Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/8/2013
01:31 PM
Tom Parker
Tom Parker
Commentary
50%
50%

Cyber Monday And The Threat Of Economic Espionage

All signs point to such an event becoming a very real possibility

Based on recent predictions by numerous market analysts, Cyber Monday, the online equivalent of the Black Friday shopping event, is well on its way to overtake physical retail sales numbers in coming years.

According to a recent article by Bloomberg, Cyber Monday online sales were up approximately 20% this year, with many consumers preferring the comfort of their couches to fighting the crowds in physical stores, which are synonymous with Black Friday sales. On a related note, sales on Black Friday itself saw their first decline since 2009.

Post-9/11, I was involved in a number of think-tank activities to review what future attacks might "look like," including how cyber may play a future role in state- and terrorist-sponsored attacks against the United States. While seemingly unrelated at the time, one of the more popular scenarios discussed among physical security folks, related to economic espionage, was targeting consumer outlets.

The scenario was pretty straightforward: Terror group X sends individuals/cells with small arms into malls in every major city in the country, creating mass panic, causing retail store purchases to slow to a point at which some of America's largest outlets are hemorrhaging money, and causing harm to the national economy.

According to the National Retail Federation, per ShopperTrak data (which counts foot traffic at malls), Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. Let's now consider life in five, perhaps 10 years' time, where the busiest retail day of the year is no longer in stores, but online.

For the well-equipped and motivated adversary, this no longer becomes a case of frightening customers from the storefront. It's a simple case of denying them access. As we have seen with many of America's largest financial institutions, denial-of-service attacks remain an effective method, which has evidently become the tactic of choice for at least one nation state's cyberoffensive. Taking into consideration the increase in popularity of Cyber Monday, the dollars invested by online sellers in preparing for and supporting the event (think marketing, planning, infrastructure, increased stock purchases, warehousing, etc.), distributed across an economy that is increasingly reliant on the event to make its Q4 numbers, could result in a significant event that negatively impacts consumer confidence, the financial stability of major retailers, and possibly, in turn, the U.S. economy.

Predicting the potential short- and long-term impacts of such an event is a job for economists; however, all signs point to such an event becoming a very real possibility, which those depending on online retail should be seriously contemplating now -- not attempting to handle as it happens, unlike many of the financial institutions earlier this year.

Tom Parker is CTO at FusionX

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Breaches Are Inevitable, So Embrace the Chaos
Ariel Zeitlin, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder, Guardicore,  11/13/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2011-2916
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
qtnx 0.9 stores non-custom SSH keys in a world-readable configuration file. If a user has a world-readable or world-executable home directory, another local system user could obtain the private key used to connect to remote NX sessions.
CVE-2019-12757
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), prior to 14.2 RU2 & 12.1 RU6 MP10 and Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition (SEP SBE) prior to 12.1 RU6 MP10d (12.1.7510.7002), may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt t...
CVE-2019-12758
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection, prior to 14.2 RU2, may be susceptible to an unsigned code execution vulnerability, which may allow an individual to execute code without a resident proper digital signature.
CVE-2019-12759
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager (SEPM) and Symantec Mail Security for MS Exchange (SMSMSE), prior to versions 14.2 RU2 and 7.5.x respectively, may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt to compromise the software applicat...
CVE-2019-18372
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection, prior to 14.2 RU2, may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt to compromise the software application to gain elevated access to resources that are normally protected from an application or user.