Vulnerabilities / Threats

7/14/2017
10:30 AM
Marc Wilczek
Marc Wilczek
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

7 Deadly Sins to Avoid When Mitigating Cyberthreats

How digitally savvy organizations can take cyber resilience to a whole new dimension.

Organizations these days are in full swing "going digital," with bold visions of a bright and shiny future. But too often in their quest for the holy grail of capturing market share, management tends to focus solely upon the digital opportunities without adequately addressing the parallel issue of improving cybersecurity to combat current and emerging threats.

Ernst & Young recently published the findings of their 2016 Global Information Security Survey, after polling some 1,735 CIOs, CISOs, and other senior executives. Their research reveals seven common pitfalls, and shows why digital-savvy organizations need to strengthen their cyber resilience:

Missing Strategic Alignment
The changing threat landscape and an organization's strategy and planning seems to be almost entirely decoupled. Only 5% percent of executives polled have recently made a significant change to their organization's strategy and plans, even after acknowledging they were exposed to too much risk. The overwhelming majority feel no need to make adjustments. A mere 22% say that they have thoroughly assessed the information security implications of their organization's current strategy and plans.

Taking Threats too Lightly
Despite an ever-increasing dependency on technology, cyberthreats are still taken far too lightly. No one thinks it's going to be them until it's too late and they're thunderstruck. A total of 62% percent of respondents would not increase their cybersecurity investments after experiencing a breach that did not appear to do any harm. Meanwhile, 68% say they would not increase their information security spending even if a supplier was experiencing a breach, and another 58% would not boost their spending if a major competitor was attacked.

Misclassification of Digital Assets
Most organizations over-protect some digital assets and under-protect others. Some 51% rank customer personal identifiable data as the first or second information most valuable to cybercriminals in the organization. Only 11% percent rate intellectual property (IP) rights as the first or second most valuable category. Strangely enough, personal information from board members or other senior executives is viewed as more valuable than R&D information, patented IP and non-patented IP, and broadly on the same level with corporate strategic plans.

Organizations Don’t Consider a What-if Scenario
Of the executives polled, 42% do not have an agreed-upon communications strategy or plan in place in case of a significant breach causing a crisis. Within the first seven days after an attack, 39% say they would make a public announcement to the media. Some 70% would notify their regulator and compliance organizations. A scary 46% would not notify customers, even if customer data had been compromised, and 56% would not notify suppliers, even when supplier data had been compromised.

Black Hat USA returns to the fabulous Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 22-27, 2017. Click for information on the conference schedule and to register.

 

Overconfidence & Self-reliance
Many organizations rely upon a do-it-yourself approach to test or manage their resilience but often lack the skills and capabilities to do so. A whopping 79% do their own self-phishing, and 64% perform their own penetration tests. Incident investigation is carried out internally by 81%, and another 83% conduct their own threat intelligence analysis. None of that is wrong per se, if the organization is indeed big enough to possess all the necessary capabilities, know-how, and experience. Unfortunately, that is very rarely the case. Many companies do not have in-depth expertise internally and, as a result, lull themselves into a false sense of security.

Too Much Delegation, Too Little Awareness in the Boardroom
Despite fancy corporate titles, only a few security executives are fully empowered and an integral part of the organization's leadership structure. In three out of four cases, those in charge of information security do not have a seat in the boardroom. Consequently, the board has to rely on reports instead. Yet, most reports provide little insight. Only 25% percent of reporting provides an overall threat level, according to report findings, and just 35% of reporting discloses weaknesses in the organization’s security landscape.

Operating Blindfolded
Although a successful breach can have severe implications, 89% of respondents do not evaluate the financial impact of every significant breach. Moreover, of those that have witnessed an incident in the past 12 months, nearly half (49%) say they have no clue what the financial damage is or might be. Thus, it is perhaps not surprising that 52% think their boards are not fully knowledgeable about the risks the organization is taking and the measures put in place.

In the digital era, technology builds the backbone not just for supporting processes, but is the basis for entire business models and revenue streams. To become a digital champion and not end up in the snake pit, savvy organizations are well-advised to rethink their agenda along the seven fields of action outlined above. Good news: It is not rocket science. With determination and a reasonable set of measures, an organization can make a major difference and take their cyber resilience to a whole new dimension.

Related Content:

Marc Wilczek is an entrepreneur and senior executive with more than 20 years of leadership experience within the ICT space. He's passionate about all things #digital with emphasis on cloud, big data and IoT services. Before serving as VP portfolio, innovation & ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Dark Reading Live EVENTS
INsecurity - For the Defenders of Enterprise Security
A Dark Reading Conference
While red team conferences focus primarily on new vulnerabilities and security researchers, INsecurity puts security execution, protection, and operations center stage. The primary speakers will be CISOs and leaders in security defense; the blue team will be the focus.
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: No, no, no! Have a Unix CRON do the pop-up reminders!
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Problem
[Strategic Security Report] How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Problem
Enterprises are spending more of their IT budgets on cybersecurity technology. How do your organization's security plans and strategies compare to what others are doing? Here's an in-depth look.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.