure passwords and practices — such as downloading compromised Excel spreadsheets — cloud security as a whole.

Finally, companies must recognize that ultimate responsibility for secure handling, storage, and use of data rests with them — and that the right cloud security services provider can make all the difference when it comes to reducing risk and enhancing defense in the hybrid cloud.

Want more info on ransomware? Check out this white paper on digital resilience and ransomware protection strategies.

If You Build It, They Will Come: The Top Four Cybersecurity Threats for Manufacturing Companies

Manufacturing companies face increasing risk from cyberattacks. As noted by IBM’s Security Intelligence blog, ransomware incidents rose more than 150 percent across the manufacturing sector from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020. Other recent survey data found that two-thirds of manufacturing firms believe their data breach risk has increased over the past two years.

There’s no single cause for this upward threat trajectory — the combination of always-on connected devices with growing cloud computing use and the increasing need for big data analysis in production planning and management all play a role in the evolution of manufacturing attacks.

Here’s a look at the underlying causes, possible impacts, and potential remedies for the top four manufacturing cybersecurity threats.

The Impact of Industry 4.0 on Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 changes the way manufacturing companies conduct day-to-day operations. From the use of always-connected sensors and devices that make up the industrial Internet of things (IIoT) to the integration of “smart devices” capable of proactively predicting maintenance needs, the digitization of Industry 4.0 represents a significant leap forward for manufacturing firms.

Unlike its operational predecessors — mechanization (1.0), mass production (2.0), automation (3.0), and globalization (3.5) — Industry 4.0 represents a substantive move into the world of always-on, always-connected devices. While this provides a wealth of data to help companies make better-informed manufacturing decisions, it also introduces significant risk. Frameworks such as industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solutions that were historically cut off from external Internet connections are now part of a larger integrated ecosystem. Often, this ecosystem lacks the security controls and oversight necessary to identify and eliminate risks.

What the Cloud Means for Manufacturing

Cloud computing also plays a significant role in the shift to Industry 4.0 as firms look for ways to connect disparate tools and systems across both local facilities and global operations. The result is significant spend by manufacturing firms on robust cloud services. Recent data suggests the cloud market for manufacturing will grow by more than 15 percent year-over-year for the next five years.

But increasing cloud adoption also comes with a concern: complexity. As more applications and services are added to existing IT infrastructure, it’s easy for teams to lose track of what’s been deployed, where, and why. Consider the addition of public cloud services to help bolster computing resources and the storage of big data. Traditionally, these functions reside on-site, making it easy for teams to monitor operations. But as functions shift into the cloud, IT staff must contend with multiple layers of network connection and communication. As a consequence, teams find it harder to see exactly what’s going on — which potentially exposes key data to cybersecurity risk.

The Top Four Cybersecurity Threats

For manufacturing firms, four cybersecurity threats are now common: Data exfiltration, ransomware, phishing, and insider attacks. Let’s break down each in more detail.

1. Data Exfiltration

Data exfiltration occurs when attackers compromise manufacturing networks and then steal data to share or sell. Exfiltration often starts with malware — malicious actors may use legitimate-seeming emails that convince users to click links or download attachments, which then deploy malware to infiltrate network-connected storage systems. Personnel, product, or financial data is then in the hands of hackers, who may sell it on the dark web or threaten its release unless companies agree to pay for its return.

Take the example of Titan Manufacturing and Distributing. The company’s network was compromised by data exfiltration malware for almost a year, during which time attackers stole the names, billing addresses, and payment card details of more than 1,800 customers.

2. Ransomware

Another major threat to manufacturers is ransomware. This threat vector sees attackers infecting systems with programs designed to encrypt critical manufacturing data, rendering it inaccessible for companies. Then, they demand payment for decryption keys and threaten to delete or sell the information if their demands aren’t met.

Ransomware was responsible for the 2019 attack on Norwegian aluminum company Norsk Hydro, which has manufacturing operations in more than 40 companies worldwide. While the company didn’t pay the ransom, removing malicious code and remediating the damage — combined with lost revenue — cost the company almost $75 million.

3. Phishing

Phishing attacks happen when cybercriminals attempt to convince corporate users that they’re legitimate business contacts or members of the organization itself. In some cases, the intent of phishing attacks is to have users supply login credentials as part of a fake “reset” or “verification” process. In other situations, attackers attempt to compel specific — and costly — action. For example, attackers masquerading as C-suite executives may try to trick users into transferring funds into foreign bank accounts or request detailed HR data about specific employees. If staff can be convinced these emails are authentic, they often comply with requests immediately rather than double-checking because they don’t want to risk a management-level rebuke.

This was the case for aircraft parts manufacturer FACC. Attackers were able to convince multiple users that the CEO wanted money transferred into foreign accounts. The result was a loss of $61 million and civil prosecution of both the former CEO and chief financial officer for failing to detect and stop the fraud before it occurred.

4. Insider Attacks

Insider attacks may be the result of malicious action or accidental misuse of networks and data by employees. In either case, however, the results are the same: Manufacturing data is exposed, and corporate operations are put at risk. As noted by Industry Week, manufacturing firms now rank among the top five industries with the highest number of insider threats, and the average cost of an insider threat for a single manufacturing firm is more than $8.8 million.

Best Practices to Address Cybersecurity Concerns

To reduce the risk of manufacturing cybersecurity threats, firms need to follow three critical best practices.

Improved Visibility

As cloud and IIoT connections become more complex, it’s easy for teams to lose network visibility. This often creates a situation that sees companies acting based on what they think their network looks like rather than its actual structure. As a result, improved visibility is the first step on the road to enhanced cybersecurity.

Enhanced Agility

Agility is also critical. With cyberattacks on the rise, it’s now a matter of when not if firms will be attacked. Consequently, organizations must be prepared to respond ASAP if threats or vulnerabilities are detected across their networks.

Increased Access Control

As the number of public-facing connections and services increases, companies need granular access control to ensure that the right people are accessing the right data at the right time. Additionally, they must have processes to flag potential malicious actors are flagged and refuse access.

Making the Most of Comprehensive Cybersecurity

Making the most of cybersecurity starts by recognizing the risk: Threats such as data exfiltration, ransomware, phishing, and insider attacks are now commonplace and costly.

Firms must also account for the increasing attack surfaces created by cloud-enabled Industry 4.0 deployments. From unintentional exposure to public-facing Internet connections to previously undiscovered vulnerabilities, the move to modern infrastructure comes with a commensurate threat increase.

What can organizations do to protect themselves? To mitigate the impact of evolving threats, companies need security solutions capable of delivering improved visibility, enhancing overall agility, and increasing access control. Only then can organizations fortify themselves against threats and protect their growth and profitability.

Ready to get started? Find more information here or sign up for a live demo of RedSeal for manufacturers.

Tag Archive for: Ransomware

Combating Ransomware 2.0: Beyond Backups